Are you struggling with your relationships, whether it be a personal relationship or a business relationship? We are conditioned throughout our life to have the answers to our problems or to other peoples problems, so we automatically move directly to solutions or answers when dealing with conflict in our relationships.
Let me give you examples of how we offer answers versus asking questions when facing conflict.
1. You are arguing with your partner, consider asking questions of your partner such as "How would you describe your current feelings" or "What outcome would make this situation successful," rather than asking "why are you upset" or "what is your problem".
2. You are trying to close a deal with a client, and they tell you they decided they are not interested. Most people either 1) Accept or 2) become defensive. You could ask your client "What were the factors that got you into this decision." Asking questions in a way to gain better context into their decision-making process rather than asking why they didn't choose your product or services helps you extract more information to handle their objection.
3. Many people have a conflict with their managers or co-workers in the workplace, ego usually is front and center, and you must step back from your emotions and consider a different approach. Consider "How could I do things differently to ensure our success" or "Could you give me more insight into steps that I could take to improve this situation."
Putting Emotions Aside
We often allow our emotions and ego to enter our conflict, which doesn't create an environment to solve our problems. You need to put your personal feelings aside and open your mind and heart. You must try not to allow your emotions to control the situation. The next time you have a difficult conversation with someone, ask the other person for a moment to get your thoughts together and think about what you want to say. We often want to go on the defensive when we feel like our backs are against the wall. Take that moment to take a deep breath, think about how you got into this conflict and established a couple of questions you can ask. Once you have your questions, address only one issue at a time and follow-up with additional questions to gather more perspective so you can solve the conflict.
Even if you have answers to the problem or conflict, avoid using them. When you address conflict with answers such as "I think", "My perspective is", etc. You are going to answers that could make the other person to feel as if you are attacking them. If you address the conflict from a place that is not driven by emotion and ego, you are more likely to come to a resolution much sooner. You will avoid a long-standing conflict and build stronger relationships.