Summary: With just three simple phrases, you can calm an angry or overly emotional person down so that a reasonable discussion can be had.
If it were possible to only interact with rational and sane people then things would be a lot easier. Unfortunately, the world is full of overly emotional and angry people looking to make an issue out of anything. Since you can’t avoid these people and will have to work or do business with them, learn how to keep a level head and keep them calm at the same time.
Phrase #1: Please speak more slowly so that I can help.
You may not be getting all the information you need because they are crying uncontrollably or yelling at the top of their lungs. The reason this phrase works is because it causes the person to break the pattern in their head. They expect resistance, but when you offer help and a willingness to listen to them, they will be surprised.
Phrase #2: What would you like me to do?
Quite often the angry, emotional person knows what they want so find that out. The best way to help someone is by knowing what they want or need.
Phrase #3: Ask them any question.
To get the conversation back on to any kind of a constructive path, asking them something will get it there. Explaining or telling them something will only make them fight back more. No matter what the person is claiming or saying, ask them a question to discover why they are acting like that. The act of listening is a way of acknowledging their emotional state, not just the content of what they say.
Do you have any experience asking these kinds of questions and having it change the confrontation to a more positive experience? Tell us about it in the comments below.
Learn more about working with difficult people in these articles:Calm Angry, Emotional People with 3 Phrases by Amanda Griffin