ARSENIO’S ESL PODCAST | SEASON 5 EPISODE 133 | LIFE SKILLS Part II | Dealing with conflict at university

Negotiating Compromise

  • Firstly, avoid using email or texting: it is easy to misunderstand someone’s purpose when there’s no facial expression, intonation or physical gesture to support it. Instead, schedule a face-to-face meeting at a mutually convenient time and place, like the canteen or seminar room.
  • Before you meet up, list the things you cannot compromise on, and the points on which you could concede. At the same time, bear in mind the other student’s interests and point of view.
  • Next, focus on pinpointing the goals you have in common, and also any worries that you share. This will reinforce the idea that you are in a partnership.
  • During the negotiation itself, clearly state what you want by using ‘I’ sentences. Then listen to the other student: let them speak and don’t interrupt. Once they’ve finished, ask questions and restate what they’ve said to show that you’ve understood.
  • Refer only to the problems, and avoid attacking the other student’s personality because they will just become defensive.
  • Come up with some win-win solutions together that are mutually beneficial. Be as creative as you can write them down as you go: you can alway shortlist them later, after selecting the best.
  • Now for the detail: be clear about what everyone’s responsibilities are, and their deadlines. If you can product a written agreement that will act as a reminder, and also evidence, if one of you doesn’t hold to their side of the agreement.

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