Cherry Hill, NJ
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: CONTACT: Joyce Hoff
856) 751-6141 (NJ)
Reducing Conflict at the Holiday Season:
Ten Ways to Avoid Arguments, Quarrels and Disagreements
A woman threw a cookbook at her sister-in-law and screamed: "Maybe now you can cook a holiday dinner for us sometime"
With the holiday season here again, there are lots of opportunities for gift-giving, party-going and joyful celebrating. But, as the above story illustrates, there are also lots of opportunities for conflict.
According to business etiquette expert Barbara Pachter, author of "The Power of Positive Confrontation" ($14.95, paperback, Marlowe & Co.), "People become stressed during the holidays so they're more likely to be bothered or blow up at another person's behavior," she says. "Plus, we tend to have the same conflicts year after year that don't get resolved"
Pachter suggests using her 10 "polite and powerful" suggestions for handling holiday conflict:
1. ACCEPT WHAT YOU CAN INFLUENCE AND WHAT YOU CAN'T. If your father has remarried, he will bring his wife to Thanksgiving dinner.
2. ASK YOURSELF: DOES IT REALLY MATTER? Can you let it go? If you see your uncle only once a year, can you tolerate his behavior?
3. LEARN TO CONFRONT POSITIVELY. If you have avoided confrontation or have confronted aggressively in the past, don't feel bad about yourself. Most people were never taught how to be "polite and powerful" Make it your New Year's resolution to learn how to confront in a more positive fashion.
4. IDENTIFY THE REAL ISSUE. Is the issue that your brother isn't hosting the holiday dinner or that he doesn't visit your mother in her retirement home?
5. PREPARE WHAT YOU WILL SAY. Practice saying the words out loud. Listen to how they sound? Be polite, not harsh. Don't attack the other person with statements, such as "You're selfish…" or "You're such a cheap-skate…" These types of accusations are counterproductive to resolving conflict and can lead to more conflict.
6. BE CLEAR ABOUT WHAT YOU WANT FROM THE PERSON. If you would like your sister-in-law to contribute to the holiday dinner, be specific. "Joan, will you bring a vegetable dish on Sunday?"
7. CONFRONT IN PRIVATE. If others hear the conversation, it can be embarrassing to the other person. Also confront when you are calm. If not, it's easy to explode.
8. PROVIDE SUFFICIENT INFORMATION. If you want your mother to limit the number of computer games she gives your son, tell her why. When you tell others the reason for your request, it may influence their behavior.
9. LISTEN TO THE OTHER PERSON'S RESPONSE. He or she may offer another alternative or provide an explanation for the behavior. Your sister may not be planning to fly home for the holidays because of financial difficulties she is too embarrassed to discuss.
10. AND IF YOU DON'T GET WHAT YOU WANT, CAN YOU LIVE WITH THE BEHAVIOR? Is it worth ending the relationship? Do the benefits of the relationship outweigh its drawbacks?
Barbara Pachter is speaker, coach and author of numerous business books, including "NewRules@Work: 79 Etiquette Tips, Tools, and Techniques to Get Ahead and Stay Ahead", ($13.95, paperback, Prentice Hall Press) and "When The Little Things Count: And They Always Count" ($13.95, paperback, Marlowe & Co.).
She specializes in business etiquette and communication. Her client list features major organizations worldwide, including Microsoft, Pfizer, Chrysler, and Genentech.
For a review copy of "The Power of Positive Confrontation" contact Marlowe & Company, Blanca Olivery: Blanca@avalonpub.com
For a free copy of Pachter's communication e-newsletter, "Competitive Edge," your readers can call (856) 751-6141 (NJ) or go to www.pachter.com.
Cherry Hill, NJ