Mindful Listening is THE Best Tool for Conflict Resolution

By Alisa Blum, MSW & Judy Sugg, Ph.D:  AIM for Organizational Health


You may think you can multitask and listen exquisitely. You can’t. The two are incompatible, and when conflict arises, the lack of attention and listening, coupled with high emotion, can easily derail any attempts at resolution.

We advocate not just listening in conflict situations, and not even just listening well. We advocate Mindful Listening as the most effective skill for conflict resolution. Mindful listening requires being highly attuned to both our own emotions and the emotions of others. When we listen mindfully we observe our own emotional state with curiosity. We keep self-talk and judgment at bay. In communicating with others, we listen with as clear a head as possible. We pay exquisite attention in order to really hear what is going on with the other person-in words, tone, emotions and body language.

Try these steps the next time you are faced with communicating with someone you don’t see eye to eye with:

  1. Before engaging with the other person, clear your head with a compassion meditation. This will help you stay calm and be more compassionate toward yourself and the other person.
  2. Stay focused on what you are hearing the other person say as well as what you observe.   Paraphrase with empathy, what you hear and describe the emotions you notice.

You will find that when you stay calm and the other person feels heard, you will be taking significant steps toward de-escalating negativity and resolving your conflict.

More conflict resolution tips can be found in the book, “Transforming Conflict with Mindfulness” by Judy Sugg & Alisa Blum.   For questions about our consulting, training & coaching, you can reach us at (503) 481-7586 or aimportland@gmail.com. Program information can be found at www.aimportland.com.


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