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Episode 009

May 1, 2019

009 – Make conflict your ally in workshops – with Meg Mateer

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    In this episode, I talk to Megan Mateer, former corporate strategy consultant and now founder, facilitator, and changemaker. She founded Empatiko, a movement that aims to be a catalyst for human connection in the workplace and therefore accompanies organizations through that cultural transformation. 

    Meg and I talk about conflict in group settings and how to use conflict as an opportunity for insight, clarity and connection in the context of workshops. You will hear about the difference between healthy and unhealthy conflict and how to deal with the latter when it arises in different shapes. Also, we speak about another form of conflict in the workshop space: a conflict between the facilitator and the group. 

    Don’t miss the part where Meg runs us through the process of avoiding conflict by using the example of someone coming late to a meeting. Tune in to learn tools to make healthy conflict your ally and avoid unhealthy conflict from derailing so that your workshops work. 

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    Feeling inspired by the conversation in this episode? We can have our own – take a seat at my virtual table as part of a Mastermind Group.

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    Questions and Answers

    1:20 How did you get from being a corporate strategy consultant to becoming the founder of Empatiko.

    6:55 When you say that conflict can create a connection, what do you mean by that? 

    7:51 What are the elements that trigger conflict?

    9:00 Would you say that we most often ignore conflict to then deny it when it comes up?

    10:41 Since conflict is triggered by differences in assumptions, values and needs, how do you deal with conflict once it comes up?

    11:53 Would you explicitly ask self-reflection questions in the workshop space when you feel that there is conflict?

    16:52 At the moment you feel “an elephant in the room”, how would you deal with it? 

    19:28 Why don’t you walk us through the concept of non-violent communication? 

    24:45 As this doesn’t sound like “conflict” anymore to me, how would you actually define conflict and how do you avoid conflict to derail into something unhealthy? 

    27:32 How do you deal with what you call “explosive conflict”?

    30:21 Would you then call a break when conflict arises and how would you then continue? 

    31:56 How can we deal with a situation when the conflict is about us as facilitators?

    37:14 Coming back to the resolution of conflict among participants, how can you use the energy created by the conflict?

    41:46 What is your favourite exercise that usually works?

    43:17 For what kind of topic would you use the framework of the fishbowl?

    44:34 How would you finish the sentence: “Workshops fail if…” 

    45:17 What would you like the listener to remember who fell asleep after minute one?

    46:47 If someone wants to reach out, connect to or work with you, how can they find you?


    Meg’s business page:

    Non-violent communication (Wikipedia)

    Liberating Structures

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    Connect to Meg



    Join Empatiko open in Amsterdam happening on the first Thursday of a month