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7 tools from the world of mediation and close communication that you can practice

עודכן: 23 בדצמ׳ 2021



Gilad Bergstein, business and family mediator, attorney, lecturer and mentor.



We engage in countless relationships throughout our lives, whether it is our family, with co-workers, or within friendship groups. Naturally, in all of our relationships, there are quite a few conflicts. Common law usually says that "it is better to manage our conflicts than to have them manage us." I would like to suggest a rewording of this sentence and say that "it is better to lead our conflicts than to have them manage us." We do not manage ourselves and I also believe we do not manage others.

What does this mean? We lead ourselves, our children, our environment, and it is desirable that we also lead our conflicts. To lead our conflicts successfully and without them managing us, we need to utilise a variety of tools. In this short article, I will suggest a process that includes 6 questions and a bonus question that can help anyone to begin leading their conflicts and create positive dialogue in relationships.

It is important to keep in mind that this requires practice, trial and error; and is useful for big issues such as the divorce process or something "smaller" like housework or part-time with the kids.


The first question: How do I feel?

Write down how you feel about the conflict. Try not to settle for anger and sadness. There are dozens of emotions that may be more explanatory/appropriate, for example: frustrated, lonely, disappointed, depressed, helpless, anxious, suspicious, exhausted, distrustful, the list goes on.


The second question: Which of my needs are not being met?

Write down for yourself what your needs are that are not being met in relation to the conflict. Here, too, try not to settle for the first needs that come to mind and look deeper inside. There are hundreds of human needs, for example, confidence, connection, intimacy, appreciation, empathy, independence, clarity, self-expression, listening and more.

It is important to focus and record only feelings and needs, without factual description, without making assumptions and without judgment towards yourself and towards the other party. Write down only what you feel inside and what needs arise in connection with these feelings and the conflict itself.


The third question: What can I do?

Write down three practical actions you can take that will bring about the fulfilment of the feelings and needs you have recorded.


Fourth question: What are my goals?

Write down what your goals are for ending the conflict.

Here are some things that can help you set goals:

  • Write down what you would like to have in a year, three years and five years, without limiting yourself, in terms of money, time or anything else.

  • Goals should meet the SMART model which includes five important parameters: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timely.

  • Write down what will be considered a success for you and what will be considered a failure at the end of the conflict.


After you have 3-5 goals, write down 3 practical actions you can take to achieve the goals you have written down.


Fifth question: could I be wrong (even a little)?

Open your mind to the possibility that you are wrong, even by the smallest amount. It helps to reduce the disagreements between you and your partner and allows room to work on resolving what is really in dispute, with the outcome of finding the common denominator between you two.


Some points to think about that can help with this:
  • Avoid being condescending to the other side.

  • Get into any conversation assuming there is something to learn, everyone is an expert at something.

  • When you do not know, you do not know! The easiest way is to simply say it.

  • Do not compare the experience of the other side to your experience. All experiences are different.


Question Six: Did I make clear requests?

When we assume that the other party knows what we are feeling, misunderstandings are created. Making clear requests, even when they are requests that we feel uncomfortable asking for, prevent misunderstandings.

The key in asking for clear requests is also to be willing to accept "no". When we hear "no", we hear rejection. "No" is a very small and short word, but it is a word that leads people to their most vulnerable and difficult places. One of the reasons for this is that "no" is a word that describes what is missing and not what is found - it is difficult for people to hear it.

Therefore, alongside a clear request, it is important to respect the other party and allow him to say for example: that he is not interested in going out to a restaurant today or that he cannot return home early today from work.

When the other party feels that you were open to accepting a "no", it produces connection, closeness and openness.


Question Seven: A challenging bonus question - what about the other side

Do the same process you did for yourself, just as if you were on the other side.


Think the bonus question is unnecessary? Keep reading some more.

Many people mistakenly think that communication between people is the transfer of information, when in fact communication is the creation of a common understanding.


The biggest problem in communication is when people think it has existed, there has been an understanding when in practice they have no idea that there was a failure in communication.

When we listen to the other side and see them, their feelings and needs, they feel a greater connection and appreciation. It's hard to get into the other side's shoes and think about it clearly, but it can generate trust, openness and partnership over hostility and rivalry in a way that also serves the other side to your feelings, needs and interests.


Why is it recommended to use lists?

Listing things makes order, forces us to think about things in-depth and produces a commitment to doing things.


Good Luck

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Gilad Bergstein, business and family mediator, attorney, lecturer and mentor.

Mobile: 052-5013913.

Email: Giladadr@gmail.com


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