Brookings Institution

From Conflict to Collaborative Conversations

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About the course

The purpose of this class is to help people develop techniques for managing conflict through productive conversations. All too often people face difficult challenges they need to resolve, but don’t understand how to engage in appropriate conversation to do so. Instead many actions or non-actions amplify the conflict.

This program will discuss and offer practice on how to engage in conversations to resolve conflict. The course relies on developing a critical thinking approach to conflict by first comprehensively formulating and then gaining agreement on the issues that underlie the conflict. Then, the program explores methods for collectively resolving the conflict to both party’s mutual satisfaction. Even in those cases where resolving conflict in a way that satisfies both parties desires, it nonetheless offers a process that can limit residual conflict.

Program Benefits

  • Exploration of why conversations are so difficult and why people have a challenging time addressing/resolving the conflict.
  • New framework for how to structure and engage in conversations to resolve conflict (i.e., identifying the steps of conversational elements)
  • Impediments that can undermine conversations and how they can be avoided
  • Simulations and practice conversations (simulations will be assessed/evaluated according to a rubric provided in class)
  • Reflect on method and conversation/identify individual strengths and areas for improvement

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