Nobody wants to have to face a confrontation, and usually even the direst of conflicts and disagreements could be resolved through diplomacy. However, there may be times when a conflict escalates to a messy confrontation. Let’s hope this never happens, but just in case it does, here are some quick tips on how to deal with a confrontation:
- Take control of yourself. Okay, so the other person’s screaming and out of control. Have the upper hand by maintaining your cool. Bite back your tongue and don’t even try to scream back. Remember, the worst scenario during a confrontation is if you both end up screaming at each other and if the verbal attacks lead to physical violence. Of course keeping your calm might prove to be difficult, considering that you’re in an unnerving situation, but try taking slow, deep breaths. This helps slow down your heartbeat and lower your blood pressure. Once the other person grasps that he doesn’t seem to be getting to you through his emotional outbursts, he’d start feeling silly and calm down.
- Don’t worry about the other people are thinking. You may be in a public place, with people who know you. It’s actually better this way because you’d have plenty of witnesses in case the other person becomes physically abusive. All focus will be on the other person, and he’d certainly be the one who’d look stupid, not you.
- Don’t give the other person more ammunition. If you respond to anything that they are saying, then you’ll just effectively be extending their tirade. Case in point: if they would start screaming, “You’re a scumbag!” and you respond,”Hey, calm down.” That will just launch a whole round of other expletives: “You’re a moron! Why will I calm down?” etc, etc. That’s why it’s really better to just let the person blow off his steam. If the other person seems to require some sort of response from you, however, be careful to keep your responses neutral. You can just nod, and show that you are listening, then once the other person pauses for air, you could say something like, “Okay, I can see that you’re really mad about this, why don’t we set up an appointment later so we can resolve this issue?”
- Really try to hear out that other person. Try to make the confrontation constructive by listening to what the other person seems to be saying. Is he angry because of some decisions you’ve made in the office? Maybe you weren’t aware that your decisions had harsh impacts, and this confrontation may be a wake-up call to you. Just remember, when the other person is highly emotional, it isn’t the time to reason out with him. All you need to do at this point is to listen and consider where all this emotion is coming from.
- Keep your word. When you successfully manage to calm the other person down and you’ve promised to see him later for a much more professional discussion, do remember to keep this appointment. Otherwise you’d better be expecting a much louder confrontation, and this time it’d be harder to convince him to calm down.
There you have it! These are just some of the ways to deal with confrontation. Remember, the key here is to keep you cool and to not be infected with the other person’s emotions. Good luck!