Conflict resolution and de-escalation

We all know jokes about terrible mothers-in-law, evil bosses and unreasonable neighbours. In jokes, conflict can be hilarious – in real life, however, it is rarely very funny. This exercise helps you de-escalate and solve conflicts.

In this exercise, the ongoing conversation between the two parties is very important. It is a good idea for you to ask supporting questions during the exercise to keep the conversation from dying out.

  1. Spread out a Magnum Set on the floor in front of two conflicting parties. Ask them to pick three cards each that illustrate three situations where they have appreciated the other. Ask them to present the choices they have made.
  2. Then you ask the two persons to choose a card that illustrates the thing they like best about the other. They take turns handing the other their card and explaining the choice. Place both cards on the floor as the first two out of six links of a circle.
    It should be easier for the involved parties to continue the conversation, now that they have a positive foundation of mutual respect to work from.
  3. Ask one of the participants to choose a card that explains how a good person in their own role (e.g. as an in-law, co-worker, neighbour) should be. Then ask the other to do the same. Add both cards as new links to the circle.
    This will make it easier for the participants to see their relationship from one another’s perspective and realise that even small changes in their behaviour can improve the relationship.
  4. Then you ask the parties in turn to choose a card illustrating what they would do differently to try to improve the relationship. Ask them to add their cards to finish the circle.
  5. You finish the exercise by asking both parties to look at the circle and try to find one picture that represents the type of relationship they would both like to have. If they can find one, ask them to place this card in the middle of the circle.
    If they can’t reach an agreement on one of the cards in the circle, they can look to the rest of the Magnum Set on the floor. When they have reached an agreement, they can place this card in the centre of the circle.

You can invite them to download and print the picture that they agree on at the end, so they can hang it at home or at work as a continuous reminder to maintain a good and healthy relationship.



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