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Concise preview of Hesha Abrams' new book
Holding the Calm: The Secret to Resolving Conflict and Defusing Tension

How do you stop conflict?
How do you find a solution when a solution seems impossible?
How do you handle someone who is yelling at you?
How do you respond to someone who is crying?
What do you do when someone won’t speak?
How do you settle cases better and more efficiently?

In many places, conflict is resolved by someone breaking your legs, burning down your store or kidnapping your kid. In civilized societies there are legal systems that can be expensive, time consuming, and often faulty but isn’t it better than this alternative?  By Holding the Calm, you can be the civilizing force. Our society needs more civilized discussion and conflict resolution skills right now.

In Holding the Calm, The Secret to Resolving Conflict and Defusing Tension, Hesha shares easy to use and absorb strategies to defuse tension, settle cases, resolve disputes, and re-channel arguments. All by a popular master mediator with tens of thousands of hours in the trenches of challenging human conflict revealing pragmatic, practical wisdom in easy to digest bites that work with real people. Professionals of all kinds must manage an increasingly frustrated workforce. They may be taught leadership skills but not workable and immediate conflict management skills.

“I like you”. “I hate you.” “I feel like I can trust you”. “You scare me.” “You’re lying”. All happen within seconds. Trying to out logicate or rationalize with someone who’s amygdala has been triggered is like punching jello. It will get you nowhere fast, wastes precious energy, and deflects from things that would actually work to calm things down and find a solution.

The prefrontal cortex developed last in our brain’s evolution. The amygdala, which is the fear center, developed first and decides in a nano second whether that thing is a rope, food or a snake and makes decisions accordingly without stopping for verification of information. Then the prefrontal cortex justifies the decision that has already been made by the amygdala.

You want to know how to tell if the amygdala is operating?  
It yells “ME! ME! ME!” or “MY! MY! MY!” in all its actions.

That’s the trigger to start Holding The Calm.

Holding The Calm works even in really bad situations.

I resolved a case where a postal truck hit a young boy who then became brain damaged. Postal regulations forbid drivers from passing out candy to kids. They don’t want kids trained to run out into the road to see the postal driver to get a treat. Well, in a small rural county a kind driver, who had the same route every day, thought, “Why can’t I give out a little candy, a little happiness to the kids on my route?” So, every day she brought a bag of penny candy and the kids ran to her truck when she came down the road for a sweet treat.

Of course, you know where this story is headed. One day she was out sick, and a replacement driver took the route who had no idea kids would run out in front of the truck. She struck a little boy who suffered brain damage and was now in a coma.

Bad situation.

The family hired a lawyer and sued the postal service. The father was a truck driver and mom was a waitress. Mom was nervous about her upcoming deposition the next day, so she took a few extra sleeping pills to help with the fear. The husband woke up in the morning to find a dead wife.

Really bad situation.

I had no idea what I would say to this guy or how to deal with this situation. I began by Holding The Calm. I walked into the room and looked at him. He was chewing tobacco, had a John Deere hat pulled low over his eyes, and was slumped in a chair.  I just looked at him and said, “How in the world are you dealing with this?” He growled, “I read the Bible.”

I made my voice low and growled back. “What part?” He snarled “Job”. I got quiet and said, “Oh my gosh, you are Job.” He slid down off the chair onto the floor and I quietly sat down on the floor next to him. I didn’t touch him. I didn’t speak. After a long time, I got up and said to his shell-shocked lawyer, let’s go help this man be done with this.  By the end of the day, we got to a financial number to settle the case and didn’t have to put this man through any more pain.

By Holding The Calm, we created the space where he could be seen, valued, and safe to make resolution possible even though he barely spoke.

Want an entirely opposite story where Holding The Calm worked completely differently?

It was late at night negotiating a business deal between two high powered executives, and we locked in at Tom demanding 35 million dollars and Juan refusing to pay more than 30 million. Two big egos, a lot at stake, how to bridge this gap? By Holding The Calm, I saw that the need to win was potent. I told them that we were going to flip for the extra 5 million. They looked at me incredulously. I took a coin out of my pocket and said either we do this or arm wrestle for it. I then threw the coin in the air. Juan reached out and grabbed it midair and said, “Ok, we’ll split it. I’m a public company and I can’t have it out there that I flipped a 5 million dollar coin.” I teased them and said, “Come on, it’ll be the story of a lifetime”. After joking around a little, the tension was released, and we did, in fact, split the difference. Egos were saved. Manhood’s intact. No winners. No Losers. The case settled.

The need to win is also the need to not lose. By Holding The Calm, I was able to see that reframing a 30 million dollar dispute into a 5 million dollar dispute where one would lose and one would win, completely reframed the definition of a “win” enabling the egos to feel satisfied. All and only possible by Holding the Calm.

Want another one example of Holding the Calm?
Assume you have an agreement but there is a small gap between what one will pay and the other will accept. Hold the Calm and suggest the difference be donated to charity. They will look at you shocked. Sometimes it works because a party is really committed to a charity, sometimes it takes an evil twist. In a particularly nasty business divorce case, I suggested that each former partner decide which charity the other partner had to give his one half of the gap amount to. The power struggle was immense, and they gleefully thought about ways to punish their former partner by making him donate money to something he hated. The self-interest  to punish the other was satisfied and two international charities received nice donations.

The difference between the three scenarios?  Holding the Calm, allows us to see what each party needs then select the correct tool for the job.
Conflict is destructive. But human beings have always had difficulty talking to each other and resolving disputes. Most people are intimidated by conflict and don’t know how to successfully resolve problems when tensions are high and emotions are frayed.

And sometimes people are just argumentative.

Hesha Abrams’ new book will give you powerful ways to settle cases, improve situations and solve difficult problems with bosses, co-workers, family, friends, neighbors, clients, customers, and business associates. Hesha provides an active yet simple way to develop space for possibilities, drain the swamp of toxic emotions, and diffuse tension so that solutions can be found.  

There are seven billion people on the planet, each with their own unique fingerprint. Yet we are taught to treat everyone the same. Doesn’t that sound ridiculous? Treating everyone the same ignores the unique humanity in each of us. Personalized medicine is the new trend in healing our bodies. We need a personalized approach to heal human conflict as well. The trick is how to know what people want, what they will resonate with, and the right approach to take in defusing conflict, finding solutions and solving problems. And…it’s not hard if you have a bag of tricks to pull from.

This highly popular book provides the skills, stories, lessons, and tools to help resolve all kinds of difficult conflicts, including lawsuits, business disputes, divorces, family fights, and neighborhood quarrels. Business people, mediators, lawyers, counselors, community leaders, and all kinds of people who deal with conflict will find this to be a humorous, practical, immediately useful guide. It’s the oxygen of conflict resolution.

Read on my friends……..

Table of Contents

Preface: Why I’m Sharing these Secrets with You

Introduction to Holding the Calm -- Picking the Right Solution for the Right Situation

Section 1  Speak into the Ears that are Hearing You

1  You Talk to People for a Living?
2  Speak into the Ears that Hear You
3  Almost, Never, Always, Rarely, a Lot
4  How to Listen to What Is Not Said
5  The Magic of Silence
6  High Emotions Allow Vomiting and Diagnosing
Section 2  Situational Awareness -- Reading the Room
7  There Is No Problem, Only a Solution Waiting to Be Found - Find the Self-Interest
8  Be the Grown-Up In the Room
9  Winning? Or Not Losing? Leave Them with Their Sword
10 When Everything Is Hitting the Fan
11 Us Versus Them Mentality -- But I Am So Reasonable!
12 It’s a Dollar and She Lives In a Hut –- The Dangers of Over Negotiating and Negotiating with Jerks

Section 3  People Are Weird and Wonderful
13 The Blame Game
14 Politeness and Civility Matters
15 We’re All Animals in the Zoo
16 A Dozen Roses – Seeking Advice
17 Cultural and Disability Considerations
Section 4  Bringing It Home, Closing the Deal, Solving the Problem, Settling the Case, Resolving the Dispute
18 Create Small Winnable Victories
19 Don’t Take No for an Answer
20 Going Postal-Not

Conclusion -- Your Turn

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