Improve Your Conflict Resolution Skills With Better Communication

Updated: Sep 3, 2021

Despite your best intentions, every relationship will hit a boiling point. It’s unfortunate but inevitable. However, a disagreement with your partner, a family member or a coworker doesn’t have to escalate into a larger problem if you take immediate action to defuse the situation.

Here are 4 ways to improve your conflict resolution skills with better communication in your relationships.

Prioritize In-person Communication

We’re all busy, and when you’re frustrated at someone it can be tempting to fire off a flurry of angry text messages.

Resist that urge! Texting instead of talking creates unnecessary opportunities for misunderstanding. When body language, tone, and inflection are absent, there’s a lot of potential for your intentions to be misconstrued.

Virgin shared that 95% of people believe that face-to-face meetings are essential for successful long-term business relationships. That importance extends to your interpersonal communication as well. Focus on open body language during disagreements. Crossing your arms indicates that you’re closed off and trying to protect yourself, while hands-on your hips and frequent gesturing indicate aggression.

Keep your stance neutral and shoulders up. Focus on eye contact, but make sure it’s not overly aggressive. Try to keep your facial expressions neutral, but react to the conversation as needed. In-person communication is crucial to resolving conflict. At TTI SI, coaching over text or email is banned-- feedback is received in person, face-to-face. This way, our leaders ensure that communication is effective, kind, and helpful. No one has to guess at tone or meaning, which eliminates a lot of miscommunication.

Try this practice with your other relationships! The results might surprise you.

Practice Active Listening

So you’re talking face-to-face. What’s your next step? You need to develop active listening skills to best handle conflict.

We’ve shared before that “effective communication leans heavily on listening skills, which reinforces two-way understanding between two or more people.”

But how exactly do you actively listen? If you remember these 3 steps, you’re on the right track.


Maintain open body language as we discussed above, and focus on steady, but non-aggressive, eye contact.


Make sure you are paying attention to the words used by you and your conversation partner. You need to pay attention to the tone of voice and the body language of your conversation partner. You’re likely to feel stressed if the conversation is getting heated. Their voice might be raised or they might be using a clipped tone. Note these things, but don’t get distracted by them. Nonverbal communication is still telling you something— pay attention and adapt.

Don’t plan what you’re going to say while the other person is speaking. Take time to truly listen, rather than plan your rebuttal.


Active listening involves asking questions to clarify or confirm as needed. You need to ensure the person you’re talking to feels heard.

The best way to do this is to reframe one of their points as a question. Don’t do this frequently, as it can come across as a “gotcha!” moment. However, by clarifying confusion as it comes up, you can avoid future conflict.