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One of my ex-writing students is a Marketing Manager and we’re doing an exchange of services at the moment. Something I really appreciate about Ellen is the cleanness of her communication style. In one of our early conversations she deliberately addressed the subject of our expectations.

‘Conflict Resolution Skills’ is a course I taught years ago, and Ellen demonstrated them perfectly. There’s a sliding scale of events that result in conflict from initial Discomforts and Incidents through Misunderstandings and Tension to outright Conflict. In other worlds, conflict doesn’t just happen out of the clear blue sky; it starts with little baby steps…


I was grateful to Ellen for recognising where we had already taken a couple of baby steps in the direction of conflict, and quickly and clearly identifying what she understood and wanted, and asking me what I understood and wanted so that we’d be on the same page. She did all of this with her signature good humour – I could feel her smile beaming at me through the telephone line.

That initial stage of ‘Discomforts’ is described in the Conflict Resolution Skills Manual that I use (© The Conflict Resolution Network, created by Helena Cornelius and team) as ‘Perhaps nothing is said yet. Things don’t feel right. It may be difficult to identify what the problem is. Do you feel uncomfortable about a situation but not quite sure why?’

I think this course is supremely important and that we can all do with consciously and deliberately developing these skills. I know I can. (If you’d like to participate in a Conflict Resolution Course with me, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. I’d love to share this empowering and very useful material with you.) But at the very least I hope that this blog is a useful reminder to you of the importance of clean and timely communication.

As Dr Demartini says, we are careless when we put ourselves above others, careful when we put ourselves below others, and caring when we respect ourselves and others in equal measure.

Thank you again to Ellen for demonstrating those skills so beautifully and keeping our collaboration on the ‘straight and narrow’.

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