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Facing an upset client or co-worker? Try these de-escalation techniques

March 3, 2023

Problems are sure to arise when we’re dealing with other people. But there are times when we can prevent challenging situations from turning into hurtful or serious struggles. Below are some tips to help you manage those tough challenges and keep your cool.

De-escalation Techniques:

Check your body language. Ask yourself: “How is the other person seeing me?” Uncross your arms, drop your shoulders, unclench your jaw, and relax your face. Adjusting posture and facial cues to be open and soft helps disarm the other person.

Focus on your breathing. Deep breathing helps regulate your central nervous system, which can keep you from going straight into “fight” mode. The more regulated you are, the more intentional you can be with our responses.

Speak steadily. Lower your voice and slow down your words, even if the other person is yelling. This helps you maintain control of the conversation and can influence the other person to meet you at your level.

Filter your responses. Before responding to someone, pause and ask yourself: “Do I really need to say that?” or “How could this be said in a different way?”

Empathize. Try viewing the situation from the other person’s perspective. Listen to them to ask a question, not to make a point.

Schedule a time to talk. Plan to revisit the conversation at a different time when things are less heated. Doing this demonstrates respect for both you and the other person.

Work together. When a person is very defensive, it’s time to collaborate. Tell them, “Let’s work through this together, would you mind helping me?”

Article provided by CorpCare, a WSVMA member benefit Employee Assistance Program that covers all employees plus family members at a surprisingly low rate. For more information, email ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­[email protected].