If you’re like most people, you’ve probably yelled “down calm” in response to an angry person yelling at you. Did it work? Probably not.
Rarely does yelling “calm down” to an emotionally charged person actually defuse the situation. Usually the angry person will respond right back by hostilely telling you to calm down.
So what works? Try this: “Whoa, let me make sure I understand you.” It’s not a fail proof retort, but empathy often the extinguishes the flames of frustration. Why? Because no matter how frustrated, most angry people won’t let that emphatic response slide. What you’re saying is essential, “Let me make sure we’re on the same page.” No matter how upset, almost any angry person will stop and listen to make sure you heard them correctly.
Empathy is a powerful tool in a professional persuader’s toolkit. Telling a person they’re heard is one of the easiest and least costly things you can do. Use empathy to defuse anger and move the conversation forward.
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What are your thoughts? Will you try empathy next time? Post a comment.