Archive for July, 2013

When Anger Strikes

July 11, 2013

Steps to defusing another person’s anger.

Listen. When someone expresses his/her anger, your first reaction may be to defend yourself or to try to calm the person with your words. But doing so may easily escalate the situation. Remain calm and silent as the person vents – unless you feel as though the person might become physical, in which case you should seek safety immediately.

Maintain a neutral stance. Keep your face and posture relaxed and open. Expressing any tension or aggressiveness may make the person angrier.

Keep a level voice. An excited or loud voice also may increase the person’s anger. Speak slowly and with a low voice.

Use reflective listening. When the moment permits, restate what the person is saying, using your own words. Begin with, “If I understand you correctly, you’re saying….” This is called reflective listening.

Use the person’s name when you speak. This makes your speech personal and friendly.

Use calming statements. “[The situation] must have really been uncomfortable for you” or “I’m sorry this has happened to you” are good calming statements.

Problem solve. “How can the situation be made better?” or “What can be done about this?” are questions that may lead to a solution.

Use numbers. An angry person is operating from the emotional right side of the brain. To move the person to the logical left side of the brain, list items using numbers. “Let’s see, one, you didn’t get A, which, two, led you to feeling B, which, three, made you do C….” Getting the person to switch sides of the brain in this way may calm him/her down.