Maintaining Composure

When dealing with conflict, maintaining composure can be difficult. How can you “keep your cool” under pressure and while you’re feeling under attack? Here are a few suggestions.

Communicate negative emotions on a personal level.

E-mail, leaving voice messages, and written notes are very impersonal. These forms of communication rarely capture the real message. The impersonal nature of these forms of communication can make or break a situation. As with any complex emotions and situations, it must be a person-to-person contact.

Use words of understanding. 

Stay focused on what the other person is saying and what they are not saying. Try to understand the message they are trying to convey. Paraphrase what they are saying. Allow them to clarify and let you know you understand their situation. Let the other person know that you understand where they’re coming from.

Be vulnerable, not defensive. 

If you have the tendency to lose your temper, people will be predisposed to feel unsafe and defensive. When the situation becomes unpredictable, the predictable behavior is for people to always try to protect themselves from being hurt or feeling put at a disadvantage.

Avoid putting the blame on the other person. 

Conflict resolution will go more smoothly when the focus is on finding a common ground, a win-win solution, instead of blaming the other person.