Conflict Resolution and Magic Phrases

Have you ever felt put on the spot or backed into a corner in a social setting? If so, these four “Magic Phrases” will be able to give you some wiggle room and let you think if or how you want to respond to a probing question. However! Delivery is everything. 🙂

Be genuine and avoid battle mode. The goal is to be assertive, not submissive or aggressive. (There are times and places for submission and aggression, but generally “assertive” is a happier middle ground). In all communication, we want to be in control of ourselves and centered. So, here are the phrases:

That’s interesting. Tell me more

That’s interesting. Tell me more.

That’s interesting. Tell me more.

That’s interesting. Tell me more.

That’s interesting. Why would you say that?

That’s interesting. Why would you ask me that?

That’s interesting. Why did you do that?

Have fun practicing! Remember, the goal is not to annihilate aggressive communicators (as in taking them out with “silver bullets”), these “magic phrases” are meant to buy us time and keep us centered and in control. Being out of control is not a nice feeling and who has time for that, right?

woman entering a room

Another all-time favorite response that Cheri Mattson shared in the Coaching Class is this: when we want to diffuse a situation, we simply agree (to some degree) with the “aggressive” person. For example, if a person huffs into a room that is comfortably warm/cool to everyone else and states loudly, “It’s HOT in here!” Instead of possibly starting an argument, we could simply say, “Yes, it does feel a little warm.” Then a few minutes later, someone else enters the same room and starts shivering under a coat and states, “My, it’s COLD in here.” You could say something similar, “Yes, it does feel a little cool.” You see? It’s simple. We agree, to some degree, (or affirm the person in some way) and just get on with living life.

Isn’t that just marvelous?! We don’t have to let ourselves get twisted around or find ourselves in an argument about things that do not matter.

walking away

Have fun practicing these assertive magic phrases and watch people respond in a positive manner. And if they don’t, you will still have maintained your equilibrium and can simply walk away with a smile.




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