Conflict, uncertainty, confusion and fear in the workplace are common issues faced by facilitator Roy Sheppard. Here he shares his theoretical framework, TIFO:

T = Trust, I = Intentions, F = Facts, O = Opinions.

25th April 2017

Whenever I’m faced with highly-emotional client problems, the first thing I’ve trained myself to notice is how some people can be brilliant at expressing their opinions so eloquently they take on the appearance of being ‘facts’. But they are still just opinions. ‘Difficult’ people can be particularly adept at creating this illusion. Separating facts from opinions is always the first step towards resolving differences.

TIFO tip 1: Ask this question often: “Is this a fact or a well-expressed opinion?” In my experience, people are stunned into temporary silence as they are forced to question their own statements, perhaps for the first time. Keep following up by asking for further clarification until you finally arrive at the verifiable facts.

TIFO tip 2: Focus on the ‘intention’ behind someone’s behaviour, rather than what happened. Don’t ever assume or guess. Ask. This also works in a marital environment; if you’re ever irritated or angry with your partner, find out what their intention was. If they were trying to do the right thing, but it turned out badly – give them a break.

TIFO tip 3: Inextricably linked to intention is trust. We trust those who consistently demonstrate their genuine concern for the needs of others. We distrust those whose primary focus is themselves. Wherever there is fear or uncertainty, we naturally revert to self-interest. Therefore, rebuilding trust must become the top priority – or intention – once you’ve separated facts from opinions.

TIFO tip 4: Play with TIFO by applying it just about anything; BREXIT, Trump or other media stories. It's a fun way to cut through the chaff and see what’s really going on.

Roy Sheppard is renowned within the conference industry as an MC, facilitator, keynote speaker, workshop and seminar speaker. A former BBC TV reporter, he can edit interviews on site. He can also coach teams to improve presentations. For more information visit www.facilitator.expert.

1 comment

  • Mary T Cleary 30th May 2017

    Very helpful and commonsensical tips. Will take note!

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