I’ve just returned from attending an incredible workshop in CT, presented by my friend Bennie Naude. The workshop taught me how to “Fall in Love with Presenting” and I can’t even begin to describe all the learnings from it. (He’s hosting another in November in Cape Town, Knysna and London. If you decide to do yourself an incredible favour and book, please let him know I sent you.)
One unexpected benefit arrived on the last morning, totally out of the blue.
As background, one of my highest values is peace and harmony. As a child, I did not learn ways to handle conflict. As you can guess, my general tendency is to avoid conflict altogether – and that has NOT led to the most fantastic results for me. I’ve lost 2 friendships because I was unable to deal with it effectively. Painful!
Back to Day 3 of the workshop. We were each due to do a presentation in front of a group and the fear and anxiety in the room was palpable! An important part of this stunning workshop was to help us work through the charged emotion with EFT. So, we all sat tapping as a group. Bennie was explaining how to find the ‘sore spot’ on the chest, to use that as an alternative for the ‘Side of Hand’ point.
A lady who was sitting next to me, and had been a little bossy throughout the 3 days, proceeded to poke and prod me on MY chest, telling me she thinks I haven’t found the right spot and I should be able to find the right place a little higher.
I’m usually very slow to anger, yet in that moment a huge irritation popped out of me, I pushed her away and told her loudly I KNOW where they are and to leave me alone. The group kept tapping. Some people might’ve heard that interaction, I’m not sure. I was super annoyed with her and asked myself how the heck I was going to get through the rest of the day with this discomfort between us.
See, my normal reaction would be to try and ignore it, sweep it under the carpet and pretend it didn’t happen.
HOWEVER. In this ‘presenting’ workshop, we learned the importance of being able to address the Elephant in the room. And I just KNEW in my heart, I couldn’t do my normal ignore-the-elephant-thing, if I was to gain anything from these transformative 3 days.
So… at the end of the tapping rounds, Bennie asked whether anybody had anything to share or say. He asked a few times. My heart was pounding. “Should I say something?? It’s SO uncomfortable”, I wondered. Should I just go and clear it out with her afterwards, away from everyone else?
To my surprise, almost without me having a say in it, my hand went up. “I don’t normally speak up about this kind of thing,”, I heard myself say. “But here’s an elephant in this room now. There was in incident between myself and my neighbour a minute ago, and I can’t carry on and not address it.”
I felt myself turn to her, and addressed her directly. “I’m sorry I got angry with you. AND. What you did was not okay!”
She looked me straight in the eye and said “I’m so sorry I did that. I know I shouldn’t have. I invaded your space, and besides, you know what you’re doing. I’m sorry.”
Just like that, it was diffused and over. The group applauded, Bennie said it’s one of the most beautiful things he saw on that day, the air was clear, and we could carry on with the day with light hearts.
That was SO UNLIKE me. And I’m SO GRATEFUL for this course and the experience. To feel what it was like to clear the air instead of carrying it for days as is my usual behaviour. And this PRICELESS experience was a direct benefit of the 3 days of learning how to address the elephants in the room with an audience. Thank you, Bennie!
And – I know it’s not always that easy.
Sometimes the other person in a conflict situation is not ready to hear what you want to say. They might not want to take responsibility for their part in it. Or YOU might not have the courage to say what you want for fear of their reaction. Or, you have the courage, but you don’t know HOW to address it, it comes out all wrong, and it makes matters worse. (Is it any wonder we sometimes prefer to bottle it up?)
When we are in a difficult conversation, or as someone said “an important conversation” the two biggest mistakes we make are one, not to listen to the other person’s perspective, and two, to suggest a solution before we have thoroughly explored the issue.
To avoid making these mistakes
- Start by saying how you see the situation, how you feel and what is at stake (in your opinion).
- Invite the other person to share how they see the situation and how they feel.
- When that has been thoroughly explored from both sides move towards a resolution – how can we move forward, what do we agree to and how will we hold ourselves accountable to the new agreement.
Handling conflict well requires us to be able to manage our emotions and to be assertive rather than aggressive. That is often easier said than done.
Do you shy away from conflict at home with friends or family, or at work with colleagues and staff?
Do you engage in conflict in an aggressive manner that either leaves you or the other person feeling bruised?
If the answer is yes to any of the above, you may like to look at this 90 minute online workshop experience that a colleague and I are presenting.
It’s hosted online on Wednesday 16 August, at 4 pm SA time. It’s only $25 – around ZAR 330 for a 90 minute workshop PLUS bonus Q&A session a week later.
During the workshop you will:
- experience how to take away the emotional charge so you can THINK clearly
- learn the three basic components of dealing with conflict
- learn and practise ways to listen deeper & use this to resolve conflict
- develop actionable steps that you can apply straight away
After a week of practising what you have learnt you have the opportunity to participate in a bonus follow on session so you can ask questions about what you’d forgotten or what didn’t go the way you expected.
If this sounds interesting to you, read more information and book here for Handling Conflict with Ease.
If you have any questions, there’s a handy form at the bottom of the page. Alison and I look forward to supporting you!