Several years ago I realized that I was getting into trouble by speaking my first thoughts in conflict situations. If I paused between my reactions and my actions, the result was much better. This insight became the cornerstone of CALM in ConflictTM.

I am a red-haired Irish-American, and I thought having a temper was my birthright! However, not everyone would accept such a whimsical excuse. The way I handled conflict wasn’t working for me. How could I begin to apply logic over feelings? While some conflict is both natural and appropriate, how to make it constructive isn’t always obvious.

Coincidentally around this time, many clients were requesting that the topic of Conflict Resolution be added to Manager Series programs. As a training consultant I often create acronyms as a way to help participants remember concepts. With “CALM” I was fortunate to find an acronym that reflects the spirit of the model.

The first step “C” Clarify is a solo experience that must be done thoroughly in order for the following steps to work. The “ALM” of the CALM model involves the other person in the conflict. Throughout the program, the e-learner is invited to interact by typing personal responses and clicking to see information on the screen. A short quiz at the end of each module reviews and assesses understanding of the content. More about the 4 steps…


Clarifying with 5 questions is a way to insert the pause into the situation. The CALM in ConflictTM e-learning offers you these key questions to help resolve your conflicts.


Asking questions is important because conflict conversations often begin with a declarative statement: “You should not have…!”

The conflict can escalate at this stage and it becomes a blame game of what happened. By asking questions, I am more in control and the conflict is de-escalated. Additionally I will better understand what happened to make the conflict happen – from the other person’s perspective. The e-learning includes the kinds of questions to ask in a conflict.


In general, listening is one of the most critical (and underused) communication skills. Especially in conflict situations, listening may not happen because both parties are invested in expressing their positions. Collaborative conflict resolution requires active listening and asking good questions.

The CALM e-learning program offers a 15-question assessment for listening skills with the first* takeaway – keys to good listening tips customized by the e-learner’s own responses.


In the Move Forward module, e-learners receive a variety of ways to move forward into conflict resolution. Identifying the best option for moving forward can now happen if the above steps are in place.

CALM in Action
The e-learning course ends with an audio-visual recording of a conflict that flares up and gets resolved using the CALM approach. The situation, based on a real-life situation, is easily recognizable and transferable to the current day pressure-filled deadline workplace.

The program concludes with an interactive Action Plan. A suggested script can be completed online and printed as a *second handy takeaway.

Enthusiastic e-learners exclaim, “Everybody needs this program!” I encourage you to experience the CALM approach to resolving conflict . Click here to find out more.

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