Pause Before Responding
Pause to breathe.
Pause to reflect.
Pause to think.
When in conflict or other stressful situations, we often respond immediately, and full of emotion. Instead, we need to take a moment to breathe, reflect AND think.
Whether the conflict is in person, during a phone call, or via an email or text, the best option is to delay your immediate response. Your words are powerful so take a moment (or two, or three) to carefully choose the words before you say them.
Another factor to remember is when a conflict is occurring in emails, it is likely what you “heard” while reading the message is very different than what the writer intended. The same is true for what you say or write. Our intentions are rarely received as intended.
Pausing to consider your words may only take a moment, and that moment can help to avoid much regret.
Of course, a pause can feel uncomfortable. The discomfort is well worth a better outcome.
A pause is a skill to develop, and a very helpful tool.
A pause is never a moment of nothing.
While you are thinking, so is the other person.
What to say after the pause? Talk! Talk to understand the other person. Begin with a question such as “what happened?” It sends a clear message that you are ready to listen and learn more. This will be a great start to effectively manage conflict, and to improve communication.