Too often when communicating, specifically in conversation, we can rush to respond or react. Specially - if what we are hearing feels like it is directed at us in a criticizing, blaming or aggressive manner.
Hands up if you've been in this situation: you have a conversation with your partner and what started like a generic household chat, somehow escalated into a shouting match - and nothing was resolved! In fact, you both feel worse than when you started!
Chances are you (or both) focused more on responding (or reacting) instead of really listening. Next time, how about you try this: every time you hear something which normally would trigger a reaction, take 5 seconds to reflect about why your partner might have said that.
In other words: reflect instead of reacting.
Most likely the reason is NOT to hurt, humiliate or annoy you - probably to solve the issue at hand.
Similarly, if a feedback or performance review session with your manager escalates with you reacting to what you are hearing, leaving you feeling attacked, criticised and without a sense of empowerment, this could be another chance to reflect on the feedback received, with the big picture in mind.
If you approach a conversation, or even a discussion as an opportunity to resolve a conflict, and take the time to reflect instead of responding, you might be surprised to find that more things will get resolved, and less conflict will happen. Give it a go!