Trying to get through to someone who is angry or acting irrationally can be very frustrating. It’s also easy to dismiss their anger or write them off. However, in business and in life that is not always an option.
There are some ways to defuse someone’s anger and bring them back into a more rational frame of mind. So here are a few simple things anyone can do to calm a situation down.
Don’t get worked up
Remain calm. When people are angry don’t respond with anger. This will make them feel their anger is justified and simply fuels further anger. This will escalate the situation. Your goal is to calm them down.
Take a deep breath. Remember the person is not angry at you, but often with something completely different. You’re just the recipient of their free-floating hostility. Keep calm and they’ll work through the anger. They could just need someone to listen to them. Calmly hear them out and that could be all they need.
Put yourself in their shoes
You never know what is going on behind the doors of someone else’s life. This could be the worst day of their life. They could have gotten some terrible news. They could be dealing with a major life change. Listen to what they’re saying.
Try to put yourself into their situation for a just a moment. Think about how you’d feel if your cat just died or your significant other just dumped you or you lost your job. Everyone has bad days and on those days we have to talk to people. This could be one of those days.
Be clear and concise
Language barriers and jargon can lead to frustration. If someone doesn’t speak the same language as you, be patient with them, they may not know all the words you do. Find smaller, simple words to ease the language barrier.
Each industry has its own terminology, it’s called jargon. And just because you understand what something means, there is no guarantee the person you’re talking to will. Try to avoid jargon and use plain language.
Use their name
People don’t like to be thought of as a number or just another faceless consumer. Address them by their name and make a personal connection. Try to make them special even in the tiniest of ways. Make them feel that you care about their problem and talk to them like a person.
You’re here to help
Life is rough and we’re all in this together. Show them that you care. We all have days where we need someone to reach out and help us. The cause of anger or irrational behavior can be stress or sadness about something unrelated.
Empathize with the person and let them see that you care. You feel their pain. You understand the anger and you’re here to help them out. They have a problem and you’re here to fix it.
There is no better feeling than when someone is taking care of you. I’ve seen anger melt away when the person knew I was there to solve their problems and make things better for them. Be that problem solver!
Realize sometimes there is no winning
Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, there is no way to get through to someone being irrational. If they’re irrational and angry they may just need to vent and get it out of their system. In this case, just let them do so. Endure the fury and once they’ve let the anger go, they may be much more reasonable.
Unfortunately, there are some cases where no matter what you do, you still won’t get through to them. In this case, let it go. You can only do as much as you can.