Notes from CommaCon’s Conflict Intervention Workshop

I’m referring to this conflict intervention workshop by CommaCon.

Bullyfree: A general resource for bullying

An interesting start to the workshop:
Facilitator listed down values that the participants (us) think is important, then asked us, “what would [that value, eg respect] mean to you particularly?”

In conflict intervention, listen. Listen to what the other party needs. He cited a TedTalk by Ernesto Sirolli (Want to Help Someone? Shut Up and Listen!) as an example.

How do we build trust? Confidentiality. The stories stay in the room.

Interesting stuff that came up:
Should we not stay silent? Because sharing is a way to trust other people

Or, should we stay silent? Gives people space for their stories.

“What else would you like people to do with the things you share, apart from listening to it?”
e.g. reciprocating the sharing

or saying things like “Thanks for sharing that, it must have been pretty hard to do that.” Before you start sharing your own point. [but make it sincere. Don’t say it if you not feeling it]

Set up full value commitment: write down values that the focus group wants (ask the group what values they want) + amount of confidentiality (share everything, share with changing names, don’t share out at all), then make everyone sign it.

I found this pretty interesting; this was the first time I experienced this kind of set up for a focus group!

We watched a video, then we wrote down what we felt:
Confused. What happened at first?

Conflict vs disagreement:
Conflict is a threat to your person. A threat. Conflict affects the relationship between the ppl. If you win or lose, something will change. Disagreement is less personal; just an idea.

What do you want to do in the intervention? When you intervene, what do you aim to do? Possible goals:

*resolve own discomfort about what’s happening first?
*make the bad guy know that he’s wrong + give help
*make sure that person isn’t hurt.

How to stop conflict:

Acronym: ISIS. We laughed about its relation to that terrorist group.

I – internal work. What’s your risk tolerance? Risk appetite? Will you step in (does the guy have a knife, how big is the guy?) and what will you do? Are you aware of the issue that’s causing the conflict? Martial arts skills, CPR, first aid (physical, mental) etc.

S – scan. RAMS risk assessment: what are the risks in the surroundings? Something that is very probable but risk is less? Probability & impact: high probability, high impact? Low impact, high probability? Etc. PEEP – anything you can do? Press the button on the MRT? What’s the story behind the conflict? What caused this conflict? Can you tell me what’s going on?

I – Intent. Your mission and what you prioritise. Who do you want to save? Is it the most vulnerable one, or is it the one that you can help the most? E.g. mission is to delay until police come.

S – support. Not just police etc. Always more effective if you have support: ask your friends to come with you and help you. Say, “Will you help me break this up? Will you help me work this out?” Try not to go in solo.

Once the immediate danger is over, you can try engaging and talking. Tell me more. Why did you do this? Wow, that must have been tough.

Q: Should we approach the bully or the bullied?

A: Create relationships. With both bullies and the bullied. That’s even more impt than coming into the conflict itself. How are you? How are you feeling? Do you want to have a drink together? Stop the cycle of violence; just create a connection. That could help for the long-term intervention, too.

4T framework:

Transfer – high risk, low probability. E.g. there’s a knife. Perhaps call the police if needed.

Terminate – high risk, high probability. Escape!

Treat – risk low, probability high. Show that you are prepared to step in.

Tolerate – risk low, probability low. Engage in conversation, or let it go etc.

Domestic violence stuff: do you call people in? Maybe. Sometimes they don’t appreciate people coming in. “It’s my business, don’t come and be busybody!”

Build relationships too – use conflict constructively to change things.

Non-violent communication: how to speak gently. Let’s not try to change people or teach people stuff. Find out what people’s needs are. Basically, the main thing. Find out needs first instead of thinking about how those needs should be met.

We don’t want to just fix conflict but use it to build relationships. One method is non violent communication. What are the needs that should be met?

Structure: I observe, I feel, I need, I request.

Observe: no judgement. Just say what’s going on. E.g. say “I see that you come at 830am every day.” Instead of saying that you’re late all the time, just say the facts. Or, I notice that you’re a bit upset/pacing around.

Feel: what do I feel when you do X. Don’t have judgement, just say how you feel. Don’t say that you feel betrayed (because there’s a bit of blaming), but feel upset, angry etc.

Need: because I have a need for my family to be respected, I felt angry after what you said. E.g. connection, honesty, peace, supported, inspired.

Request: Would you be willing to… would you like… eg. would you be willing to work out with me about punctuality? Would you like to meet up next week to talk about this further? Would you be willing to dress up more next week etc.

If they say no, then say “what might work instead?”

Also, turn it around – what are you (the person you’re speaking to) seeing, feeling, needing, requesting? What would you like me to do?

Am I right to say that everytime I say X, you feel ___? Am I right to say that you have a need for ___?

Correct me if I’m wrong, but ___.

Q: Should I say ‘calm down’?
A: Body language more important. Open body language, ask people what’s going on etc.

Q: Should I touch ppl?
A: Depends. Maybe? Might help calm down if it’s a gentle touch.

To be less angry and calm down, can try the 6 seconds rule: think of 6 things that make you happy, 6 song titles, 6 math formulas for example.


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