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The way you handle conflict will determine what you get out of life.

Ever gone into a conflict or negotiating situation with butterflies in your stomach? Do sales people make you feel nervous? Does the thought of bringing up a problem with your spouse make you feel sick? Well don’t be afraid, I would say most of us have felt or continually feel like this (depending on your personality)!

As a lawyer I’m dealing with conflict everyday and if not in that role than as a Dad, Husband, friend and Boss… pick your role!

The reality is all of us face situations where we need to negotiate challenges and problems. However, I believe (and have seen time and time again) you actually can successfully navigate conflict and get through any situation you may find yourself in with a lot more confidence (and success) just with putting in a little thought and preparation beforehand. Here’s my first tip.

Tip number one.

Know what you want.

You need to know what you want to get out of a negotiation or conflict scenario before you go into it. Regardless of whether it’s buying a car, dealing with a complex business situation or navigating relational conflict with loved ones.

Stop. Step back and look at the big picture. What do you want to attain out of this situation? What do you classify as a ‘win’ for problem you face or situation you are in?

When you are able to see what you want you will be able to prepare and structure your argument or response more effectively.

When I’m dealing with a legal issue, its not uncommon for me to get lost inside different arguments or precedents and lose sight of what the next logical step is to take. I then have to stop and mentally remove myself from the issue or case and break down what I’m facing into its fundamental elements.

It’s the same with relational conflict. Often teeming with emotions, it can be very easy to lose sight of the original issue or problem and often small arguments can explode with damaging and hurtful consequences.

Sometimes it’s only when you step back from the situation you can analyse and see clearly, without emotion or confusion, what you actually want for yourself and even the other party.

The first step to successful negotiation is know what you want to achieve in the end.

Know what you want to achieve in the end


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