Words matter — useful phrases for deescalating conflict

When it comes to disagreements, what we say and how we say it make a significant difference in the outcome of the conversation.

It’s important for us to choose our words carefully, but often that’s a challenge when we’re caught up in the emotion of the moment.

Here are a few helpful phrases and questions to know so you can practice using them the next time there’s a conflict.

  • Can you clarify what you meant when you said [____]?
  • What I hear you saying is [____]. Is that accurate?
  • I’d like to better understand your perspective. How did [____] make you feel?
  • Thanks for sharing — I know it might not be easy to talk about [____].
  • When you did/said [____], I felt [____].
  • What’s most frustrating to you about [____]? Why is that?
  • What does your preferred outcome look like?
  • Perhaps we could work together to resolve this by [____].
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