How Alternative Dispute Resolution Courses Help Improve Communication Skills - By: Alfred Winston

Communication between the conflicted parties is the core of dispute resolution. Good alternative dispute resolution courses will focus on communication skills as part of the curriculum. Communication is a two way process involving both conveying and understanding. The best courses will cover five key areas of dispute resolution and in the process improve the communication abilities of the participants.

Finding solutions to difficult problems
The first step to finding solutions is to understand the problem. This requires understanding, both in terms of listening and appreciating what is being said and being able to read body language for unspoken but important meanings. Once the opposing points of view have been understood, they have to be explained to all the parties in clear and objective terms so that everyone understands the cause, effects and current status. This requires high levels of communication and being able to do this should be part of the course content.

Dealing With Emotional People
In conflicts people can often be emotional and unreasonable. To overrule them or ignore the obstacles they place in the way of dispute resolution is counterproductive as they will not cooperate with the process. Without cooperation, resolution cannot happen. It is only by listening, appreciating what they have to say, no matter how unreasonable it may be and developing empathy can the difficulties they cause be removed. Additionally, communication skills are needed to get these people to listen and accept what is being said to them.

Resolving Disputes While Maintaining Relationships
The aim of alternative dispute resolution is to settle the conflict without creating a situation where the relationship between the parties is affected. Two co-workers may be in conflict. The resolution of the conflict may leave one unhappy. However, with proper communications and diplomacy, the result will be a situation where they can continue to work together.

Negotiating Difficult Issues
Disputes often involve issues which are very complex or where there is no clear right or wrong. Being able to understand the intricacies of the issues and then explain them to all involved so that everyone understands is crucial.

Mediating Disputes
Playing the role of mediator requires being approachable and flexible yet being firm and taking control of the situation when required. The words the mediator use, how he or she says them and their body language are tools available to the mediator. Without these tools, the mediator cannot create a situation where dispute resolution is possible.

The foundation of dispute resolution is communication. Alternative dispute resolution courses should improve these skills exponentially.

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Author Resource : The Stitt Feld Handy Group offers mediation and arbitration services through ADR Chambers. The Group also provides training in negotiation, Alternative Dispute Resolution( and Conflict Management Training( using the latest adult education techniques.