Makarios Consulting Blog

Ventilation: Do You Hear What I’m Saying? (Part 1/4)

FACT: You will never agree with everybody about everything.

But, we can learn how to handle workplace conflict effectively. In our last blog series, we learned to diffuse conflict in three ways:

1) Slow down and make rational decisions

2) Separate needs from wants

3) Choose the right method to handle the conflict at hand

It’s one thing to understand how to diffuse conflict, it’s quite another to do it.   Most of us need guidance on the specifics. Enter the VOMP (Ventilation, Ownership, Moccasins, Plan) model, created by Crosby Kerr Minno Consulting. It’s a proven conflict-resolution method that helps us react calmly and professionally in the midst of emotional conflict situations.

This week, we’ll focus on part one of the VOMP model – “Ventilation.” Simply put, when we’re seeking to resolve a conflict, it’s essential that each party hear the other person’s side of the story. Remember, you don’t have to agree with each other, just understand each other.

During the “Ventilation” process, keep your cool. No yelling, shouting, or screaming. Those are ‘ventilation’ deal breakers! Here’s a handy list of guidelines to make sure you’re getting the most out of the process:

  • Communicate in a professional, calm manner: No matter how you feel, limit the actual emotion in your voice and presentation. No matter what.
  • Be candid about your experience: Be brutally honest about how the conflict is affecting you.
  • Expect to hear a different version from your own: That’s the reason you have a conflict. You and the other party see things differently.
  • Maintain a dignified and respectful environment: Insults or uncontrolled intensity can block progress. Refrain from name-calling and finger pointing. If the other person can’t do this, take a break and reconvene later to calmly weather the storm.
  • Paraphrase the other person’s thoughts and feelings: Again, you’re not necessarily agreeing, but you’re simply letting the other person know that you understand his or her point of view. Make sure you encourage your colleague to paraphrase your thoughts and feelings so you can feel heard.