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Core Insight Skills
5 Steps to help you face conflict with confidence
(and why it's worth it)


Once we’ve paused to notice, our next step is to verifyto take time to verbally state back what we’re noticing. 

Verifying draws on common communication techniques like reflecting emotion, repeating decisions and paraphrasing meaning, where we are essentially repeating back what we’ve interpreted to check to make sure we are tracking. When we verify, we’re doing three crucial things to open lines of communication and change the course of contentious interactions. 


Specifically, verifying helps us:

  • Check the accuracy of how we’ve interpreted what we’ve noticed

  • Get more information from the other person

  • Let the person we’re communicating with know that we’re listening and trying to understand. 

Let’s dive into each way verifying can help.

Verifying to check the accuracy of how we’ve interpreted what we’ve noticed.

Often we take our interpretations for granted and assume those interpretations are true. Verifying helps us make sure that we are operating not on assumption, but on accurate information.

Verifying might sound like this:

“I can see how frustrating this is.” or

“I hear you want to take the project on yourself.”


Repeating back in this way invites the other person to hear that their message has been heard and gives them a chance to either confirm it or correct it. This generates dialogue and opens the door to communication. 


Verifying to get more information from the other person.

When we give someone back their perspective in our own words, often that’s all we need to do to get them talking. We position ourselves to discover more information and clarify the communication. This is because people naturally want to be heard, especially when they are escalated.   


Verifying to let the person we’re communicating with know that we’re listening and trying to understand. 

This is powerful. When people are heightened and in defense-mode, they want to be heard on what is important to them. Verifying lets the person know that we are tracking them and hearing where they are coming from. It acknowledges that there is something important that needs to be attended to. This eases the tension and opens those lines of communication that are so easily blocked when we’re defending. 


Research shows that when we feel heard and understood, the emotional response is the opposite of threat. We feel relieved, secure, and satisfied. 


Unless we take the time to verify - to make sure we understand what the problem is, what’s at stake, and what the impact is - and show that the problem is being taken seriously, emotions will stay high and defensive behavior will rule.


Even if it feels strange at first, next time you’re confronted with conflict behavior or escalated emotions try verifying by repeating back your interpretation in a non-judgmental way. Remember to pause for confirmation or correction. The goal is to check your understanding, and in doing so conveying that you want to understand. So stay open to correction.  You will be amazed at how well you can calm a challenging interaction and leave a lasting impression that you’re there to help.

Dive into our next Core Skill

Asking is all about getting curious to find the reasoning behind conflict behavior. 

About the Core Insight Skills


Conflict is part of life. It’s part of sharing space with others. And it grips us when our perceptions and experiences not only don’t match, but feel threatening in some way. 

While conflict is difficult and causes us to charge into battle or disappear and hide, when we face it with confidence, it can also help us expand. It can be a clue that there are important things to address, and that by addressing them, new perspectives and possibilities emerge that are essential for growth. 

Facing conflict with confidence is not easy. When we feel angry, disappointed, frustrated, or wronged, we’re vulnerable. We want to protect ourselves and what we care about. But in order to effectively do that - to protect and strengthen what matters to us in the most sustainable way possible, to harness the good that can come from conflict and turn what might otherwise be destructive into something constructive - it is important to cultivate skills for engaging rather than escalating conflict.

The Insight approach – the theory behind Insight Policing and Engaging Conflict through Curiosity – invites us to work through five steps to more effectively communicate through conflict to find new, more sustainable paths forward.  


These steps require us to: Notice, Verify, Ask, Communicate, and Listen.

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