De-escalation is a powerful tool to confront challenging situations. Through its approach, individuals can create positive boundaries while exhibiting an attitude of calming acceptance and genuine interest in understanding the other’s perspective.
To ease tense situations to a more positive outcome, both the Crisis Prevention Institute and Western Journal of Emergency Medicine have generated helpful advice on how one can begin de-escalating. Embark on this journey now!
Strategies For De-Escalating Heated Argument
1. Relocate to a private space.
Whenever possible, lead the patient to a quieter area for conversation that ensures their safety and privacy.
2. Use Your Breath as a Focal Point
Used to calm down intense emotions, using your body can help bring you back to a more relaxed state.
By taking a few deep breaths and focusing on the movement of air through our lungs, we can stay focused in tense situations – helping us to use effective de-escalation techniques to maintain peace.
Keeping calm and focused during disagreements is difficult yet essential. An inability to manage our breath can impede success in heated moments – Joshua Klapow, Ph.D., stresses the importance of taking control over this process for better chances of resolution.
3. Pay attention.
By taking the time to truly hear what someone has to say, you can show them that their feelings matter. Showing genuine care and interest through attentive listening may help create a calming atmosphere encouraging further discussion.
Acknowledging and honouring another’s opinion shows respect. To do this, practice patience by allowing the other person full opportunity to express their viewpoint before responding. This gives you time to truly listen and an opening for productive dialogue on resolving any differences of opinion together.
Empathetic listening is a cornerstone of productive communication. Doing so helps you uncover the root cause for contention, giving insight into what your counterpart perceives and why it matters to them — essential in resolving differences.
Demonstrate your respect and understanding by validating their emotions before expressing your opinion. This displays active listening and helps to assure that you are both on the same page.
When expressing your opinion, be sure to avoid lies and strong language. Emotions can easily run high in any argument; however, it’s best to remain composed when discussing the situation so that both parties fully understand each other. Using a calm demeanor will lead you on the path towards an amicable resolution!
Everyone makes mistakes and recognising that is an important part of owning up to our miscalculations. Showing the courage, humility, and assurance necessary for a sincere apology often takes bravery; however doing so can strengthen relationships with those we’ve hurt or wronged. An effective apology consists of three elements: expressing regret for your actions, accepting accountability without excuse-making, and offering restitution if possible.
- Apologize and say “I’m sorry”.
- Admit that your actions were incorrect.
- Describe how you will ensure it won’t happen again.
Rather than attempting to dismiss or deny someone’s feelings, it can be beneficial to accept them. Doing so could reduce hostility and help the situation instead of exacerbating anger further.
5. Show empathy and avoid judgement.
Although not unique, this individual likely joins a chorus of fellow patients in feeling overwhelmed. Understanding their perspective is essential to offering effective care.
6. Respect an individual’s personal space.
To ensure wellbeing and peace of mind, maintain a respectful distance between individuals – one-and-a-half to three feet is ideal. Additionally, when in tight spaces be mindful not to block exits as this may cause anxiety or fear for those within the area.
7. Maintain a neutral tone and posture.
In a difficult situation, remaining calm can be the most effective way of dealing with an unresponsive person. Keeping your hands relaxed and open communicates trustworthiness and may help to restore dialogue.
8. Don’t overreact.
Professionalism matters, especially when the environment is tension-filled. You can’t control a person’s actions, but by staying composed and recognising their emotions without condoning any misbehaviour it may help deescalate the situation for everyone involved.
9. Consider the reasoning behind your emotions.
Are you confident that I have a firm grasp of the situation? Could you share what strategies worked best for similar scenarios in the past? How can I offer assistance to move things forward?
10. Do not neglect difficult questions.
When facing complex challenges, remain firmly focused on the task at hand and do not let yourself be sidetracked by those trying to challenge your authority. Keep cool-headed and face the problem head-on!
Patient: “Why is that other doctor such a ________________?”
You: “What seems to be the problem?”
11. Establish your limits.
When encountering difficult behaviour, ensure the individual is met with a firm but fair approach. Provide them clear paths to compliance and be explicit in outlining potential repercussions. Ultimately, maintaining an understanding yet authoritative tone will set boundaries for interpersonal dynamics and respect.
Possible response: “Let’s remain calm so that we can have a productive conversation. What steps can be taken to achieve this?
12. It is important to set boundaries wisely.
Offer your team members the autonomy to make choices; it could lead to happier, conflict-free days. Balance structure and freedom for optimal success – set certain expectations but consider where flexibility might be beneficial.
Possible response: “I know this may be confusing, however we are obligated by federal law to check your identification.”
10. Don’t be afraid to take a pause.
Enable moments of quiet reflection to give the other person space to contemplate their circumstances and explore potential pathways forward.
11. Give yourself time to make a decision.
Offering emotional support is key in any difficult situation. Consider providing a period of reflection, so they can properly process and comprehend what has been discussed.
I’m sure you have enough on your plate to form an opinion. I’ll be back in a short while, we can then delve into the details of what conclusions you’ve come to.
David Alssema is a Body Language Expert and Motivational Speaker. As a performer in the personal development industry in Australia he has introduced and created new ways to inspire, motivate and develop individuals.
David Alssema started his training career with companies such as Telstra and Optus Communications, and then developed Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) within workplace training as principal of Paramount Training & Development.
As an author/media consultant on body language and professional development David has influenced workplaces across Australia. He contributes to Media such as The West Australian, ABC Radio, Australian Magazines and other Australia Media Sources.