These days, everyone is stressed out, and patience is running low. It is easy to perceive every facial expression and vocal intonation as a slight. Making concise and respectful choices feels like a lost art. When one person challenges another, there are some simple de escalation techniques that you can use to de escalate the situation and avoid a fight or the breakdown of a personal or professional relationship.
Respect Personal Space to De Escalate a Tense Situation
Your body language can effectively convey your respect for a person’s feelings. It is hard to remain calm when an angry person is getting in your face and encroaching on your personal space, even when no one is exchanging words. By keeping your body language neutral, you may find that the other person’s behavior becomes less confrontational. He or she will feel less threatened if you maintain a respectful physical distance when discussing challenging questions.
Watch Your Body Language
Nonverbal communication is one of the more effective but underrated de escalation techniques. You can tell a lot about a person’s emotions through nonverbal cues such as facial expressions and body positions. If you have trouble identifying another person’s anxiety or identifying your own emotions, you can get better at these skills through de escalation training. Nonverbal communication is as important as active listening when it comes to preventing acting out behavior.
Focus on the Other Person’s Feelings
When trying to resolve a conflict, don’t fall into the trap of trying too hard to change another person’s behavior. Instead, de escalation begins when each person in the conflict tries to understand the other’s feelings and perspectives. Devoting a few moments to active listening can put you on the path to de escalating a conflict. It can also help you avoid getting caught up in a power struggle. When possible, give the person options instead of bombarding him or her with challenging questions.
The Basic Principles of De Escalation Training Programs
De escalation training is not just for people whose professions require a very high level of interpersonal intelligence. You do not have to be a diplomat or a hostage negotiator to understand that fighting to the finish is not the only way to resolve disagreements. People from all personal and professional backgrounds can benefit from learning practical de escalation techniques. An ounce of active listening is worth a pound of conflict resolution. De escalating a tense situation before it escalates into a conflict is the best way to go.
How to Avoid Unnecessary Altercations
Most extreme situations are preventable. If you pay attention to nonverbal cues, you can usually tell when your behavior is making the person’s concerns worse. One of the goals of de escalation workshops is to provide support for people who are trying to address the root problem that is causing them to have so many high-conflict interactions. Your de escalation trainer can offer concise solutions to help you learn how to make things better during a conflict instead of reacting in way that will make them worse. After the initial course, your trainer can connect you to additional resources to help you manage your anger and respond to problems in a calm manner before the situation escalates.
Does Eye Contact Mean Empathy or Confrontation?
Communication styles vary from one person to another and from one social or cultural context to another. Some people look their interlocutors in the eyes to show that they are paying attention; they think it would be disrespectful not to do this. Others feel uncomfortable and upset when someone looks directly into their eyes for more than a brief moment. In your de escalation class, your teacher will talk about how to interpret a person’s response to your nonverbal behavior. Most people find it useful to use different strategies in different situations.
Dealing With Your Own Stress First
When you are angry, it is easy to blame everyone else for your stress. For example, you might insist that your family or the customers at your job are the reason you are so angry. In fact, there are probably other reasons that you are upset, even if you want to ignore these issues and not talk about them. Perhaps you are insecure about yourself or are holding on to past grudges. Wisdom is the ability to identify which circumstances are beyond your control. It is also a powerful antidote to anger.
Control Your Frustration Before It Reaches a Boiling Point
It is hard to think of open-ended questions to ask an annoying customer when you are steaming mad. You should ask these questions and find out more about the customers’ concerns before you get to the point where you are so upset that you can no longer focus on other people’s words. Remember to respond to the person in front of you instead of letting your feelings of frustration get the better of you.
Attack the Problem, Not the Person
Especially when you are dealing with a customer, it is important to maintain a professional demeanor. Even if the person is being frustratingly stubborn, it is your job to stay calm and respond politely. If you get too confrontational and the customer complains about you to your supervisor, this only makes your situation more stressful. Remember that excusing yourself from a conversation with a person who refuses to listen is one of the most effective strategies. In a calm voice, refer the person to a coworker of yours who is in a better position to offer support and address the person’s concerns.
How Quickly Should You Respond?
When customers are demanding answers, you should not ignore them. They deserve a prompt response. Customers tend to get very frustrated when they call the company’s support number and have to stay on hold for a long time. In this case, any response is better than no response at all, even if it is just a polite version of, “I don’t know, but I’m still trying to figure it out.” Of course, it also depends on you. If you are getting frustrated by so many calls to the support line from belligerent customers, then take a few moments to compose yourself before you get back on the phone to offer a response.
You Don’t Have to Be a People Person to Learn to De Escalate Stressful Situations
One of the most common misconceptions about conflict management is that it requires extraordinary levels of interpersonal skills. In fact, de-escalating conflicts is for introverts, too. Everyone deals with other people in their professional and personal life. All interpersonal interactions have the potential for conflict, and all conflicts have the potential to be stressful. Whether you work in a cubicle farm full of people who keep to themselves and pride themselves on their lack of social skills or whether you are trying to keep the peace with your teenage children who have decided that they want to be nothing like you when they grow up, your life would be much easier if you learned some techniques to stop other people’s annoying behavior from getting under your skin and stressing you out. Learning how to communicate effectively with a person you do not especially feel like dealing with is a valuable personal and professional skill that will help make your life more peaceful.
De-Escalation Does Not Always Have to Happen In Person
An increasing portion of interpersonal interactions takes place online these days, for better or for worse. Some of the most visible and populous areas of the Internet resemble a master class in how to take a minor disagreement and escalate it until it becomes an apocalyptic battle or a tense stalemate. Remote work makes it easy to turn off your camera and make a “blah blah blah” gesture with your hand whenever your coworkers say things you disagree with and get on your nerves. Addressing the disagreement directly and respectfully is much more conducive to an ongoing collegial relationship.
What Is Special About Defuse De-Escalation Training?
At Defuse, we know that conflict management is not just a series of platitudes that apply the same way in every situation. We appreciate that different individuals and organizations have different needs when it comes to de-escalating conflicts in the workplace. Therefore, we have adapted our de-escalation training curriculum to many different industries. The details of your training will be different, depending on whether you are a customer service representative, a law enforcement officer, a teacher, or a member of some other profession. We even offer training that focuses on techniques to use outside the workplace. You will find, though, that many of the de-escalation tactics you use at work are effective at home, too.
How to Get Started With Defuse De-Escalation Training
The first step to resolving conflicts more effectively and with less anxiety is just a click away. Defuse representatives will help you choose the training program that best meets your needs and those of your organization. Contact Defuse today to find out more about us.