Communications Professor Ellen Bremen is passionate about communication (she’s even written a book about it).
In this video, Ellen discusses how we can thoughtlessly create conflict by the words we choose. She points out that being more thoughtful in how we frame things with others is key to conflict avoidance and good communication.
(Video transcript below)
I have a best practice communication tip for you and here it is:
Do not start an argument where there isn’t one.
Let me give you some context: I was sitting in a hotel in one of those living room areas and I was working on editing my book, Say THIS Not THAT to your Professor. A woman walks in with her whole family and she says, “Oh, I see that you’re working. We don’t want to disturb you.”
And I said, “No, this area is for everybody and I’m also used to working in busy areas and I have two kids.”
She sort of paused for a moment and she said, “Well, it’s not like we don’t have a right to be here.”
I was a little bit taken aback. There was nothing really in my non-verbal or my verbal communication that indicated that she didn’t have a right to be there. So, I said, “Oh, of course not.”
It was kind of tense for a moment with uncomfortable silence. I just went back to my work, but after that I did feel uncomfortable staying. So, I ended up taking my laptop and finding another common area to go to.
It’s interesting when we’re dealing with others who already have a script written in their minds already. Even though we may respond favorably, they sort of have a predetermined outcome and they’re going to go with that regardless of how we respond. Again, starting an argument where there wasn’t one.
So, that’s my communication tip for you. Let’s not look for a fight when the other person is clearly okay with the situation.
Thank you so much! I look forward to other communications tips that I can share.