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Communication and conflict resolution are closely connected in that communication is often a key element in conflict negotiations. Conflict resolution typically involves the use of various methods to determine the cause of a conflict, and then find a way to deal with that conflict that provides the highest amount of satisfaction possible for those involved. This is often done through the use of communication techniques and principals, such as active listening and the use of “I-statements.” Communication and conflict resolution are, therefore, connected in that the one is typically used as a common aspect of the other.
On one level, communication and conflict resolution are separate concepts, but they have certain concepts and principles in common. Communication typically refers to the ways in which two or more people transmit information between them, both verbally and non-verbally. Conflict resolution is a process by which a conflict that has arisen between two or more people is discussed, fully understood, and a solution to that conflict is determined that is beneficial for everyone involved. In order to facilitate this process of conflict resolution, communication techniques should be understood. Different aspects of communication and conflict resolution are often used together.
One of the primary ways in which communication and conflict resolution are used together is in understanding the nature of a conflict and allowing those involved to express what is going on. Active listening is often involved in this process; it's is a communication technique in which one person listens to another and reflects back what is said to indicate that he or she is truly listening and understanding the communicated ideas. This often involves asking questions, summarizing what is said, and demonstrating interest in what the other person is saying.
The use of I-statements is also a way in which communication and conflict resolution are closely connected. I-statements are sentences that begin with the word “I” and allow a person to express his or her feelings in a way that takes ownership of those feelings. Conflict can often arise when two people blame each other for a particular situation or the way that situation has made them feel. “You always criticize me and make me feel useless” is a “You-statement” that assigns blame to someone else. When rephrased as an I-statement — “I feel unappreciated when I hear criticism all the time” — the blame has been removed and the root cause of the feelings can be addressed in a more dispassionate way.
These types of methods are often used in both communication and conflict resolution. This is why someone who is trained in dealing with mediation and conflict resolution often has a background in communications. People who wish to decrease or better resolve conflicts in their own lives can also use these techniques to better facilitate communication between themselves and others.
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