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Resolving Conflict – Tips and Techniques

“Choice of Words” matter – Be sensitive to it

1. Avoid “Always or Never”
When confronting someone, refrain from using the words always or never. When you say to someone: “You always…” or “You never…,” the other person is going to focus more on that one word than on the point you’re trying to make and is likely to become instantly defensive. Rarely is anything always or never.

2. Avoid “You”
The number one rule when resolving conflict is never to open a conversation with the word you. Doing so may result in anger, yelling, hurling accusations back and forth, or someone stomping off. The you word is going to immediately put the other person on the defensive.

3. Focus on the “I”
When you’re having an issue with another person and decide to discuss it with him or her, it’s difficult to have a productive conversation when you lead off with an accusatory statement or one that sounds as though you’re blaming the person for the problem. When you confront someone who’s done something that bugs you, keep the focus on “I” rather than on “you.” Think about how the person’s behavior made you feel. Open the conversation with an “I” statement describing how the event affected you, and you’ll come across in a more constructive manner. After all: “I’m” the one with the problem. “You” may not even know that what you’re doing that bugs me.

4. “I” Phrase
You don’t want your opening statement to sound like an attack the other person’s character, so always begin with an “I” phrase:
“I was hurt when you said I make too many mistakes.”
“I became upset when you took credit for my work.”
“I felt betrayed when I heard that you talked behind my back.”
“I became confused and lost focus when you interrupted me during my sales presentation.”
“I was surprised when you jumped in before I had time to finish.”
“I get frustrated every time you talk so loudly that I can’t hear my customers.”

If you don’t know how to launch into your conversation, try prefacing your “I” phrase by saying something like: “I have something I need to talk to you about” or “I have something I need to get off my chest” or “Something happened that’s been bothering me.”

“I have something I want to talk to you about. Yesterday during our meeting, I became upset when I was in the middle of my presentation and you disagreed with what I was saying. That really threw me off track for the rest of my presentation.”

5. Phrase of Understanding
Opening your conversation with “I” phrases keeps the focus on how the other person’s actions made you feel. After listening to that person’s response, it’s important to let the person know you understand that he or she may view the situation differently. By doing this, you demonstrate that you’re willing to listen to the other perspective before drawing your conclusion or assigning blame.

Offering a phrase of understanding allows you to step into the other person’s shoes for a moment. Let’s say that a coworker has been short tempered with you. It’s been bugging you because you can’t think of anything you did to cause the person to treat you this way, so you offered an “I” phrase and your coworker said he was sorry. Then you offered a phrase of understanding such as: “I realize you didn’t do that on purpose, but it made me wonder if I said or did something that bothered you.” Saying this encourages your coworker to give you more information: “No, it’s not you. My mother had a pretty serious operation and since she was released from the hospital I’ve been staying with her. I’m beyond exhausted and running on empty.” You have an aha moment. In this scenario, offering a phrase of understanding and walking in your coworker’s shoes put everything in perspective.

Example : “Look, I realize that you wouldn’t do that on purpose to upset me.” The ball is in the other person’s court now. She responded: “Of course I didn’t do it to upset you. I didn’t know if I’d have the opportunity to voice my opinion if I didn’t speak up right away.” They now have a constructive dialogue going.

6. Phrases of Apology
Saying I’m sorry doesn’t necessarily mean saying you’re wrong. Saying I’m sorry means you’re the one who’s taking responsibility for resolving the conflict and mending the relationship. You might offer an apology to explain your state of mind, how you feel about what happened, or why you felt the need to bring up the issue.

Offering a phrase of apology can go a long way in opening the lines of communication and productively moving the dialogue along. A sincere apology holds a great deal of power. It can diffuse anger, lessen pride, and soothe hurt feelings. You won’t always need to incorporate a phrase of apology into your conflict resolution conversation, but if you feel it’ll help move the dialogue along, why not? Whenever you’re at a stalemate in your discussion and the other person isn’t willing to budge or look at the situation from your perspective, offering an apology can often change a person’s disposition.

Offer a phrase of apology whenever you feel it will encourage empathy between the other person and you.
“I’m sorry if I seem overly sensitive.”
“I’m sorry if I misunderstood your intent.”
“I’m sorry that we need to have this conversation.”
“I apologize if I misunderstood what happened.”
“I regret that I have to bring this up.”
“Please forgive me for feeling this way.”

7. Phrases of Compromise

Compromise is the optimum way to resolve conflict. People are usually able to reach a compromise when they remain flexible, ask questions to gain a better understanding of the situation, listen with an open mind, look at the circumstance from the other person’s perspective, and try to find middle ground. When people who are in a conflict discussion are able to compromise, the chances of agreeing on a solution greatly increase.
Communicating phrases of compromise means that you want to negotiate fairly and find the best solution and that you’re willing to remain open as you work toward an agreement. Phrases of compromise demonstrate that you want to cooperate, listen, and find middle ground. When you’re willing to cooperate, others will be more apt to cooperate with you. When you’re open to listening, others will be more apt to listen to you. And when you’re trying to find middle ground, others will be more apt to meet you halfway. When those things occur, you’re on your way to negotiating a suitable conclusion.

When you open your conversation with an “I” phrase and offer a phrase of understanding and your colleague doesn’t take responsibility, you’ll want to add a phrase of compromise to continue the dialogue.
“Let’s talk about this. I need to know why it happened and how we can keep it from happening again.”
“Can we talk about what happened?”
“I feel that we need to talk this out so it doesn’t happen again.”
“Let’s go somewhere in private and try to resolve this.”
“Let’s talk this over and find a suitable compromise.”
“I’d like to hear how you saw the situation so that I better understand.”
During your discussion to resolve the problem, it’s important to remain flexible so you’ll want to incorporate additional phrases of compromise.
“Here’s how you see the issue: ________. And here’s how I see it: ________. Let’s see where we can come together on this.”
“Since we don’t agree why this happened, let’s lay out the facts and come up with a solution we both can live with.”
“Why don’t we each state our viewpoints? Then we’ll see if we can find common ground.”
“We need to resolve this somehow. The only way to do that is for each of us to be flexible and try to come together.”

Timing is important when you’re trying to resolve conflict of any kind, so before beginning your discussion, make sure it’s a good time. When Kate asked Emma if she had a few minutes to talk, she made sure that Emma was open to having the conversation at that time. If now isn’t a good time for the other person, ask when it will be and then schedule a time that’s agreeable to both of you.

It’s a good idea to restate the resolution just in case you misinterpreted what you and your coworker agreed to.

8. Phrases of Resolution

When each of the involved parties is able to voice their opinion, listen to each other’s perspective, compromise, and agree on a solution, everyone feels good about the outcome. That’s how many conflict resolution discussions go.

Offering a phrase of resolution is an important next step. You want to make sure that everyone truly is in agreement about the outcome and, in the event that you aren’t able to garner agreement from all the involved parties, you want to make sure that everyone understands why this is the best solution.

For example, during a discussion on the best way to resolve billing mistakes, you agree to manage it at the point of contact, but one member of your team feels that the employee who was responsible for the error should handle the problem. As the meeting winds down, you need to gain the hold-out’s agreement to the resolution by explaining why that solution was chosen: “Look, Josh, we understand that you feel differently. (understanding) But, if we turn the contact over to another employee, there’s going to be a delay in getting the problem resolved. It’ll take extra time to explain the situation. And, what if the employee’s on vacation? Since the rest of us feel this is the best way to handle these errors, can you live with our decision?” (resolution) Josh responds: “I see your point. In the past we’ve been inconsistent in handling these types of problems but as long as we’re all handling them the same way, then I’ll agree.”

Review Aziza Hotel Solo : Very Good Bargain, Fit for Purpose (3.5-star Hotel)

Aziza Hotel

Aziza Hotel – Lobby

This was our second visit to Solo (Surakarta) and the first time we stayed for more than one night. We wanted to find a comfortable place to clean ourselves, take some rest, have a decent breakfast and if possible, just a little bit of swimming time for the kids. We knew we would spend most of our time out, exploring places, so we did not want to choose the most expensive Hotel.

Aziza Hotel

Aziza Hotel – Twin Bed Room

Aziza seems like a perfect fit and it surely was. The building is new and strategically located near Galabo (cheap food stalls for quick and easy dinner), Klewer Market (traditional market to get cheap Batik) and other interesting places. Looks like the Hotel is targeting Moslem-based visitors, but if you are not moslem, I think you will still like this hotel without much issues.

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Breakfast/Dining Room

We stayed two times in this Hotel in the space of one week, and got a bit of mixed experience. Both bookings were done from Expedia and flawless. Check-in (at 3 am) was a breeze. However, on the second visit, the Hotel staff claimed they have not received any information from Expedia for our booking, and not until we shared them the reservation email that we had, then they let us to stay. Check-out took less than 1 minute.

What we like from Aziza Hotel :

1. Hotel rate through online reservation is excellent, already includes Breakfast and free Wifi
2. Strategically located near several interesting places in town
3. The building is new, cleanliness is not an issue
4. The Staffs are warm, friendly and helpful
5. Breakfast starts at 6 am, which is early, just as we want – so that we can spend more time outside
6. The TV has live video feed connection to the Mushalla during prayers time

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Breakfast/Dining Room

What we think could be improved further :

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Small Ponds in front of Lift

1. The refrigerator, while it is on, is NOT cool at all. We had a hard time taking care of our own drinks and blue ice.
2. They do not have Cable TV Channels, so the kids could not watch their favorite cartoon shows.
3. Nobody would walk-around and offers you with Tea or Coffee. You have to take everything by yourself and sometimes it took a while for them to refill the empty tea pot.
4. Wifi signal did not reach our room at 501 – which is disappointing. We had to go outside of the room on the alley to get the signal.
5. Room 501 door was not sealed properly. When I was on the alley I could hear my kids talking very clearly even though the room Door was shut fully. No privacy is not a good thing.

Aziza Hotel

Mushalla

Review Pondok Asri Hotel : (Probably) the Best You Can Get at Tawangmangu

Pondok Asri Hotel

Pondok Asri Hotel

I do not think there is not much option for a high quality hotel at Tawangmangu, so our choices were limited to Pondok Asri and Bintang Hotel. We went there go-show without online reservation service. Actually we couldn’t find a way to book Pondok Asri by online service. We passed by Bintang Hotel and saw some constructions going on, so we decided not to stop and went ahead to Pondok Asri instead.

The Hotel is very much family-friendly. They have plenty of rooms, and they feel like home – close to the ground (maximum 2 floors). It offers plenty of open spaces, playgrounds and surrounded by beautiful plants and flowers. The trampolin is a certainly a source of joy for the kids.

That being said, the hotel is not new, in particular the bath room looks old and outdated. It will take a while for the hot water to get heated and flow, and there was one time we had to ask the Staff to turn on the water heater.

Good points :

Bu Ugi Restaurant

Bu Ugi Restaurant Just Few Metres Away

We had to set our expectation lower, because it appears that this is the best one we can get here. Therefore overall, we would recommend it to anyone visiting Tawangmangu. The Hotel is strategically located. Few metres away from the famous “Bu Ugi restaurant”. One kilometre away from Tawangmangu Market. Quite close to the 2nd gate of Grojogan Sewu waterfall, not far from Candi Cetho, Candi Sukuh, Parang Ijo waterfall, and also Cemoro Sewu (of course you will still have to go to these places by Car).

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The standard checkout time is 2 PM, but we asked for a little bit of extension for another hour due to some issue and they allowed it – which is quite nice.

We took twin room bed. It does not have AC (Tawangmangu has a cool temperature), does not have refrigerator (so you have to bring your drinks to Front Desk and ask them to store it in their fridge). Breakfast taste is so-so, they will bring it to you in the morning. For our room, we got 3 plates of fried rice. We can order other meals too which is inexpensive. We also found that the room was not clean enough, and they had not refill the soap and shampoo (thankfully we always bring them from home).

Pondok Asri Hotel

Pondok Asri Hotel ((Click the picture for larger photo)

The staffs consist of young people – while friendly they seem to be less experienced. It took several calls to ask them to come and provide us with hot drink water. We normally have to leave any Left-over breakfast plates and cups outside of the room, but in over a day, they did not pick them up. We had to pay with cash because the credit card line was having issue – this is not convenient.

Not-so-good experience :
The free wifi is only available at the lobby (1st floor) or hotspot room (2nd floor – right on top of lobby). You will have to go to these rooms to get the wifi signal and access. These two rooms are connected to each other, and I could smell the staff’s smoke – which is NOT nice considering that it is an Air Conditioner room.

Pondok Asri Hotel

Pondok Asri Hotel (Click the picture for larger photo)

Do You Think You Know Everything About Effective Email?

Writing Effective Email Messages

Hi Guys, this is my second article about a very basic communication tools that most of us are well aware of : EMAIL.

OK – so you have been using emails for years and so far you may think that your style of writing has never caused any issues. That’s fine. You can skip this article 🙂 However, if you are willing to spend just a little bit time to read, please go ahead and see if following information is useful !

Why do you need to care about How to Write an Effective Email?
Well, here’s an easy answer : Email messages illustrate your professionalism and would enhance your credibility.

Basic understanding : Email is one of the method to deliver of information, and it can be regarded as fast way to communicate as well. The word “fast” can be relative and subjective here, according to the importance level and priority.

That being said, If you need fast response from someone who may not be accessing email at that time, a quick phone call, or even a quick meeting at the person desk can be more productive.

When “Writing Email” as a way to communicate can be considered inappropriate:
1. When you are delivering bad news
2. When you’d like to share confidential information
3. When you are want to convey warnings and reprimands
4. When you absolutely need fast/immediate response
5. When you think that written format might be misunderstood

As a general rule, it is definitely necessary for you to read and consider email before sending. Here are the questions that you should be asking to yourself (and try to imprint it on your mind so that it becomes a reflex) :

1. Is the email easy to read? did you have to re-read any sentences to grasp their meaning?
2. Would you be annoyed or offended by the email message. Is the tone courteous? are you angry? Do not offend the intended reader.
3. Is the message too impersonal or too familiar.
4. Is it junk mail.
5. Make sure that spelling, punctuation, grammar are correct.
6. Make sure that the message is going only to the intended reader.
7. Include all the details your reader needs.
8. Avoid terminology that might cause confusion. Provide description as necessary.
9. Make the message as easy to read and understand as you possibly can.

Personally, when I need to write an important email (for example : to Customer, or Senior Management, to technical team, or to provide feedback to someone) – I really take my time in writing it. Develop a draft, and then re-read it. I will try to review the draft based on the above 9 questions and see if I can further improve my wording.

Hope this is useful 🙂

April 21, 2010

October 20, 2009

May 11, 2008

Morning Sun at Grand Puri Laras (Multiple Exposure Shot)

It was Monday – 6.30 AM.

Grand Puri Laras

Grand Puri Laras – 11 August 2014 – 6.30 AM

Right after taking the boy to School, on my way back to home, I noticed how lovely the Clouds and Sun are. Once I got back, I immediately grabbed the Camera, CPL filter and Tripod. Take a short stroll away and got these shots.

Some of you may already know, it is impossible to get everything perfectly exposed in one shot, compared to the scene that our eyes can see.

When the sky is properly exposed (blue clouds, orange sun), the rest of the picture would become dark/under exposed. Vice versa, when the grass, cars, houses are correctly exposed (just as what they supposed to be), the sky would be blown up/white.

The solution is, of course, to capture multiple exposure shots, and then utilize Image Processing Software to combine and get the best of the shots.

Simply follow these steps : http://www.photoplusmag.com/2013/07/25/canon-dslr-tips-exposure-bracketing/

In this scenario, I’ve set :
1. Setup exposure bracketing to 5 shots, 1EV increment (Exposure Value). Make sure that the most under-exposed setting would expose the Sun correctly (the brightest spot in the picture).
2. Set the camera to 2 seconds timer (to minimize shake/hand intervention)
3. Set picture output to RAW (to maximize quality and flexibility in post-processing)
4. Of course, set the camera on tripod to minimize shake
5. Twist the CPL filter to get the best angle especially for the Clouds
6. Take the shot. With 2 seconds timer, the camera will take 5 hosts right away in one-go
7. Modify the exposure bracketing setting to over-exposed
8. Take the 2nd shot.
9. Download the pictures and merge them using Post Processing Software.

My own critics to the Photo:
1. It looks a bit flat, no foreground object and does not seem to invoke Mood. According to Cliff Mautner, a (good) photo should have 3 criteria : Texture, Dimension, and Mood.
2. It has lens issue called Converging Verticals. Some of the vertical lines (Buildings, Poles, etc) seems to be converging towards to top of the Frame. It requires fix on Post Processing Software.
3. It has Purple fringe issue/chromatic aberration. Look at the top-right of the photo, you can see purple line around a roof and top of a tree. Usually happen on high contrast spots. It requires fix on Post Processing Software.

Well, anyway, this is the first time I produced multiple exposures picture, (hopefully) things will (have to) get better over time. Cheers!