In my role as Ombuds at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, I have developed several workshops that help participants build their conflict resolution skills. While I have created them in a higher education context, I can adapt them to virtually any group, from students to employees to leadership teams.
In general, my workshops feature short bursts of “instruction” (introducing a concept and explaining it) followed by a case study or roleplay scenario that lets participants put it to practice in small group settings. In an optimal seminar, I explore three main points, leaving participants with a manageable set of new knowledge and skills that they can use. I’ve found that five minute of instruction, followed by 10-15 minutes of small group work and discussion. For me, the ideal workshop length is 60 to 75 minutes, with some time after for further questions and discussion. I know that it’s been a good one if the group is talking about the material so intently afterwards that they don’t want to leave.
After the workshop. I give each participant a pdf with key points from the workshop to help them better retain what they have learned.
Some of the workshops I have led include:
Exploring Conflict Styles: An Interactive Role-play
Prior to this session, all participants will take an online assessment that will determine their preferred Thomas-Kilmann conflict style. After a brief introduction to Thomas and Kilmann’s theory, we will explore, through interactive polling and group discussion, how conflict styles can exacerbate disagreements and complicate productive resolutions.
Resolving One-on-One Conflicts (Workplace)
Are you having a conflict with a peer, supervisor, or subordinate? This interactive session walks you through a few common threads in each type of conflict, explains a few techniques to use to resolve these kinds of conflicts productively, and provides resources for those who find themselves in conflict.
Resolving One-on-One Conflicts (For Students)
As a student, you may have a problem with your instructor or fellow students. This interactive session walks you through a few common classroom conflict scenarios, explains a few techniques to use to resolve conflicts productively, and provides resources for those who find themselves in conflict
Resolving Group Conflicts (Workplace)
While at work, you may find yourself involved in a situation where a group of your peers is in conflict. This interactive session discusses a few of the most common types of group conflicts experienced at work and provides some resources for resolving them.
Resolving Group Conflicts (For Students)
Whether it is at your dorm, in a study group, or with a Registered Student Organization, you may find yourself enmeshed in a conflict involving multiple peers. This interactive session explores how conflicts in each of those areas can unfold, and suggests techniques and resources for resolving them amicably.
Difficult Conversations: Making Them Less Painful and More Productive
You might need to speak with a colleague about behaviors that are making your job harder. Or a supervisor about performance expectations that you think are unreasonable. Or a subordinate who is under-performing. Whatever the subject, this will not be an easy conversation to have. In this in-person workshop, we will explore, through interactive roleplay and group discussion, what makes conversations difficult, how to make them less painful, and how to make them more productive.
Understanding Conflict Drivers: Different Causes, Common Dynamics
In this interactive workshop, we explore five common conflict drivers, and get a window into how understanding the drivers can lead to better conflict resolution by participating in role-play scenarios and group discussion.
Speed Conflict Resolution the Wrong Way
Want to meet new people? Have fun trying to resolve conflict scenarios? And maybe win a prize for doing it wrong? This interactive session combines speed dating with conflict role play, letting you explore the worst way to resolve conflict in brief rounds. Along the way, we will get to know each other and discuss some good techniques for productive conflict resolution. This workshop is fully customizable, with lengths from 15 to 60 minutes and scenarios tailored to the audience.
What Are We Really Arguing About?
In this interactive workshop, participants dissect how and why we argue. Surprisingly, it’s often not about the ostensible subject of the disagreement. Understanding how conflict spirals out of control can help us defuse it and move on.
Knowing What You Want: Better Understanding Your Interests
In this workshop, participants explore through case studies and group discussion why negotiating based on interests leads to better outcomes than position-based negotiating and how to discover what their interests truly are. This leads to better resolution of disagreements with more happiness all around.
Interpersonal Communication: Say What You Mean
This interactive workshop helps participants better align their intentions with their communication by exploring the Triangle of Satisfaction and its applicability to interpersonal communications, delving into the four things we all say at once, and practicing crafting intentional emails.
In addition to leading workshops, I have also facilitated group discussions, chiefly around strategic planning, group expectations, and leadership.
I have two general modes as a facilitator. The first is “just show up,” in which I lead the group through an agenda (either one of my set topics or one provided by the group) with no prior preparation or insight into the group. While this one can be productive and, in some circumstances, desirable, I prefer the second mode, which is “know the group.” Before the session, I speak individually with all participants and, based on the information they provide, create an agenda that lets them discuss what they identify as most important. The lesser-but-still-effective version of this is for participants to fill out a brief survey to get what they want to resolve most. These sessions are generally best in two-hour blocks; there is a law of diminishing returns in having an effective group discussion beyond that, in a single session.
A few of my more popular facilitated discussions are:
Begin Again: Successfully Manage Change Together
Perhaps your unit has a new leader. Or maybe you are finally ready to confront old problems. In this interactive session, we explore the most common change management models, discuss which one best fits your unit, and create an outline for future action.
Leadership Styles: What You Want, What You Need, What You Will Get
If your unit is in the process of transitioning to a new leader, or would like to have a discussion with their current leader, this guided conversation will help you reach a consensus on how you want to be led. Ideal before you’ve written the position description, but can be used at any stage of a job search to clarify expectations.
Communication: Setting Ground Rules for Productive Conversations
It’s not uncommon for both small and large groups to suffer a communications breakdown. There is no simple, one-size-fits-all solution for getting back to open, productive conversations. In this guided group exercise, you will develop mutually agreed-upon ground rules for what respectful and appropriate communication looks like. (Typical time: 90 minutes)
Discussing Our Problems Together: A Guided Conversation
Your area may agree that it is facing one or more problems, and feels that the most productive way to tackle these issues is to bring in an outside facilitator. A resolution in one session is not guaranteed, but having a guided, respectful discussion will be a step in the right direction.
Where Are We Going (And How Will We Get There?)
Your unit is at a crossroads, and you would like some help having the discussion about which path to take. This conversation is about the group coming together to make a decision–or determine how they will make a decision. This workshop is recommended for groups who have any future-focused task, including setting groups norms, performance expectations, and strategic planning.
Planning Your Workshop
If you would like me to lead a workshop for your group, the first step is to contact me. We can then have a conversation about which interactive workshop or facilitated discussion will work best for your group. When reaching out, please have the following information:
- Type of workshop preferred (interactive or facilitated discussion)
- Size of group
- Type of group (students, faculty, professional staff, line employees, or leaders)
- Possible dates
Pricing for all workshops, factoring in pre-workshop work, group size, and travel costs, is extremely competitive, and can be adjusted for educational and non-profit organizations.
“As I am taking major responsibility of leading a department, this conflict resolution methods and process will help me guide to become successful
leader. Thanks for this workshop.”
“Great presentation and interactive activities. This was well done!”
“I learned a great deal I can use in my work (and home) life from this session.”
“He is well versed in conflict resolution. I have heard him speak before and always enjoy hearing him talk.”
“Loved the interactive nature of the program. The time flew by.”