I was asked to respond to a blog post on conflict, and thought you might be interested in my comment.
As the author of Toxic People: Decontaminate Difficult People at Work without using Weapons or Duct tape, I agree with the assessment. Diffusing the situation quickly with language like, “You may be right. Help me understand . . .” creates an environment that allows people to vent.
Learning to keep your own conflict thinking and mental terrorism in check is also important. Breathe deeply to get oxygen to your brain is step one.
Then shift from the emotive side of the brain (the right side) to the left side (strategic, focused, and where your language lives) by memorizing a little ditty, prayer, quote or something so when you feel yourself drifting, you can refocus your internal language.
Typically, in the moment of conflict you can’t think of the correct words to say, but an hour later you can. Train yourself to recognize the mental vampires, kill them off, and create a more positive environment and stay in control of the situation.
Check out http://www.ReactorFactorBook.com and download the free documents. I think you will find them useful as well as the information in the Toxic People book.