5 Principles for Talking Politics with Friends and Family

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How do you engage in discussions about politics with those you care about? For many, the answer is “I don’t!” Others engage eagerly in these discussions, but find themselves repeatedly caught in the muck of destructive conflict. There is another way – one that allows for respectful discourse and even strengthened relationships. In 2007, I was invited to participate in … Read More

3 Tips to Connect with Your Child

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“Wow, he’s finally getting out of the house for the weekend,” my husband and I remarked to each other this morning, after our almost 15-year-old son left for his high school band camp. This isn’t a statement I expected to make when I had teenagers. Our society not only emphasizes the autonomous nature of adolescence, but goes as far as … Read More

5 Simple Steps to Random Acts of Kindness

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The Oxford English Dictionary defines “random” as “Having no definite aim or purpose; not set or guided in a particular direction; made, done, occurring, etc., without method or conscious choice; haphazard.” I am asking you to completely disregard the Oxford Dictionary definition of random. Instead, I want you to celebrate National Random Acts of Kindness Day on February 17th, 2016 and every … Read More

3 Ways to Avoid Conflict and Improve Relationships

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“I wonder what it’s like to be married to you…” I turned. The workshop participant was behind me, to the side, looking thoughtful, pensive, and curious. It wasn’t a pick-up, but a pondering. I have taught conflict resolution skills for 20 years and it’s a question I occasionally get asked. While all my training is workplace-related, the application in the … Read More

How to Be a Strong Family When Facing Mental Illness

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Serious illness often lands like a bomb in the middle of the family system, disrupting routines and scattering the family members. When it is a mental illness, the impact can be particularly severe, compounded by stigma, fear and social isolation. What can a family do to maintain strong relationships with each other when mental illness has joined the family? Family … Read More

6 Tips for Dealing with a Difficult Person

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When I started teaching conflict resolution skills many years ago, I believed that simply using those skills would solve most problems. I was naïve. People kept coming to me and saying something like, “Eric, these skills are great, but what do you do about the person who is just DIFFICULT?” After some years of experience, I realized that they were … Read More

5 Steps for Effective Conflict Resolution

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Conflict is opportunity.  Although many of us find conflict stressful, conflict has many benefits. As a mediator, I have witnessed the strong emotions produced by conflict.  I have also seen how conflict dealt with in a healthy way can enhance our problem-solving capabilities, increase productive communication, promote self-awareness and build relationships.  When we avoid conflict or become confrontational or aggressive, … Read More

International Day of Pink – Let’s Put an End to Bullying

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Wednesday April 12th, 2017 is International Day of Pink. A Canadian initiative, the idea began three years ago at a rural high school in Nova Scotia when a grade 9 boy was harassed for wearing a pink shirt to school. Two senior male students decided enough was enough, and launched the first Day of Pink to invite folks to take … Read More

6 Ways to Be a Better Listener

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Everyone listens. We listen every day, but not all of us think of listening as a skill to be developed. Listening is a quiet, internal stance and it is easy to overlook. Like most worthwhile endeavours, learning to listen well is worthy of both our attention and effort. I thought long and hard about how to write a blog about … Read More

5 Tips for Delivering Difficult News

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Depending on your role at work, there may be times when you are tasked with delivering difficult news to an individual or a group of people. When I look back on my career so far, both as an employee and as an entrepreneur for the past 15 years, delivering difficult news stands out as some of the more stressful moments … Read More