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Posted by Ben Martin

Ben Martin

How to Make Hard Conversations Simple

April 23, 2019   Conflict IQ

It feels like the most important conversations are the hardest to have, doesn’t it? How many times have we known we should bring up a tough subject, only to chicken out when that toe-curling feeling of apprehension wiggles up in our gut? What if I told you there’s a simple trick to it? Not just […]

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Ben Martin

The Baby in the Back Seat

February 28, 2019   Conflict IQ

Imagine the following situation: You’re on a narrow street waiting for the light to change behind a rusty car. The driver is focused on something in the back seat. When the light changes, she doesn’t notice. You tap your horn politely, but she ignores you. Then, she gets out of her car, opens the back […]

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Ben Martin

How to Handle Angry People

September 13, 2018   Conflict IQ

We’ve talked a lot lately about the power of reciprocity. (Remember, reciprocity is the human tendency to reflect the attitudes and behaviors of others.) Today, we’ll give you a simple model for using reciprocity to defuse anger and hostility. But first, let’s do a quick recap. Reciprocity is so hardwired into our brains that when […]

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Ben Martin

Why is Everyone on the Internet So Mean?

January 23, 2018   Conflict IQ

It’s no secret that there’s a lot of anger and hostility on the internet. Whether it’s the comments section of a not-even-slightly-provocative news piece, the chat room in your online game of choice, or your social media feed, it can sometimes feel like decency is the exception rather than the rule. Granted, there’s also plenty […]

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Ben Martin

Hard on the Problem, Soft on the People

August 31, 2017   Conflict IQ

Imagine for a moment that it’s time to hold someone accountable. This person can be a colleague, classmate, family member, friend, or anyone else. What adjectives would you use to describe your approach. Strong? Great! Persistent? For sure! Assertive? Absolutely! Now how about Warm? If you listed that last one, congratulations! Go to the head […]

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Ben Martin

We’re Back Online!

July 17, 2017   Conflict IQ

Greetings! As you may have noticed, we’ve had a lengthy lapse in activity here at The Conflict-Savvy Brain. We had a long string of trouble with website hacks that brought us offline, but we’re happy to report that things are back up and running once again. Thank you very much for your patience, and we look […]

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Ben Martin

Your Brain on Adrenaline

February 7, 2017   Conflict IQ

Pop quiz: How similar are these two situations? Situation 1 A twig snaps behind you. Whipping your head around, you see a mighty tiger barreling down on you at full speed. You and your hunting party stand your ground, spears poised to deliver a fatal blow. Situation 2 Your teenage daughter’s friends drop her off fifty […]

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Ben Martin

Brain Bytes: Beating the Negativity Bias

December 14, 2016   Conflict IQ

Last time, we discussed how powerful and pervasive the negativity bias can be. At its root is the pesky fact that the mind is much better at perceiving patterns in negative experiences than positive ones. Today, we’re going to talk about how, with a little mindfulness, we can beat the bias. We touched on this before, […]

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Ben Martin

Brain Bytes: The Negativity Bias

November 7, 2016   Conflict IQ, The Science

So far in Brain Bytes, we’ve covered the basics of neuroplasticity, taking in the good, and the three brains: lizard, mammal, and primate. This week, we’re going to get to the very center of neuroplasticity: the negativity bias. The negativity bias refers to how easily the human brain turns negative experiences into neural patterns. In […]

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Ben Martin

The Case of the Incompetent Coordinator(?)

October 27, 2016   Case Studies, In-Depth

Presenting Problem An unresolved conflict at a high-tech manufacturing organization between operations’ customization coordinator and the sales group had undermined workflow and jeopardized profitability. Customized machines made up the majority of the organization’s sales, yet the coordinator’s quotes and feasibility studies were backlogged three months, resulting in the loss of an estimated 25% of their sales. […]

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