Conflict Resolution: phrases to start and keep the dialogue going

In a conflict, it’s important to exchange information and points of view without becoming defensive or arguing. This exchange of information has to be a flexible, two-way conversation. It’s important that everyone involved participates and encourages reactions and suggestions. The following phrases can help you start effective dialogue:

  1. I have a dilemma and I need some help with it.
  2. I need to talk through an issue with you.
  3. Something has been brought to my attention that I’d like to discuss.
  4. I need a reality check on something.
  5. I’m having a problem with [person/ issue], and I don’t know what to do about it. I could use some advice.
  6. I’m trying to solve a problem, and before it gets bigger, I’d like to get your thoughts.
  7. You can talk to me about your concerns.
  8. I’d like to share an issue I really need help with and get your opinion.
  9. I hear what you’re saying about [xyz].
  10. Let me repeat what you said so there’s no confusion.
  11. I’m not sure that I agree. Let’s explore that some more.
  12. From what you observed, this is how you’re interpreting the situation.
  13. I’d like to know how you feel about it.
  14. Perhaps you could tell me about [xyz].
  15. What I think you are saying is [xyz].
  16. Sounds as if you really meant [xyz].
  17. You think it’s a good idea if [xyz].
  18. You would really like it if [xyz].
  19. You think that [xyz].
  20. I’m so happy you said that because [xyz].
  21. Texting isn’t the best way to communicate in this situation. When can we meet to have a discussion?
  22. You said that I don’t have all the facts. Please tell me what I’m missing.
  23. You said that I don’t have the right context for the situation. Can you provide it for me?
  24. I don’t presume to know what you think. You’ll have to give me more information.
  25. I know this is a frustrating situation for you, but if we are going to resolve it, I need to ask you some additional questions.
  26. I heard what you said, but I’m confused about your allegations. I need additional information.
  27. If I understand you correctly, [xyz].
  28. In other words, [xyz].
  29. From what you’re saying, my sense is [xyz].
  30. It sounds like [xyz].
  31. So your main concern is [xyz].
  32. I really want to know more about your position on the issue. Can we talk and clear the air?
  33. I’d like to hear more about why you are so intent on going in that direction. Since we have different opinions, let’s hear each other out.
  34. We need to talk about the email you sent last night. I’m not sure where you’re coming from.
  35. What do you think would happen if we don’t deal with this?
  36. We need to talk about why you oppose every idea I bring up. I want to understand if it’s me or my ideas you don’t like.
  37. Thanks for asking. That gives me a chance to share something that’s been on my mind and maybe get your thoughts on it.
  38. I might be taking a risk, but I’d like to get your thoughts on what happened in the meeting today when you and I didn’t agree on the [xyz] project.
  39. Can we talk about the issues with the project now, or would a time for later in the week be better?
  40. I understand you’re frustrated with me. I’d like to share my thoughts and see if we can reach agreement on this.
  41. I’d like to know your thoughts about the discussion we had today in the café.
  42. How so?
  43. I’ll say!
  44. Please say that again so I can process the words better.
  45. I take our discussions very seriously and really want to hear what happened.
  46. What just happened here?
  47. Thanks for being so open. I’m pretty sure that if we talk this out, we can resolve it.
  48. Thanks for bringing this forward.
  49. I totally agree with what you just said, so let’s keep the conversation going.
  50. I know precisely what you said and agree with many of your points, but would like to share my thoughts as well.
  51. I feel like we’re on the same wavelength on this one with some minor exceptions. Let’s talk.
  52. You’re making some really valid points.
  53. Thanks for your honesty. Knowing your thoughts on this will help us move forward.
  54. I’m happy you brought this up.
  55. Getting this out in the open will be a first step.
  56. We all want the same thing: our [team, project, organization] to succeed. If we start from there, we can make it work.
  57. Is there anything else you’d like to add to this conversation before we move on?
  58. Is this what you need me to tell you?
  59. Have I answered your questions?
  60. What more can I share so that we can put this behind us?
  61. I’m so glad we’re having this conversation.
  62. I’ve been waiting for the right time to bring this up and now seems right to me. Does that work for you?
  63. Please know that this isn’t a game to me. I really want to have this discussion here and now!
  64. Let’s keep our goal of having a strong working relationship in mind as we talk this over.
  65. I’m not going to downplay the challenges we face as we confront this issue, but I have confidence in our ability to work it out.
  66. Let’s get all the issues on the table and tackle them one by one until we’ve resolved them.
  67. If we’re going to get to the bottom this, we both need to commit to work towards a solution. We need each other to resolve this.
  68. I’ll be glad to listen to whatever you want to share with me now or whenever you’re ready to talk.
  69. Thanks for saying that. Helps me know where you’re coming from.
  70. I wish you’d look at me when we’re talking. It really helps me to connect with you.
  71. Please ask me that in a different way.
  72. Did I answer your question? If no, what do you need from me?
  73. I trust you to keep this confidential so you can speak freely and openly.
  74. I promise I will keep this just between us. No one’s going to hear about this from me.
  75. I am so glad you asked about that.
  76. Thanks for taking a risk and bringing up this issue. It needs to be discussed and I appreciate your bringing it to light.
  77. I know it cost you to say what you did and I appreciate it.
  78. This is just between us.
  79. Here’s what I need to know.
  80. I think I know where you’re coming from, but please tell me again what’s important to you.
  81. You know what? This is the perfect time for us to talk about this.
  82. No time like the present to [xyz].
  83. You go first: what are you thinking? Then I will be happy to respond.
  84. Let me jump in here and ask a question [or clarify a point].
  85. I’m not just looking for a conversation. I want to get to the bottom of this!
  86. What are your views on [xyz]?
  87. What’s your take on [xyz]?
  88. What are you thinking about [xyz]?
  89. It takes courage sometimes to speak up, so please let me know what you’re thinking.
  90. Where can we go with what we know now?
  91. Let’s hit rewind and start over.
  92. I think we both know that isn’t the case, so how do we move forward?
  93. Something’s just not right here.
  94. Feel free to jump in with whatever information you have on this issue.
  95. This is a topic I’ve wanted to discuss for a long time and now’s a great opportunity to do so.
  96. I think we both want the same thing here, so let’s see if we can make it happen.
  97. I know we can resolve this, but it’s going to take both of us! Let’s get started.
  98. Is there at least one other way to look at this issue?
  99. What if we tried it this way?
  100. I’m willing to try it your way.
  101. That’s a great idea.
  102. That is a wonderful suggestion. I can see how it will help us resolve this issue.
  103. I can see why this might be frustrating for you.
  104. That’s a really good place to start.
  105. Sometimes just jumping in to an issue can break the ice. You want to give it a try, or shall I start?
  106. I love that you’re so passionate about this. Tell me more.