By Carol Fredrickson
When confronted with an angry situation you have to be sure you are adequately prepared. You must be able to soothe a situation before it escalates into something far more dramatic; potentially damaging mutual respect, order in the workplace and productivity levels.
Verbal communication makes up 30% of all communication and is a key factor in de-escalating a potentially volatile situation.
Imbed these 2 essential communication rules into your brain so you go into auto-pilot when confronted with a volatile situation:
1. Be calm. I know what youre thinking – easier said than done – especially when you have a weapon pointed at you or are witnessing a complete emotional meltdown of a co-worker or stranger.
When attempting to manage angry people it is imperative that you keep your voice calm and neutral at all times. This doesnt mean that you cannot hold a firm and authoritative tone, but be sure that its within a calm and neutral context so that the situation doesnt continue to escalate.
Breathehellip;.thinkhellip;.stay in a rational state. The angry person will follow your lead if you stay calm and collected. Going into freak out mode will only make the situation worse.
2. Control speech through volume, tone and pace.
Keep the volume in which you are speaking in mind. When confronted with an angry situation most people change the pitch of their voice completely. People often manipulate their voices to one of two extremes – they either speak very loudly or very quietly. Both of these can anger the listener even more as it can sound like you are talking down to them. Alternatively, it can be difficult for them to understand you, and frustration builds.
Some people can also change the tone of their voice. So you will find people who have either high inflections at the end of a sentence or really low inflections. This again, can cause confusion, frustration and can sound like a form of disrespect to the other.
Keeping a steady pace is also extremely important. Despite attempting to calm down a situation, by speeding up your speech pattern or slowing it down to a crawl you will have the opposite effect and could find yourself facing an exploding listener ready to move the confrontation to the next level of aggressiveness. As well as learning how to speak in a neutral yet firm and authoritative tone, you should also be very aware of and control the pace of your voice.
Our vocal communication can either inflame a situation or de-escalate it. Practice and embed these four words: BE CALM – CONTROL SPEECH so you are prepared for any volatile situation life throws your way. When faced with an angry person, dig deep within yourself to be calm and manage your volume, tone and pace. It is important to avoid any pattern that could be deemed as aggressive, condescending or nonchalant, as these will ultimately trigger an angry response rather than de-escalate the situation.
Carol Fredrickson is the CEO and Founder of Violence Free. Clients rely on her skills and expertise to prevent 6 and 7 figure lawsuits and avert workplace violence. Over 100,000 people have benefited from Carols powerful messages. Visit a href=http://www.violence-free.com/http://www.violence-free.com/a for Carols most requested topics that may be a fit for your next meeting. Reach Carol at firstname.lastname@example.org or 623-242-8797.