Dealing with conflict in the workplace is always tricky. Paola and Simon walk us through an effective framework that will help you communicate and resolve conflict in English more effectively.
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Paola Pascual 0:03
Welcome to TalaeratTalks, the business English communication podcast for non native professionals. My name is Paola and I am co-hosting the show with Simon.
Simon Kennell 0:13
In this podcast, we're going to be covering communication advice and tips to help express yourself with confidence in English in professional settings. So we hope you enjoy the show.
Simon Kennell 0:24
Welcome back, everyone, to another episode of Talaera Talks. My name is Simon. I hope wherever you are, as always, you're having a great day. Paola, are you having a great day?
Paola Pascual 0:38
I am having a great day. Yeah, it's sunny here in Valencia. It's pretty hot. And that always makes me happy. So yeah.
Simon Kennell 0:45
And it's Friday. It is Friday. So it's Friday.
Paola Pascual 0:49
I know the topic we have for today. I'm not sure if it matches the Friday mood, but we'll try our best.
Simon Kennell 0:54
I don't know. Yeah, I think. I don't know this was one of those ones where you were? Maybe you you want to push it to next week almost like this type of topic. Because Because usually on Fridays people are pretty happy. They're pretty, you know, pumped up for the weekend. And yeah, I know what you mean.
Paola Pascual 1:14
Well, I think the silver lining though,
Simon Kennell 1:17
We'll find a silver lining. Well, okay. So before we jump into it, though, we're I want to give a kind of get a quick update on how things are going with our HR month.
Paola Pascual 1:28
So our HR culture month, this event that we talked about for HR managers for l&d professionals, is going very well. We've had over 1000 people coming to, you know, subscribing for our events. And it's really exciting. We're partnering with LifeLabs Learning for a workshop on how to create a learning culture. And we have, you know, so many other great speakers. Yeah. And you're part of it as well. You're doing awesome.
Simon Kennell 1:59
Oh, thank you. Thank you. No, no, it is, it's, it's a lot of fun. And I think what's cool about it is we're all learning so much, you know, like the speakers that we've invited, and that we talk to, they're all so knowledgeable. I mean, we had the former COO of Thomson Reuters, two former COOs, actually. And, and yeah, it's just, it's really cool. And kind of the events that we're doing. I'm learning a ton. So it's, yeah, it's always good, as we say, we always keep learning. And today, what are we learning about?
Paola Pascual 2:38
So today, we're going to touch on conflict, and how we can deal with it from a communication perspective, which is, you know, what we do best?
Simon Kennell 2:49
Yeah, yeah, conflict in the workplace. And that's, I mean, like we said, this isn't one of those topics we'd like to maybe touch on on a Friday because nobody wants to get into conflict on a Friday. But, I mean, we were looking at some of the statistics, and it's crazy. There was a study done, where they said $359 billion wasted in paid hours each year in the US just in the US, workplace yet because of workplace conflict. And that's like, along with that 85% or more of employees deal with conflict on some type of level. So this is something that's just like an every day, kind of, yeah, an everyday challenge, I guess, almost for many companies. But there's, there's so many different types, like when we talk about conflict, what are we talking about?
Paola Pascual 3:42
Yeah, so conflict can mean many different things. I think that the one that first comes to mind is a relationship conflict, you know, when you have this type of it can be related to work, but it happens between between people at work, and perhaps they, there's some personality clashes, cultures, like different cultural differences also come into place as well. And, you know, they, they may not get along, and it happens in life. But of course, it also happens at work. So that's the one that comes to mind.
Simon Kennell 4:15
Yeah. That's a big one. I mean, that's the most dangerous, right? That's kind of the one that will blow up in your face, almost something you always want to watch for because there are real, you know, feelings involved and identity and emotions that are really involved there. But then there's also other types of conflict, right? There's process conflict, which tells us a little bit about how things get done, right. If I like, if I like things done in this way, but you think they need to be done in a different way. That's process conflict. Right. So and I think that's actually more common than we think it Is this like, Okay, well, why would we do that first? Right? Why wouldn't we just do? Why wouldn't we do it like this? You know, and we're talking about the process of how we do that. And then there's task conflict.
Paola Pascual 5:13
So what is conflict? Oh, you want me to tell you about task conflict?
Simon Kennell 5:18
I want you to tell Yeah.
Paola Pascual 5:21
Sure. So this is more related to the content and outcomes of the work we do. So we talked about the relationships, that's when we talk about more like personalities, and the way we see life and our beliefs and hobbies and social components. The one you mentioned was process conflict. And that's how work gets done if we delegate if we not if we don't processes, methods, procedures. But here, this one is about exactly that. Like what is so task conflict, what is the best way to solve a task? And there you can see a lot of disagreements like do you think people would do it one way and the other? You know, especially happens, I guess, within the same team.
Simon Kennell 6:07
Yeah. And there, we're also focusing more on outcome, right? It's more like, it's like, Okay, what's, what's the way to achieve this, this specific outcome? Right, and then you can have a conflict regarding that. So yeah, there's it can it can get a little bit blurry. Right. But we know definitely kind of relationship conflict is the one that really sticks out to most people. But when we're talking about conflict, is conflict always negative? I mean, I think this kind of depends a lot on culture upbringing, like, you know, I think, probably, for me, I was for a long time thought that I thought that maybe conflict was just something that we should always try to avoid. We should we shouldn't conflict isn't good. But then the further I got into maybe more creative work with with people like, like, for example, like you and I, if we're working on something, and we have creative differences, like that's a conflict, right. But it's not necessarily negative.
Paola Pascual 7:20
I agree. I agree. I think it's good to be able to voice your opinions and share your ideas and disagree if you just don't agree. So yeah, it does. foster creativity. I totally agree. I think it's also good because it, it allows you to see if some things are unclear at work, like it can, it can signal unclear guidelines, and it's a moment for for you and for management to reflect on. Okay, how can we do this better?
Simon Kennell 7:51
Right? Yeah. And it's something that I think about all the time, because being in HR, that's just like, that's my life is, you know, are, are the is what we're communicating clear, right? And, and a lot of times, conflict arises because there is some type of lack of clarity, you know, because what this person understood is different from what this other person understood, and then you have some type of conflict. And so that comes down to clarity. Right, so So again, there's situations where, in my experience, some type of conflict has helped with this, because then we think, Okay, this is a situation we never thought of, and we weren't necessarily prepared for. But now, it's brought up this issue that we can solve for going forward. Right? Yeah.
Paola Pascual 8:42
And it also allows you to look deeper into the issues that you might have, like, if there was a conflict about it, then that's a good enough reason for you to actually take a more in depth look at what's happening. And I think the last one, and I find I see this, not only at work, but also outside, you know, in my personal life, and when you see that some people are in conflict more often than others. Sometimes it is because there's something wrong, and that is not being discussed. So perhaps they feel under appreciated, and that's their way of standing out. Sounds great, but it does happen.
Simon Kennell 9:25
Right? Yeah. And, and that can happen for like we said many reasons. And it could be that this is just how this person feels they need to communicate to to communicate this point, this need, right? That, hey, I have this need that I feel under appreciated. And this is how I need to communicate it by, you know, really pushing that in some type of way. But ultimately, the I think probably the goal is to get to the same point. To You know, and everybody wants that. So. So again, sometimes you need a little bit of a fire to help the soil grow and better, right. So, you know, that's kind of, I think, natural in many ways. But still, you know, there are ways and what we'll talk about today are, there are there are ways to navigate this, and to facilitate it in a way to where you get to these good outcomes, you know, one way or the other. And we'll talk about those from these, these different, you know, types of conflict that we've talked about, in your experience. I mean, have you been in different conflicts in the workplace?
Paola Pascual 10:42
Um, I wouldn't say I have for sure, but it's been more of like a disagreement and how we do think so it's been more of a, I guess, a task or process kind of conflict. I haven't had really relationship conflicts at work. But yeah, it's been more like, I thought things had to be done one way, and the other person thought that they had to be done. differently.
Simon Kennell 11:08
Paola Pascual 11:10
What about you?
Simon Kennell 11:11
Well, yeah, yeah. I mean, I think it's probably really similar for me. I've never, I've never had a relationship conflict. And work. Not that. Yeah. Not that I can think. Yeah, no, no, no relationship conflict. I've definitely like, disagreed process or task base. But again, that can be seen as more constructive or destructive. Right? And if we think about, like, what is what are some types of destructive conflict? That would be more like? Yeah, a lot of antagonistic. A lot of, you know, feelings, a lot of emotion. If, you know, is there? Do we want to find a solution? Or is it just focusing on on anger and fear? And, you know, so there's, most of the conflict that I've been in has been always ended constructively. So, you know, I think that's, that's probably a good thing. I think most of the people on ancillaries team, actually, I think all the all of the people on tillers team fall into this same boat of, of, you know, this kind of constructive conflict model that, you know, if we do have some type of conflict, we work it out, and it comes for the better. So, so that's yeah, that's good. Some, before we jump into these, our three step strategy, some quick tips for resolving like a misunderstanding, right? Because we're talking about these different types of conflict. But if there is just a small misunderstanding, what would you think are some just initial tips and how you should approach that?
Paola Pascual 12:51
So I actually stole these from the webinar you hosted? We're hosting it again, soon, I thought the word grade on you know how to resolve conflict. So there's three very quick but very effective steps and I 100% agree with you, the first one is nipped in the bud. So when when there is conflict, sometimes it it is not because of what the people voice or what the people say it is so try to find the actual origin of that, of that misunderstanding, why did it happen? What are the underlying reasons? And try to really identify it as early as possible, before it develops into something else? So yeah, try to tackle it as quickly as possible and, and try to really understand what are those underlying reasons. Timing is very important. Try to find the right moment, as we said, one in terms of as quickly as possible, but also be mindful of the other person's day. And whether they prefer to discuss things so they're fresh in the morning, try to discuss that with them in the morning. If they're super tired, like me in the afternoon, then please don't come to me with like, super big deal, because I'm not going to be ready to actually, you know, be my best self. So you did say that after lunch is better than right before. And I do agree like, full stomach always helps people get better.
Simon Kennell 14:25
Yeah, yeah, higher blood sugar is definitely you know, there's a great expression hangry right, which is hungry and angry together. Hangry you don't want to have some type of conflict resolution when people are hangry Definitely not. I and then also there's setting right like so. How when you have this conversation, where do you have it? How do you have it?
Paola Pascual 14:49
Well, in general, the more real and human can feel, the better. So if you can, if you can meet face to face then great If it has to be, you know, on a video call, then then great, but do treat it like a real conversation. And I guess here it depends on how people like to do things. But yeah, treating it as human as possible is usually best.
Simon Kennell 15:18
Yeah, yeah. Good, good. So we have nipped in the bud, which is like literally handle it as fast as possible. The timing, think about when you're doing this, and then the setting, right? Think about, yeah, where you're having this conversation, treat it like a real human conversation. So those are just those initial quick tip. Now we're getting into the three step strategy that we have kind of put together for dealing with conflict in English, right? So this is if English is not your, your first language. But again, you can use this I think it kind of is universal, almost right. And our three points are active listening, number one, making your point and then collaborating. So it's almost like this model of, we need to listen first, right taken and really have that active listening approach, then we come in, and how do we make our points in a way that isn't negative or rude? And then how do we transition this into a way that we're working together to go forward? Right, so we want to create this kind of constructive? Conflict resolution model? Right? So for active listening, let's start there. Let's start with active listening. How do we do this? This is something we've talked about a lot. And we talked about the importance of listening as a skill. How do we do this? When it comes to conflict resolution?
Paola Pascual 16:42
I think what you just said is, is I love this framework, you know that the active listening, making your point collaborating, and always been constructive. But yes, it every Everything starts with active listening, there's this webinar, we just hosted on effective communication. And one of the things that we said that was most important is Be a good listener. Without by you cannot be an effective communicator. So for active listening, you taught us about the rasa technique. I love it. And if you could walk us through it, I think it's such a good technique.
Simon Kennell 17:13
Yeah. And actually, this, this came from my dad, actually, because I asked him and he's also in the in the ESL field. And I asked him, you know, I need some good listening, some good listening kind of trainings, or something to use. And he brought this to me straight away said, use the rasa technique, he has been using it for years. It's a technique developed by a man named Julian treasure. And it's really, it's really effective. Because a lot of times when we're listening, we just, we're not saying anything. And we're just kind of thinking, our own thoughts in our head, like preparing for what we're going to say. We're not verbalizing their thoughts. And so we're not really taking in what their points are, what the other person's points are. And this rasa technique is, number one, the are the first art is received, right? So we need to receive the message from the from the other person, and how do we do that while we're standing? It's about our body posture, right? What's What's the expression on our face? What are we, you know, how are we receiving this? Are we receiving it in an open manner? Or are we receiving it, you know, with a bad look on our face and kind of, you know, a way with our body language, then it's appreciate, right. So with appreciate, we can use small, very small sounds to show that we're listening and to show that we're considering and actually that appreciating what they're saying. So we can use sounds like, Huh, okay. Huh? Right. So even these small sounds, that signals to the other person that wow, okay, Simon is, is appreciating what I'm saying. He's taking it in, he's listening. Then we want to summarize what they're saying. Alright, so after appreciating, we're thinking about that. So you feel like or so what you're saying is, and then we're summarizing it in our own words. And then we're asking, is that right? Or is is kind of is that the right line? Or is that what you meant? And what that's doing is that making the person felt understood, listened to, and a part of the conversation? And for you, it's giving you a chance to take in that thought, right, so if we tried it right now, Powell Paola, tell me a little bit about your Friday today.
Paola Pascual 19:54
Um, well, it's been it's been really hard because I had a lot of new tasks out Add to My Plate. And I, you know, it's not what I was expecting. Hmm. But um,
Simon Kennell 20:06
so it sounds like you weren't necessarily prepared for all of these tasks to come in. Is that right?
Paola Pascual 20:13
Yeah, yeah, that's exactly what happened. Yeah.
Simon Kennell 20:17
Wow. Okay, so, hmm. I mean, how are you? How are you handling that?
Paola Pascual 20:24
Well, I had to prioritize again and reassess the situation. And, yeah, it worked out. It worked out.
Simon Kennell 20:31
Okay. Okay. So I mean, it sounds like you're kind of on track. And you're on top of it, right?
Paola Pascual 20:36
Yeah, exactly. It mostly mostly. I see what you did there, though. And I think it's such a great technique, and you always explain it so well. So let me see if I remember one was receive. So take it all in and truly listen to what the other person is saying. Appreciate. And that's where you do like the small. Okay. I have a question there. Could you also use something like, Oh, I see your point. Is that something you could say there?
Simon Kennell 21:05
Yeah. But but but also think about the message that you're communicating with that right is, I think, think about when you use that, if if you do actually see their point, then yeah, go for it. But if you don't agree, because I see your point can signal. Okay, I agree with that. Right? Whereas, hmm, okay, shows that. I'm just appreciating, I'm understanding you. So just you can use I see your point, but also think about the context, right? Think about the context. For me, if someone says I see your point, a lot of times they can signal that. I agree with you. All right. So it can be confusing. Yeah, just be just just Yeah, consider that right. Yeah, consider perfect,
Paola Pascual 21:52
then summarize. I love that. I think that's one of the most fundamental speaking skills that one can have, like summarizing your point, really helps you get closer together to other people make your point across and you know, it's great. So I love that and then asking, is making it inclusive, and you're you have that mentality of work collaborating, here, we're finding when looking for a solution together. And I also really, really liked what you said about tone and body language, because what you just said, okay, yeah, that can also be taken the wrong way. If your body language and tone are very aggressive. So we always say how the rising intonation tends to be friendlier. Don't cross your arms and in general, have a more open body posture,
Simon Kennell 22:42
right? Yeah, exactly. Like the way you said, Huh? Okay. Yeah, sure. Like, scary. Yeah, that's a little bit intense. Right. So yeah, think about think about the tone there. And then when we're asking, you know, there's some different ways to say it, like, Okay, can you clarify that for me? And think about the tone, right? Can you clarify that for me? Okay, so when you said this, what did you mean? What did you mean? Right? So I'm not saying what did you mean? It's, what did you mean, right, I'm going up with my intonation. And those are some good ways, some some kind of key points. And so this is a great first step for listening. And you're there, you're really getting the person to kind of dig in and go through their points. And when you're summarizing, you're actually giving their words back to them. Right? You're not trying to, you're not trying to add in messaging, or, or things like that, you're trying to give their words back to them so that they can see how it's interpreted. And a lot of times, even just using this technique, and giving a person's words back to them, will help them understand that okay, maybe they're not in the exact right wave of mind with this.
Paola Pascual 23:55
And to that, I would love to add, because there's many ways to summarize and I wonder if you agree, we haven't talked about this, but I think it's great to just focus on the facts and in the behavior, and leave out the judgment in assumptions about a person. So if the other person said to you, you're so unprofessional, and you relate three times in a row, the way you can summarize, that would be okay, why don't you leave out the unprofessional part and you just focus on okay, what was the issue that they were complaining about the specific situation? So you then just stick to the Okay. The person was late three times in a row.
Simon Kennell 24:34
Yeah. Yeah. And that that's exactly right. We want we want to, when we're using conflict, we want to, we want to find the most objective points possible, which is usually numbers, because then we can create a common ground which comes to our next point right around making your point. So we've started with the act of listening and and the person feels So hopefully at this point understood, they feel that at least you're taking in their points. But But now, of course, that takes two to tango, right? We need to make our point. And, and one of the best ways to do that is, like you said, use common ground and use something objective like numbers, right? You can either do that or something you both agree on. Right. So, okay, so can we agree that, you know, it's not good to be late? Yes, we can both agree that it's not good to be late. You know, can we agree that it's not the best to have a lot of tasks dropped on you? You know, on a Friday? Yes, we can both agree on that. Right. It's a common ground. And there, we want to build up, you know, to kind of put in our point of view, right. And so we're going back to those objective points. How do you build up from the common ground? We want to do what after that?
Paola Pascual 25:57
Yeah. So we've we've tried to find common ground here. I've taught this to students, and they tell me, but what if there's no common ground? Well, there's always common ground because you're there, you're having a conflict. So at least, you both want to figure that out? Yeah. So pointed out, it seems that these meetings are not working the way we both expected. Boom, that's common ground, that's
Simon Kennell 26:18
common ground. Let's
Paola Pascual 26:19
find a way to do that. Alright. So
Simon Kennell 26:21
it seems that we both want to figure this out. Right? Yes, that's common, you know. So even though it's exactly right, even those points, yeah.
Paola Pascual 26:29
So then the objective points are, as you said, try to look for numbers try to look for actions and behavior, and, and facts and leave out all the, in general adjectives are not a great choice of words when it comes to conflict. So instead of saying, angry, irresponsible, unprofessional, harsh, rude, that even if you think if even if that's what you think it's much better to just focus on, on the facts. Yeah. So exactly that try to find examples. And numbers.
Simon Kennell 27:11
Right, right. Yeah. So I mean, yeah. Can we agree, Paula, that? Yeah, it's not, it's not good to have a lot of a lot of tasks just dropped on you on a Friday. Right? We can agree on that.
Paola Pascual 27:23
Oh, yeah. Yeah, we can.
Simon Kennell 27:27
Okay, but I do want to, you know, just make a point that, I mean, the those two specific tasks that I handed you for today, I mean, those were, those were big projects that we were both working on, and that do need to be done, you know, by early next week, right. And so those are like objective points. Right? Those are two big tasks that we discussed about. And we both agree, it is objective that they need to be done by early next week. Right? So, so we're, we're framing we're making our point. And we're asking if they agree with that, right. And that's an objective point that they can agree on.
Paola Pascual 28:06
Yeah, and to the objective points are, so for making your point, we first said, find common ground. Now, you know, state your objective points. Before we we go to the third step, I would like to point out something that we also talked about in our webinar. Last week, that was about the power of the word because, and just giving people the reason why that is not working. It's also extremely powerful. So for example, you just handed these two new tasks to me on a Friday, but you're also justifying it saying, because the client, you know, you're because the project is finishing on Monday, or because the event is on Tuesday. So we need to have everything prepared by them.
Simon Kennell 28:57
Right, right. And, and that is the reason I'm not, I'm not saying this to you, because I don't like you, because I want you to be super busy on a Friday. I want to ruin your weekend. You know, I'm not saying you, I'm giving you a reason, right. And then from there, we can build with something inclusive and positive. So our three steps to making our point is common ground. We want objective points, and then we want to build something inclusive and positive. And there, what are the two words are the two words that we would really want to use are the two phrases.
Paola Pascual 29:33
So those are can we and let's,
Simon Kennell 29:38
yeah, why why is that so much better than I or you?
Paola Pascual 29:43
Well, you're putting people on the you're you're that you're showing that you're both in the same boat. You know, it's, as you said, it takes two to tango to tango. It's it's a collaboration. We're both chipping in. So we're both going to make sure that this works.
Simon Kennell 30:02
Yeah, yeah. So and I think here, when we're using this kind of inclusive and positive, it comes right after we've, or right after I've given those objective points, like, okay, but you know, the, the client has really needs these projects to be done by early next week, can we look at some solutions for how we can figure this out? Or let's, let's think about some ways that we can make this work for everyone. Right? And so there, I'm, we're in the same boat, it's a it's a week, it's not, you should probably figure out how to how to get this done. That's, that's not very collaborative. And just using that phrase, you know, can we find a way to make this work for everyone? Or let's so let's figure this out. It gives that tone of building towards collaborating, right? And it kind of opens that door to collaboration.
Paola Pascual 30:57
I like that. And that, that that is the last part of our right conflict resolution technique collaborating? And do you have some other phrases where we can encourage that?
Simon Kennell 31:10
Yes, so we started with, right, we started with the act of listening, right? Just, we're building to make our point, and we wanted to be objective, use numbers of possible, be inclusive. And then you're opening the door to collaborating using like, can we or let's, and then when we when we get to collaboration, we want to really open more with the week that can we the let's all right, can we look at some what if scenarios, or let's think about what what's the best way that we can tackle this problem? What do you think we can do to make sure that we don't find ourselves in this situation again? You know, I'd like this one, is it a crazy idea to think that, you know, what have you? And this is forcing the person to actually say no and agree like, no, that's not a crazy idea. Right. Paula, is it a crazy idea to think that, you know, we can at least get part of this done today? Is that a crazy idea?
Paola Pascual 32:14
No, I guess it's not. Yeah, you're right.
Simon Kennell 32:17
It's not out of the realm. It's not insane. So at least now we're starting to come to some type of collaboration. And then we're opening the door to okay, how can we do X, Y, and Z today?
Paola Pascual 32:32
And I really like this other one, how can I support you? And you've talked about this for HR, right? Like, everyone goes to HR, and it's like, hey, fix my problem. I'm not going to tell you how you figure it out. But this way, you're putting the responsibility also on the other person to suggest a solution, like, how can I support you? What can I do to make this better?
Simon Kennell 32:52
Yeah, yeah, exactly. Right. How can I support you? I think that's, that's what can I do to help? What can I do to help? And they're your, this is more of, yeah, you know, it's on the other person to come up with that if they have those, those solutions. But I think definitely in an HR context, where you're getting a lot of the problems all the time, this kind of puts the responsibility on the other person as well. Great. Okay. So for time's sake, let's just really quickly wrap up with culture. So conflict across cultures, we've already talked about the different types of conflict. But, I mean, you just did a podcast on direct and indirect communication. And it's something we talk about a lot. How does conflict, look across cultures?
Paola Pascual 33:49
very differently? Very, very, very differently. So some cultures are more okay with conflict than others? I don't know if if we're talking about the conflict so much per se, but definitely how they approach conflict. So for example, people in Israel or France, or Germany won't be scared to say, I don't agree. That's not how I see it. And they are very direct and straightforward. But then if you go to Japan, or Thailand, it's very hard to hear no, or I disagree. In fact, they may say the words may say, we agree, but the reality is totally different. So the way you deal with conflict is also different. I feel tone should always be positive, for sure. But the way we communicate our energy is definitely different. And what do I mean by that? If you're arguing with someone from from Israel, for example, or from friends, you will notice that if you're dealing with conflict, they Their faces look very, very, very serious and almost almost like angry. So if you Come with your super upbeat American tone, trying to deal with conflict that might not come across the way you expect it.
Simon Kennell 35:09
Right? It may come across like, whoa, something's really wrong, you know, and also in the in the intonation in the voice, it's going to be, it's going to be loud, it's going to be in your face almost right? And that's what it's going to feel like, if you're coming from, you know, an American context or Eastern Asian context, it's gonna really feel that way. How do we deal with it? If we are, you know, trying to resolve some type of conflict? In in the East? I mean, if we're looking to more kind of indirect communication, how do we how do we go about dealing with that? I mean, there's, it's pretty difficult, right? If you're coming from a more direct culture,
Paola Pascual 35:54
I agree. So here, in general, when there are cultural differences, I think the best or when you're working with multicultural teams, there are some preventive measures that you can take. And one of them is clearly expressing how you usually communicate and how you like to communicate. So you can tell people hate listen, I'm very direct, I try my best, I don't want to offend anyone, but that's just how I am. If I ever say anything that hurts you, please let me know, we'll try to find that common ground that we're trying to look for. So that that can save a lot of issues. If just by saying that, and then do research. So are you do you have one of your team members is from Japan, then try to, you know, try to read up on how they deal with conflict, how they communicate. In general, as a rule of thumb, I tend to say that you have to find somewhere in the middle. So if you're an American communicating with a Japanese, try to find a little bit of like common ground, and the American would probably have to be a little bit more subtle. And then the Japanese will try to be a little bit more aggressive than what they are.
Simon Kennell 37:04
Right. And I think you raised such a good point around, you know, taking the preventative measures, right. There's nothing wrong with saying, hey, like, you know, I'm from the American background. So you know, I might be a little bit more direct. You know, I don't mean to offend anybody. It's just, you know, cultural differences. But ultimately, we want, you know, to find a solution, I think that it really shows that you're considering cultural differences, not as a negative or better or worse, but just different. And
Paola Pascual 37:40
you're going the other way round, as well. So if you're from a more direct and confrontational culture, communicating, then you may want to tell them, hey, listen, I know I'm very direct. But please don't don't take it personally. That's just how we speak. But then if you're a very indirect person, it also happens that you may be expressing your point and people are not listening to you. It's not that they don't listen to you. But if you say, I think you might want to consider this, or I think you might want to think about this, very common in the UK, the German colleague might say, Great, I thought about it. And I didn't like the idea. So I just moved on with what I was doing. So yeah, learning about how other people communicate being open about it and saying, Hey, listen, I culturally communicate more indirectly. But please understand that when I say you might want to consider x, I actually mean, this is what I would love for you to do.
Simon Kennell 38:37
Yeah, yeah. And as well, I always say, you know, you can get a, you can get a cultural informer, where you can you can ask someone else, you know, if you're having a yeah, you can ask a German colleague, hey, like, how would you suggest I suppose I approach it's like, how would you approach it? Right. And that might help as well, to get some, some assistance in that. But again, it shows a lot if you're coming at it from a place of awareness, right?
Paola Pascual 39:06
Yeah. And then try to adapt. I always find it super funny when I moved from. So when I moved to the US the first time people told me Ooh, you're very fiery. You know, like, who you're very feisty, you're always like, super assertive. And then now that I'm in Spain, many people tell me how you're so diplomatic. I was like, oh, no, what I am anymore, you know, so you really are.
Simon Kennell 39:31
Yeah, yeah. I did sustain for me. I mean, when I come to the to Denmark, like, at least when I, when I first got back here, I was just sitting around the table thinking wow, like, I don't know, but I'm pretty sure he doesn't like me or she doesn't like me. And then you know, now it's much more normal. And then when I talk with my American friends, I kind of sometimes think that I'm a bit rude in their eyes. Very direct. And and yeah, I think it is just kind of there. It's just those differences, which we love. We love those differences.
Paola Pascual 40:10
Oh yeah. I think this is always a great topic to touch on. I liked it. It wasn't that you know, it wasn't that hard this topic?
Simon Kennell 40:20
No. It's still a nice Friday. It's still a Good Friday. But can you kind of give everyone listening quick overview of what we went through?
Paola Pascual 40:29
Yes, absolutely. So some quick tips for for swapping, misunderstanding nipped in the bud try to address it as quickly as possible before it becomes something bigger, and it snowballs and try to find the underlying reasons of like, okay, why is this actually happening? Where does this where is this coming from, then make sure that the timing is right, try to understand the other person and what moment it is for them, and what they're going through, you know, in their day, and try to find the best moment for the success of you know the situation and look at the setting. So try to find a quiet spot and make sure that people won't bother you when, if treated as human as possible, make it look like a real conversation. So those are the three main tips nipped in the bud, choose the right timing and choose the right setting. And then we do have a three step strategy to deal with conflict in English. The first one is active listening, and you explained the rasa technique, receive appreciate, summarize and ask. Number two was making your point making your point first by finding common ground using objective points, like actual examples and numbers and facts, and then be inclusive and positive with can we or less that shows you know that you're willing to collaborate? And yeah, the last bit is use some collaborative phrases like, can we look at some whatevs scenarios or we're both problem solver. So how can we best tackle that situation? And then my favorite one is How can I support you? What's the best way for you know, for us to solve this? And always remember that we're all different different cultures deal with, you know, conflict differently. So do your research and always try to find that that common ground?
Simon Kennell 42:26
Yeah, great, exceptional recap power. Great, well, well. So for everyone listening, definitely, you know, take these points into consideration. And, you know, this is something I think you can always fall back on if you feel like there's a conflict arising or something that you need to address. Take a look at the notes that we have for the podcast and listen, and hopefully it will help resolve some conflict. Hopefully it is positive conflict that will kind of lead towards a positive constructive resolution. Because that's what we all want at the end of the day. All right. Anything else Paulo before we hop off on this wonderful Friday?
Paola Pascual 43:14
No, if people are listening, and they would like to join our free webinars, we keep posting them every month, we're gonna keep doing them together. People tend to appreciate that. And I think it's so much fun. We always have the chat open so many people leave their comments and ask their question. So yeah, well, we'll leave that in the in the description. So yeah, come say hi.
Simon Kennell 43:37
All right, yeah, everybody, come say hi. And as well, you know, keep writing in and let us know what you want to hear about and let us know, if you want a webinar about a certain topic. We'd love to do that. And,
Paola Pascual 43:49
yeah, you mentioned that we'd listen, and we read every single piece of feedback. We seriously do. Sometimes it gets this a lot of like, you know, at night reading time stays, but we do really listen to to you. So let us know.
Simon Kennell 44:05
Yeah, the whole Talaera crew out there listening, you know, we're just growing in numbers, which is really exciting, and hopefully just adding value to everybody's day out there. So we're gonna wrap it up on this awesome Friday. To everyone listening. We hope that these points can be helpful. And as always, keep learning.
Paola Pascual 44:29
And that's all we have for you today. We hope you enjoyed it. And remember to subscribe to Talaera talks. We'll be back soon with more
Simon Kennell 44:37
and visit our website at talaera.com for more valuable content on business English. You can also request a free consultation on the best ways for you and your team to improve your communication skills. So have a great day and keep learning!