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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

6 Steps In Avoiding A Conflict

If you're in the music business in just about any way, shape or form, you're creative on some level. And let's face it - if you're creative, you have a vision. That vision can be about how a song should be written, how the music should sound, how your project is marketed, or any of a million other similar things.

But whenever creative types get together, sooner or later the sparks may fly as those visions come into conflict. That's why it's essential to have a strategy in place to deal with the head butting as it arises. Here's an excerpt from Chapter 11 of my book The Music Producer's Handbook that covers just how to handle those inevitable disagreements.

"Being in any relationship requires at least some compromise and working with a group of musicians is no different from what you’d expect between family, friends, girlfriends, boyfriends, wives, husbands, bosses and co-workers. There are times where you just have to bend in order to keep the peace. 

While compromise is easy for some people, others have a personality that would never allow it and a conflict occurs. Here are some effective steps that you can take to state your case in a way that should resolve or mediate the conflict.

1. Cool off first - Conflicts can’t be solved when emotions are running hot. Take some time to get away from the problem for a bit and brainstorm on exactly what the conflict is, how it was caused, and most important, a possible solution.

2. Present accolades, support and respect - The first thing to do is acknowledge the person’s accomplishments and talent. Something like, “I want to start by saying that I think the tracks we’ve captured are really great, and you’re playing your parts way better than I ever thought possible.” 

3. Analyze why the problem occurred - If you give a clear explanation of why you think there’s a problem or why the problem or conflict has occurred, you set the initial groundwork for solving the conflict. If the other person knows exactly what your side of the story is, you might find more often than not that you’re both on the same page, but on different sides of it.

4. Take responsibility and use “I” messages
- If you have a part in a conflict that you’re aware of, take responsibility and own up to it, but make sure that everything is from your point of view. For instance, it’s best to say, “I think you were really flat on that part,” rather than “Everybody knows that you always sing that part flat,” or worse, “You’re singing sucks, man.”

5. Describe what I or we need so the problem doesn’t happen again
- This is the solution from your point of view. “We really need you to be here a half-hour before the session so you have time to warm up. That way we won’t waste any studio time, which is costing us money.”

6. Support their success - Tell him that you want him to win, because if he wins, so do you. “The better you sound, the better we all sound,” or “Do you know how great this is going to sound once you get that part down? It’s going to kill!”

To read additional excerpts from this and other books, go the excerpt section of
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