Being Relational Blog

From Hostage Negotiation to Workplace Negotiation: The Simple Trick to Better Outcomes

You know the feeling; you’re sitting in a meeting, and the concerns that you want to address are simply not being given as much consideration as you feel is appropriate.  You argue with your boss and your co-workers over the issues for a half an hour, before you eventually concede or compromise in the interest of moving along.  You’re not happy about the way things went, but the project pushes forward regardless. Being relational tells us that this can lead to a host of future problems.  At the time, though, it likely just feels good to be out of that meeting.  Future outcomes be damned.

What’s the alternative?  Andy Raskin, a strategic messaging and positioning consultant, tells us a story about a meeting that seemed to be going down that unfortunate path before being drastically re-routed… by a very relational technique.  This technique can revolutionize the way that you lead others and navigate conflict.  Don’t take our word for it- this is a technique actually used by the FBI during hostage negotiations.  That sounds like it’s probably fancy and complicated, but never fear.  As with most relational techniques, it’s deceptively simple.

The secret?  Be Engaged.

During the meeting in question, Raskin was fighting to gain consensus against “a salesperson named Troy (not his real name) [who] would not buy into the strategic narrative framework that [Raskin] had led his CEO and co-founders in crafting over the previous four weeks.  Troy was an important member of the team, and the CEO wanted him excited about the shared vision.”

Raskin was sure he had lost Tory entirely, when the CEO stepped in and took control of the situation. The CEO told Troy that the next day he would be speaking on the phone with someone from the New York Times to tell them about the company.   “’What should I say,’” the CEO asked, “’when she asks, ‘What do you guys do?’”  After Troy answered, the CEO summarized what Troy said “with total openness and lack of judgement or anger, which is impossible unless you truly make yourself open to what the other person has to say.”  After he gave the summary, he allowed Troy to adjust it and repeated the process until Troy finally said “That’s right” and signed off on his version of the story.

The process by which the CEO got Troy to clearly express his vision is one that is crucial to the very first way of being relational: being engaged.

Being engaged is listening attentively, reflecting, and asking open questions.  All three are elegantly simple, but can be hard to do. Here’s how. Listen attentively: suspend what you think, feel, and want to say. Be aware of your own impulses to either: agree with, align with, give advice to, or tell others what to do; or your impulse to disagree with, dismiss, and put them down. These impulses come from your personality, your life experiences, and your own personal reactivity. They may assist you in other times in your life, but they are barriers to listening attentively. Remember relational reciprocity. There is a huge pay-off to having enough discipline to suspend your judgment and assumptions, and even your good advice. When you listen attentively, the other person will experience you in the way they most yearn for you to experience them: fully as a human being. They will be more likely to hear and experience you in the way you most desire.

To this quality of listening, add a reflection. As you listen deeply, you must focus closely on the other person’s words and listen to what they are saying exactly, including their emotional expressions and intonations. When they finish their thought, reflect back both the facts and the feelings they conveyed using their exact words, not yours. Why do this? Because it shows the utmost of respect for the speaker to not get in their way. It communicates that you are with them, by their side, neither behind them nor ahead of them, honoring their story and fostering their empowerment. To reflect another in this way allows that person to edit, to change, to modify, or to retract what they were saying. It is a vehicle for clarity and understanding. When clarity emerges, there is a relief—an opening, a stronger chance for mental understanding and potentially compassion. Your interaction is strengthened. Whether you are strangers or intimately familiar with each other, the quality of your relating to each other is strengthened.

Be sure to stay in the listening attentively mindset and reflect back exactly what they said, without an edge or your bias or interpretation or spin. That can be very difficult if you are used to reframing others’ ideas into your own words. You are not paraphrasing. You are not agreeing, advising, interpreting, or reframing. Allow them to edit and to change what they said. Listen deeply again and offer another reflection. Do this again. When the other person has calmed down a bit, you can then ask an open question: “What else is important?” “What else do you want to tell me?” “What else do you want me to know or understand?” An open question is one that does not seek a particular answer, a question that does not call for a yes or no response. It is not a leading question. It has no content agenda and is not trying to steer the conversation to what you want. Be amazed at what is said, including thank you, even from someone you thought did not like you or was your adversary. The yearning to be understood, and thus connected, is deeply hard-wired, in our cellular structure, and held by all human beings. The best part for you in choosing to be engaged is that because you also want to give of yourself to the other and are committed to the effort to do so, you now have a much better chance that the other person will now be able to listen to you. And if not right at that moment, then set a time for later, and be committed to it, because you are genuinely interested in others. You are curious.

These tools have been used by mediators for decades to improve communication between adversaries, and they are the tools that the CEO used during Raskin’s meeting.  The CEO learned about these negotiation tactics from a book written by Chris Voss, the former lead international kidnapping negotiator for the FBI.  The goal in any negotiation is to find a win-win solution, or as we would say, find an outcome that is good for the self and other.  Voss realized that this is nearly impossible to do without first establishing some sort of emotional connection with the person you are negotiating with.  This is true regardless of whether you are trying to reason with someone who is holding another person hostage or someone who could break a deal.

How do you create that emotional connection?  You engage.  You want what’s best for yourself and for the other, so you make the choice to try to understand the other person- despite the stakes.  It’s a brave choice, and it’s one that pays off in the end.  After Troy felt like he had been really listened to, not only did he agree to the original shared vision, that shared vision was made stronger by something Troy had contributed while the CEO was reflecting back at him.  What was good for Troy was good for the whole company.  That’s what being relational is all about.

How to Have a Healthy Argument with Your Spouse

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again; conflict is everywhere.  And, as we’re sure you know, your relationship with your significant other is not immune to its inevitability.  S Lynn Knight published an article recently on Medium that reflects on some of the important roles that conflict plays in relationships.  There are good and bad ways to deal with conflict when it arises in a committed relationship; let’s look at a few of them.

Let’s say that, looking at an example that Lynn Knight uses, your spouse has “a shockingly extreme reaction when you say, ‘Who at the last bit of mint chocolate chip ice cream?”  You were just looking for dessert and figured you’d see if they were the one who ate the ice cream, but they suddenly start crying, or yelling at you about the dishes, or just shut down entirely.  You’re left standing in front of the freezer wondering “What the heck just happened?”  Depending on how you deal with conflict, you might respond with equal vigor.  You might storm off.  You might backtrack and tell them not to get upset and that you’ll buy more.  You might comfort them until they calm down and then never speak of it again.

At ORANS we’re interested in what responses will help be most helpful for both you and others.  To draw from Lynn Knight again, you want “a relationship that can withstand the turbulent forces of inner growth while the outside winds of grief, illness, employment, unemployment, children and change try to blow your house down.”  Relational skills are the storm proof windows that will help keep the house standing strong when conflict rolls around.  Let’s look harder at how to keep your house strong.

A great place to start when considering how to build your relational skills in order to better prepare yourself to deal with conflicts with a significant other is to get grounded.  Being grounded means being self-aware, especially in regards to how you deal with conflicts.  Lynn Knight writes of her own journey to self-awareness, noting that she used to think that “a good relationship consisted mostly of not being abandoned, so I did whatever was necessary to tamp down the flames of discord and smooth ruffled feathers.”  Understanding her natural reaction to conflict was an important growth edge for Lynn, and that understanding helps her to deal with it when it arises.

Understanding your own tendencies and taking action to moderate them requires a strong desire to examine what is true about yourself with honesty and humility.  Being grounded means being aware of your tendencies when they assert themselves in your thinking, recognizing when they are leading you to behavior that is not relational, learning to relax them when they are in excess, and acting deliberately instead of reacting based on your habits.  So, if you’re conflict avoidant, you notice when you’re shutting down during a conflict and actively choose to remain engaged with the other.  If you’re reactive, you feel yourself beginning to react to something too quickly and you take a deep breath before you do anything.

By becoming aware of her personal tendencies, Lynn Knight was eventually able to “learn and trust that I could argue, even fall down on the floor in a tantrum, say things I didn’t mean (because we all do), and see for myself that it didn’t mean the end of my marriage in a heap of abandonment.”  Your relationship may or may not look like Lynn Knight’s, but being grounded can help you to know how to best work with your partner to overcome obstacles as they arise. Self-awareness will help you to be more relational during conflicts, and will help small issues (like someone eating the last bit of ice cream) stay small.

Another good way to keep small conflicts from escalating is to (in the words of Lynn Knight) “keep […] the relationship ‘fit’ so things do not pile up to the point of no return.  Here’s where the smaller dust ups come in.  They’re like the subtle, nose wrinkling smell in the fridge of some formless thing way in the back that’s turning and you’d better get in there, find it and throw it out.  No shortcutting it with a box of baking soda.”  Checking in with your partner if you feel like something might be wrong naturally reduces the chance that a problem regarding the last bite of ice cream is going to turn into a problem regarding what you said to your significant other’s sister the last time you saw her.

Catching those moments where things seem slightly off, though, requires you to be engaged with your partner.  When you’re with your significant other, you are attentive to them.  This is a learned skill.  You make it a point to pay attention to them.  You ignore your cell phone.  You close your laptop, your tablet or any other device dividing your attention.  Your eyes focus on your partner, noticing their expression, their eyes, mouth, posture, and gestures.  You stop thinking.  You make mental and emotional space for the other to enter your experience.  You don’t analyze, interpret, or prepare to understand your partner.  You listen fully to them.  This makes it much easier to catch the hook in their tone, the wincing facial expression, or the uncharacteristic phrasing that might be a telltale sign that something’s off.  Being engaged is the best way to make sure that conflicts are dealt with as they arise, rather than well off down the road.

Being engaged is also critical in making sure problems aren’t merely covered up with “baking soda.”  Engaging with the other in a relational way will help you to work out problems as they arise in a way that will create lasting positive change.  You know that storms will come; being relational means that you work to become more aware of when there might be dark clouds gathering on the horizon and you have the skills and attitudes of quality dialogue to help you create outcomes that are good for both you and others.

Being Engaged in Real Life: More than Just “Showing Up”

As we begin to increasingly share our experiences on Facebook and filter our lives through Instagram, there is no doubt that Interaction is changing.  Of course, everyone knows that the heart emoji does not substitute for saying the phrase “I love you.”  But what significance does texting the phrase “I love you” have?”  As our interactions become increasingly digital, many people are beginning to look harder at how virtual communication translates In Real Life.  What can we convey digitally?  What can’t we convey digitally?  And how do we consolidate the gaps that arise between the two?

Forbes article written by Susan Tardanico about this very subject uses the heartbreaking example of a college student who, after having a normal, bubbly text message exchange with her mother one afternoon, attempted suicide that evening.  Had the afternoon’s interaction between mother and daughter occurred in person, had the two spoken face-to-face, the truth most likely would have been obvious; the daughter had “been holed up in her dorm room, crying and showing signs of depression – a completely different reality from the one that she conveyed in texts, Facebook posts, and tweets.”  None of that was conveyed via text.

This is an extreme example, but it reminds us of the dangerous side effects of digital communication.  When we can’t connect to each other in person, we miss out on a lot of important signals that could save a friendship, a relationship, or even (as in the above case) a life.

But there is a lot more than just physical presence that goes into the type of quality interaction that clues you into some of the important information we miss when interaction is digital.  If you aren’t making the effort to be fully engaged with the person you’re talking to, you might as well be firing emails back and forth, or messaging over Facebook.  Right?

Maybe?  Maybe not?  Let’s look harder at what makes up a quality interaction as our interaction becomes increasingly digital.

Tardanico’s article notes that “studies show that only 7% of communication is based on the written or verbal word.  A whopping 93% is based on non-verbal body language.  Indeed, it’s only when we look into someone’s eyes that we’re able to know when ‘I’m fine’ doesn’t mean they’re fine at all… or when ‘I’m in’ doesn’t mean they’re bought in at all.”  But what if you’re looking into someone’s eyes and thinking about what you’re going to eat for lunch, or trying to remember if the new episode of your favorite show is uploading to Hulu that night, or daydreaming about your upcoming beach vacation?

In that case, wouldn’t you still miss that shimmer of uncertainty in the other person’s eyes that says “I’m not okay with what’s going on right now?”  It was there, and you were there to see it, but you weren’t committed to looking.  The point at which you could have caught the discomfort, improved your relationship with the other person, and transformed the interaction has been lost as your attention wavers and the other realizes that you aren’t listening.  Not really.

It’s the same issue with social media.  If you’re not really invested in being engaged with the other while you’re with them in person, you could still be missing up to 93% of the information being communicated.  Of course, if you’re not engaged in person, you’re still probably going to pick up on more than you would over social media.  Being Relational, however, you seek to pick up on 100% of the information being communicated.  That means that on top of just showing up physically, you have to be committed to being engaged with the other person in a way that goes beyond reflexively nodding as the other person talks.  You have to really be present.

You have had the experience of talking to another and you just know they do not hear a word you are saying. They are not present and their non-presence triggers a habitual conflict response in you. Being present means that you are physically, mentally, emotionally, right there with the other person. You know when someone is present with you and reciprocally they know when you are present with them. It takes effort. Your effort is an act of generosity on your part, giving of yourself. Being relational means you do it anyway, even if there is apparently no gain to be had for yourself in doing it, nor any discernable reciprocity from the other in that moment. Being relational means you do it anyway because you believe in the benefits it will provide to yourself and to the other person.

There are two types of presence: physical and mental.  Assuming that you are physically present (i.e in the same physical space as the other person), catching all of the information being given to you requires you to be also mentally present. This may be much harder. Being present mentally requires concentration. You are awake. You are alert and open to what unfolds, open to reality as it really is. You know your body and your mind and you know what you need in order to be awake. If your brain is fuzzy and you are sleepwalking through your day, you can’t be engaged. This doesn’t mean that you are manic, always on, wired, or hyperactive. You are awake and alert when you are with others–in a way that lets them know that you are with them, that you are present.

Part of being present mentally and emotionally, in the sense of being there for others, is being attentive. When you are with others in a situation where you are expected to be mentally present, you make it a point to give your attention to them. Often it’s easy to show up and then mentally check out and be somewhere else entirely. If you are nodding and saying “Uh-huh” reflexively, habitually, without awareness of what you are nodding and saying “Uh-huh” to, then you aren’t attentive. Or if you say “Uh-huh” dismissively because you are in tunnel vision for getting what you want and the other person is just getting in your way, you aren’t attentive to the other. Either way, you sow the seeds of conflict with others with your lack of attention.

If you are automatically saying “No” or reflexively thinking “That’s ridiculous. Stupid. Here we go again,” you also are not attentive and you are sowing the seeds of conflict with others with your lack of attention. When people feel dismissed, they will push back stronger, or go elsewhere to be against you. Keeping this in mind is good motivation for you to give others your attention in the moment of interaction. But giving others your full attention is never easy. It can drift away in a daydream or be lost in an instant as you react to a distracting stimulus. Focusing your attention is in many ways the fundamental skill of being relational. It takes mental discipline; it takes effort.

So… when engaged with others, you ignore your cell phone. You close your laptop, your tablet or any other device dividing your attention. Your eyes focus on others, noticing their expression, their eyes, mouth, posture, and gestures. You stop thinking. You make mental and emotional space for the other to enter your experience. You don’t analyze, interpret, or prepare to respond. With your full attention given, you can listen to others.

When you’re engaged, you pick up on the full 100% of information that the other is trying to communicate with you.  Why settle for less?

I CAN Believe You Just Said That! Being Grounded and Clear with Contraversial Opinions

You’re scrolling through Facebook one day, when in between posts of cat photos and posts about your Facebook friends days you see something that makes you furious.  Someone has updated their status in order to say that they think your favorite band sounds exactly like another band.  One that you think is way worse than your favorite band.  This is obviously wrong.  You tell them why they are wrong in a comment, and this turns into a long fight with the other person about whether or not the two bands sound similar, or are any good in the first place.  Both of you are so steadfast in your opinions that nothing comes out of this argument and you defriend them.  You will not have your viewpoint challenged by this person again.


As Sean Blanda discusses in a recent Medium article, titled The Other Side is Not Dumb, social media makes it easier to surround ourselves with those whose opinions mirror ours and to ignore and shun those who are on the other side.  We label the other side as stupid, we label our side as enlightened. And we restrict our networks accordingly.


But all of this restriction can be harmful in the long run. How can you improve your interactions when dealing with someone who holds an opinion that you disagree with in order to have a conversation with that person that is productive for both of you? Let’s look harder at being grounded and clear in order to find out.


Blanda writes about a game he plays with his close friends called Controversial Opinion.  The rules are simple, he writes, don’t talk about what was shared during Controversial Opinion afterward and you aren’t allowed to argue, “only to ask questions about why that person feels that way.” This game stands opposite to our tendency to give into personal reactivity when confronted with a controversial opinion. If we are giving into our personal reactivity, we might respond with shock, rage, or anger.  Blanda typifies this response as someone saying Oh my gosh! I had no idea you were one of those people! The label one of those people puts up a barrier between you and them, and you anchor yourself in the rightness of your opinion and block yourself from considering the rightness of theirs.


At this point you might be thinking: What does it matter if I put up a wall between myself and those who hold opinions that I dislike?  If anything, I’m doing them a favor by putting enough distance between us that I don’t go off on them for having the opinion that they do. And you may be right.  It may not matter whether you interact with someone, for instance, who holds a negative opinion of your favorite band.  But Blanda points out something important about restricting our views in this way: “Online,” he writes, “[this] means we can be blindsided by the opinions of our friends or, more broadly, America. Over time, this morphs into a subconscious belief that we and our friend are the sane ones and that there’s a crazy “other side” that must be laughed at – “an Other Side that just doesn’t “get it,” and is clearly not as intelligent as us. But this holier-than-thou social media behavior is counterproductive, it’s self-aggrandizement at the cost of actual nuanced discourse and if we want to consider online discourse productive, we need to move past this.”


A great way to start “moving past this” is by being grounded.  Blanda suggests that we should all enter every issue with the very real possibility that we might be wrong this time. Being grounded means you acknowledge for yourself and for others that you might not know what is, in fact, true or best.  If you state a viewpoint, it can be strong, yet still open to inquiry. If you make a statement and the response is “That’s not true!” you pause and you are rigorous about truth. That means that you acknowledge that what you think could lead you to conclusions that might not in fact be true. You are open to the possibility that your analysis may be flawed, based on too little information, or unduly influenced by past experiences, by others’ influence, or by cultural biases. So, instead of jumping to conclusions, instead of making a “blink” judgment, instead of assuming you know something, you choose to suspend judgment for a period of time.


You embrace the idea that there are other possibilities and that the version of the truth that seems most likely to you may be true, but maybe not. This leads you to interact with others in a different way. You are engaged. You remain curious. You seek information. You use your creativity and imagination to help you consider different versions of truth that might be possible. When you do this with others it is an act of generosity on your part, but it will also pay great dividends back to you because you will avoid a great deal of suffering and conflict that is fueled by your flawed judgments.


When you suspend your judgement for long enough to use the “maybe, maybe not” principle, you engage differently with whatever you are challenged by.  You look harder.  Blanda lists a few examples: “Think political correctness has gotten out of control?  Follow the many great social activists on Twitter.  Think America’s stance on guns is puzzling?  Read the stories of the 31% of Americans that own a firearm.  This is not to say the Other Side is ‘right’ but they likely have a reason to feel that way.  And only after understanding those reasons can a real discussion take place.”


If you’re looking to have a quality interaction with someone, it is not enough to disregard their opinion. It requires engaging actively with their ideas, understanding where they come from, and ultimately understanding that your own thoughts are not empirically the correct ones.  Once you accept and understand the other’s points of view on those important subjects, you can start to move on to working together to solve the issues that seem to divide us.  That could be as simple as resolving an argument about music preferences, or something as complicated as climate change.  In both cases, though, getting grounded is an important place to start.



Dealing with a “Toxic Relationship”: How to Change the Interaction

Have you ever dealt with someone who you have labelled as “toxic?”  Chances are, it’s unlikely that you saw yourself as the source of the toxicity in that relationship. Maybe the other person was draining your energy. Maybe they weren’t putting the same amount of work into the relationship as you are.  Whatever it may have been, you likely focused on the other person’s actions when you labelled your relationship as toxic. You lost sight of the fact that the relationship is reciprocal. You focused on the way that it affected you. You focused on the harm that you felt. You don’t consider the other. We call that self absorption, and it is almost always present in conflict.


These are symptoms of being off center. When you feel hurt or angry, you have the tendency to go on autopilot. When that happens, your vision narrows.  You sacrifice your rational thinking to your personal reactivity. The other person quickly becomes vindictive and toxic. As Heidi Priebe notes in her Thought Catalog article on the subject, we like to perceive toxic people to be monsters- trying to tear us down and make our lives wretched at all costs. These labels classify the toxic people that surround you as worthy subjects of your anger and resentment. You may even use these labels as justification for cutting someone out of your life entirely. They did this to me, so they don’t deserve to be in my life, you may think. And you may be right. But, then again, maybe not.


Being Relational, you might look at things differently. How can you change the interaction between yourself and someone that you perceive as toxic?


Dealing with people who you perceive to be toxic will likely require you to use all seven ways of being relational, but we would like to focus on the impact that being grounded can have on your perceptions of situation.


This starts with taking a step back and recognizing that your tunnel vision is a result of being self absorbed. Is the other person purposefully trying to ruin your life? Maybe, but maybe not. Priebe’s article serves as a reminder that in all likelihood you’ve been the toxic one yourself in the past. Maybe you didn’t even notice the impact you were having. So it doesn’t add up: how could you not notice that you were hurting someone, if you believe the toxic people in your life are intentionally ruining yours?


It is because you are not grounded that you do not realize that the other person might not be trying to be actively malicious. Priebe gives the example of over-involved parents who may not be forcing us into activities we hate because they obviously want us to be humiliated,but because they’re misinformed about what might challenge us.  The list goes on.  Priebe writes that very few people approach life with deliberately ill intent. Very few people make it a goal to make their loved ones miserable. Very few people deliberately set out to wreak havoc within their personal relationships and yet so many of us do anyway. Why is that?


It’s a problem with your thinking not being grounded. You see how others affect you, but not how you affect others. There is no way for your parents to know what actually challenges you unless you make the conscious choice to tell them why their current behavior is problematic.  But when you allow your personal reactivity to take over, you obstruct your own view of the situation at hand.  You make engaging with the other seem unrealistic and out of the question. There’s no way the other person would sit down with me, let alone listen to me, you might think. Even they were to listen to me, they would only end up working against me and try to undermine me even further.


That thinking is called conflict self-talk. But think about how you would interact with someone, a close friend for example, who came to you and said that you were hurting them in a way you didn’t even realize. Would you refuse to listen to them? Convince them they were wrong? Or would you be relational with them, engage fully in the conversation, and be open? Would you choose to explain that you didn’t understand the pain you were causing? Would you ask how you could make sure you aren’t hurting the other in the future? Would you try to find a solution to the problem? These are options worth considering.


When dealing with someone that you perceive to be toxic it can be very easy to assume the worst of the other. Everyone has the potential to be toxic, and interaction that values the self over other is often at the root of the problem. If we stop to think about how our perception of a situation may differ from other’s perceptions of that same situation, we realize they aren’t necessarily out to get us. There’s the chance that they are just processing the situation differently. We use relational skills to try to understand that difference. We look harder and focus on the other just as we do ourselves. Maybe it’s not the other person that’s toxic, but our perceptions of the other that are. By changing our thinking and staying grounded, we can change the interaction and radically change the path of a relationship.

Know Thyself


What’s your type?


Over the years in mediation practice, what has emerged as essential is to know thyself. I have found this to be even more critical than the need to think I have to know how others think. I have to be open to whatever and all ways my clients think and behave. After all, they are coming for assistance with matters of great importance to them and they want to negotiate with each other in ways that matter to both. For all of this, I rely on the Enneagram.


The Enneagram is a personality test that is growing in popularity and for a good reason. It offers deep insights into your personality that are inaccessible through other tests, like the highly popular Meyers test. It is a tool for self-discovery and reflection that will help you to better understand your own motivations and the way that you are affected by conflict, including your own and others.


The Enneagram is a great tool for those wishing to become better negotiators, salespeople, or just better problem solvers. It is offered to those who wish to master themselves, rather than others, during negotiations and conflict. The test is a scientifically validated instrument premised on self-observation that can be used by anyone to assess themselves during or after a time in which they are caught in “the clench” of conflict. This could be an experience unfolding difficult interactions, dealing with difficult people or interactions, or interfacing with others who so not see the everyday world in the same way. The Enneagram’s nine distinct worldviews paint a clear picture of how people are motivated and thus how they think, feel, and behave. It also holds keys for deeper understanding of oneself as well as others.


The Enneagram’s unique focus on motivation is what sets it apart from other personality tests. It is grounded in the transformative theory of conflict, which is part of a larger, relational worldview that is both ancient and reemerging in modern society. According to the transformative framework, humans are inherently socially connected beings and are motivated primarily by a moral impulse to act with both strength and compassion. The experience of conflict, therefore, stems from a crisis in human interaction. That means that the secret to easing conflict is to ease the human interaction. This is much more than playing nice or being deceitful. Rather it calls upon human beings to interact in ways that are both authentic and that create well-being. Thus an effective negotiation, interaction, or intervention is one focused on restoring the quality of the human interaction. It is then that one can have success advocating, convincing, or influencing.


A deeper understanding of relational conflict theory and associated conflict transformation potential, coupled with a deeper understanding of one’s own Enneagram Type personality gifts and particularized form of personal reactivity will enrich each participant’s choices for more effective and authentic negotiation and constructive responses to others.


A training in the Enneagram will help you to identify your type and learn about how it influences the way that you experience the world. Through the Enneagram, you can find a way to better relate to others uninhibited by your own personal reactivity. In doing so, you will radically improve your day to day life.


Join us on June 21st for a half day introduction to the Enneagram. For more information on that class, click here.