If you read my last post then, hopefully, the helpful tips Julie Brown presented on resolving conflict have sunk in and you are in a better position to manage conflict effectively.
While knowing your audience and finding the right expert were the key ideas in that post, this one will focus on the aspect of planning for hostility.
Communicating to your audience, through either an expert or yourself, is a strategy that is out in the open. However, Julie made it a point to emphasize the importance of the work that goes into conflict resolution that the public does not see.
Here are some of her tips on behind-the-scenes work you can do to resolve conflict:
Never underestimate the effectiveness of a face-to-face meeting.
Whether it’s the a media contact trying to view files that your organization deems confidential or an individual worried about the environmental effects of a new building, hosting a face-to-face meeting is by far the most effective way to deal with conflict head on.
During this meeting it is important to answer specific concerns or issues as it gives the invaluable opportunity for direct communication.
Hosting this kind of meeting shows that your organization truly cares about the worries that an individual or group may have.
This also presents communicators with the chance to find out what positions and concerns exist that may not have been taken into consideration. One can then take this information and feed it back into the conflict resolution plan to adjust for a new audience to reach.
Finally, meeting with influential people on the topic can create a positive interaction for your organization.
Plan for conflict in key areas of a long-term issue.
Planning for any project should include consideration of conflicts that may arise over the project’s life.
Specifically in long-term ventures, there are “hotbeds” that are important to notice.
These are the spots in the program or project that noticeably may cause conflicts of interest in the community or audience. They are the areas that professional communicators should pay extra interest to.
Once discovered, one can prepare for the conflicts with the strategies outlined in my last blog post: Research the individuals who may have problems with the particular issue and find an expert in that field to answer the questions they may pose.
Planning for conflict at the outset of a project helps your audience get their questions answered early.
This also allows the communicator to find who to contact with the right information, thus avoiding miscommunications.