Communication in Conflict Management
Six-step confrontation process activity using Plotagon
Author: Jeff Kuznekoff
Chapter 4 of our textbook discusses a six-step confrontation process, which is “a process in which the parties call attention to problems or issues as they occur between them and express their feelings, beliefs, and wants to one another” (p. 84). In essence, this process allows us to work through our interpersonal conflict/problems with another person in a productive way.
Six-step confrontation process
1. Preparation: Identify your problems/needs/issues
2. Arrange for a time and place to meet and talk
3. Interpersonal confrontation: Talk to the other person about your problem
4. Consider your partner’s point of view: Listen, empathize, and respond with understanding
5. Resolve the problem: Make a mutually satisfying agreement
6. Follow up on the solution: Set a time limit for reevaluation
To help you understand this process further, we will divide the class into groups and each group will develop an example of two people working through this process. I will provide each group a different scenario that your group will work with. Your group will need to develop content for steps in the confrontation process, and you will do this by writing a short play, based on the scenario, that illustrates these steps. We will use the program Plotagon to visualize your overall scenario.
I’ve provided specific steps below to help your group develop your scenario. What you will need to do is write out the dialogue and interactions between the people in your scenario to demonstrate them engaging in the six-step process. After the steps below, I’ll provide a general framework to help you organize your scenario.
1. Scene: This should correspond to step 2 in the six-step confrontation process. Select one of the following as the time/place for the characters to meet and talk:
- Conference room
- Locker room
- TV Sofa
- Street corner
2. Character: Your group will need to select appropriate characters based on your scenario.
- Women Men
- Jessica Dave
- Lizzie Steve
- Victoria Samir
3. Location: Select at least one location, from the scene you have selected, for each character:
Note that characters can interact physically when standing next to each other in a location named (left) and (Right). They can interact verbally regardless of where they are each placed in the scene.
- Cafe Armchair Cash register Counter (Left) Counter ( Right) Door Table (Right) Table (Left)
- Conference room Croissants Door Presentation (left) Presentation (Right) Table
- Classroom Back row Desk (right) Desk (left) Door Teachers desk TV(Left) TV(Right)
- Locker room Bench(left) Bench(Right) Entrance(left) Entrance(Right) Lockers(left) Lockers(Right) Open locker
- TV Sofa Sofa(left) Sofa(Right)
Street corner Bench Corner Door (Left) Door (Right) Mailbox
4. Dialogue: Write out what you would like each character to say. You can also include ‘how’ you would like them to say it (see list below):
Lizzie (Happy): What a wonderful day it is!
Dave (Sad): I dropped my iPhone in the toilet.
5. Add more emotions: Identify the character and the emotion you would like them to perform, an example is below followed by the list of animations. An animation can be displayed silently by deleting the default text ‘Write dialogue here’ in the dialogue field. If characters are standing or sitting next to each other in a scene, they can interact by using an action.
- Lizzie (hugs) dave
- Victoria (smug) I’m leaving you, loser!
- Victoria (waving) (silent)
- Steve (Face palm) (silent)
1. Preparation: Identify your problems/needs/issues (i.e., key aspects of your scenario) and arrange for a time and place to meet and talk.
What scene are you using/where is your scenario taking place?
Who is involved in your scenario/who are the characters? Write out their points of view.
2. Interpersonal confrontation: Talk to the other person about your problem.
This should be the dialogue for each character and the bulk of the content. Do make sure to include ‘how’ you would like the person to say it, if appropriate. This should be written out like a script for a movie/play. In addition, use the dialogue to help illustrate the notion of considering your partner’s point of view (step 4 of the 6 steps)
3. Resolve the problem, write out what you think is the likely conclusion of this conflict.
Do you think the two can come to a mutually satisfying agreement? If so, what would this agreement be? You can continue using the same scene or change scenes (to illustrate the passage of time).
1. Family members: Brother and sister (or two sisters). You think that your sister took an expensive piece of furniture from your father’s house after he passed away without discussing it with you. Your sister took care of your father in his final days and had a key to his house. Your sister was also in control of your father’s finances and you think she took all his money from the bank during his final days. Now you are angry at your sister.
2. Two roommates are living in a house, with one television. You try to treat each other equally. Recently your roommate decided that he/she wants to watch some TV programs that are on at the same time as sporting events. Meanwhile, you want to watch sports on the weekend and some weekday nights. The negative atmosphere is so bad in the house that you decide to confront your roommate about it.
3. A friend left her boyfriend and asked to move in with you. She spends too much money. She lies to buy a lot of clothes. She never has enough for meals or gas, so she is always asking you for money to buy food or gas. She wants “a loan” from time to time and sometimes doesn’t have enough to help pay the apartment rent and utilities. You are fortunate to have enough money, but think it is unfair that she isn’t pulling her share and needs money from you so often. She often doesn’t pay back the money she owes you.
4. Two romantic partners are having a conflict over time management. You want to spend time with your friends and even invite one or two to join you and your romantic partner when you go out together. Your partner does not approve of all your friends and finds two of them to be particularly offensive and a bad influence on you. Your partner also wants to spend more time with you, without your friends hanging around.