As well intentioned as you may be, conflicts will arise during virtual meetings you participate in. Even if they are not knockdown, drag out affairs, there could still be instances where you have to find your way through a seemingly impenetrable verbal, or ideological, battle royal.
In business, conflict resolution is not a skill everyone has, or knows how to properly apply to real-life situations. Unfortunately with this being the case, many disagreements can be blown out of proportion, or remain unsettled for an infinite amount of time. Both of these results do not help businesses move forward.
If you regularly participate in video conferences for work, you should learn how to deal with conflict. Here are some tips to get you started:
Take a Pause to Collect Your Thoughts
When workplace conflicts occur, it is only human to get caught up in the heat of the moment. In it, though, you still have to find a way to momentarily step back from the fire and reassess.
At this point, slow down and consider what the conflict is really about and what type of solutions you can bring to it. Counterpunching for the sake of counterpunching will not do you any good here – in fact, it’ll make matters worse.
By slowing down the momentum of a virtual meeting disagreement, you stand a better chance at calming all participants so that they, too, have a moment to better think things out.
Sometimes, when a video call conversation gets too confrontational, participants have a tendency to exchange hard and fast statements about a topic. They want their opinions heard and agreed to. This can leave little room for clarity to be sought.
In these instances, conflict resolution can really be sped up by putting forth the right questions. This can involve asking to have a specific point elaborated on; inquiring how a certain conclusion came to be; or simply requesting more information.
Following the theme of our earlier point, this is also an effective way to slow down a video chat that’s taken a negative turn.
Do Not Overreact, or Rush to Judgment
A lot of arguments during virtual meetings are a direct result of someone overreacting or rushing to judge what another person has said.
An easy way to prevent this from occurring is creating a policy in which team members are given the floor to lay out their case for whatever the topic might be. Interruptions during this block of time are subsequently prohibited. Once an individual is finished presenting, others in the video chat will then have a chance to react.
Embracing a format like this one will allow for an idea/perspective/pitch to marinate before other chefs get into the kitchen. Ideally, by this point others on the call will have had time to fully consider what was discussed, and not feel the need to run at it with torches and pitchforks.
Be Open to Other Opinions and Try to be Accommodating
For teammates to coexist nicely during video conferences, it’s important that everyone remain open to the opinions of others. You should also be accommodating if another person makes a suggestion on how to shift and/or improve an idea you shared.
By respecting these concepts during virtual meetings, conflict resolution tactics will rarely need to be put into motion. In fact, when a team is more open to opinion and accommodating of one another, a collaborative, productive environment is fostered.
Avoid Yelling and/or Talking Down to Others
Just because you disagree with someone during a video call, that does not mean you should raise your voice at them, or make them feel small – ever.
Even if you have a modest understanding about how to resolve conflict, you should still be aware that being this aggressive and hurtful toward other teammates can make relationships unrepairable. No one should want this type of conflict at work.
Disagreements are going to happen during some of your virtual meetings. But the volume of said disagreements can be controlled if everyone speaks to one another in a calm, respectful manner.
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