Would it be wonderful if there was no conflict? But guess what? There will always be conflict. Yet, here's the thing we often forget, talking helps. Talking creates an opportunity to find common ground on which to build trust and overcome differences. But to do this well, you need to manage difficult conversation. This lesson is about having difficult conversations and how to communicate effectively to overcome conflict and objections. But first, why do conflicts occur in a workplace? Here are two reasons. Number 1, the desire for power and recognition. This is natural, but for some people, this desire translates to a constant need to place themselves above others instead of working with others. Number 2, insecurity. We all have insecurities. But for some, their insecurities trigger dysfunctional behavior which creates problems for others, like calling for unnecessary meetings or constantly seeking approval. So what can you do? You master the art of resolving differences despite of human foibles. Hugh Mackay, an Australian psychologists gave us a great metaphor of one human foible, not being able to listen to us. He says we all live in a cage trapped in our own view of the world. As a result, we only see the world through our own lens or in Mackay's metaphor, to the bars of the cage we are trapped in. In our own cage, we distort information in ways they make us feel comfortable and secure. If challenged, we will even adopt a more extreme view. So here's the challenge. How do you get another person to see your point of view without making things worse? This is where the concepts of empathy and latitude of acceptance are useful. Remember Carl Rogers, the famous psychotherapists? He argues that to be a good therapies, empathy is important. It works the same way as when you are having a difficult conversation with another person. You can empathize by first understanding their worldview. You can show your empathy by saying, "I can see where you're coming from" or "Understand why you feeling this way" or "I can feel how much you've devoted to this", and so on. Then you offer an alternative view. Here the objective is to create mutual understanding. To provide an alternative view, you can say for instance, "There's not a way of looking at this issue" or "What about looking at the problem this way." The key is to create a climate of sympathetic understanding so that you can break the other party of their cage. The objective is to show that other points of view exists. If this is done without ill will, then both parties will recognize the freedom to choose which views to accept or otherwise. The next step is to develop mutual trust. When you trust the other party, it means you're willing to be vulnerable and yet have a positive expectation that the other party would deliver as promised. Therefore, to build trust communicate positive expectations and an absence of ill will, even if there's disagreement. If the conversation becomes tense, then remember to mentally separate the person from the issue because the focus should be on solving the problem. Once you signify there is a willingness to trust, then it's a matter of working out the details for finding a win-win situation. The key is to show that both parties can mutually benefit from solving the problem. So you start by looking for common ground or latitude of acceptance. According to Sherif and Hovland, who developed the social judgment theory, on any topic we care to discuss, be it climate change, abortion, or social welfare, we tend to hold a range of views. So when someone makes a statement on a topic like abortion for instance, we may find that particular statement objectionable, or we may find it acceptable, or we are indifferent. The more important the topic, the more likely we are to care about what others say about it. Likewise, the other person may feel the same way when we ourselves make a statement that they care about. So this is where being a skillful communicator becomes important. On any topic or conflict, both parties need to find a mutual zone of acceptance to minimize differences. It also means avoiding making statements that fall into zones of rejection because if either party pushes too far, a boomerang effect could occur. This means either party of both now adopting an even more extreme position than before. Now let's change gears slightly. In marketing, difficult conversation often revolves around price. There is a mistaken but common believe that people are not willing to pay and everything has to be cheap. This is not true. The world of luxury goods for instance shows that people are more than willing to pay a premium for the goods they want. So it's not priced per se that is the problem, but a perceived lack of value. People are willing to pay if they can see sufficient benefits for the price they pay, which you can see illustrated in this simple equation. So during a sales presentation, when price is the obstacle, the presenter needs to show the buyer benefits they never considered or show how important they are to them. Here are some tips. One, show the existence of benefits that a buyer has never considered before. Or two, show how in the long-term the benefits is worth the current price paid. Or three, show the current price is in fact a better value than the competitor's price, but only if this is true. The details or a presentation would differ across situations. But the general principle discussed in this lesson holds. The buyer will always come to a sales presentation with a certain worldview and it's up to the seller to offer an alternative one. Hopefully, one that is mutually beneficial, and you do this by being empathetic, developing trust, and finding a common area of interests that would deliver mutual benefits. A number of cycles may be needed before some agreement is reached.