De-escalation refers to the process of calming down a situation or a person who is experiencing intense emotions. It can be a very effective tool in diffusing tense situations to prevent further escalation of conflict or aggression. These are the skills that are proven to assist with De-escalation:
1. Stay Calm and Professional– It can be easy to become caught up in the emotions of a situation, but you must attempt to remain calm and composed. This will help you think more logically and help de-escalate a situation. Remember to be professional. Whatever the escalated person is complaining about or what they are calling you has NOTHING to do with you; it is built-up aggression over many previous matters that could have been built up over days, months, or even years.
2. Listen and Understand Body Language- Listening to the person who is upset or angry is essential. Pay attention to what they say and empathize with their feelings. This can help to prevent further aggression. Look for body language verbiage. Over 90 percent of the communication will be non-verbal, and the escalated person will also notice YOUR body language, so use open, non-threatening body language. For example, avoid standing too close to the person or having your arms crossed. This can help relax the other person and prevent any further tension.
3. Show Empathy and Avoid Judgment or Criticism- People want to be heard and understood; it is essential to show them that you understand their feelings and are trying to help. Also, avoid criticizing or judging the person or their behavior. This can lead to further aggression, and you can lose their trust. Instead, focus on how you can help them.
4. Offer Options- Offer the person options for how to resolve the situation. For example, you may suggest taking a break or brainstorming potential solutions together. If appropriate, offer a snack to the individual or whatever your policy allows in De-escalation remedies.
5. Make a Professional Decision- As a Professional, your goal is to de-escalate the situation. It is never to “win a fight or argument .”Therefore, use the totality of the circumstances to defuse the situation and protect all parties involved.
Remember, de-escalating a situation is not always easy and may not always work. But practicing these skills can help prevent further aggression and help you become a helpful and effective mediator. De-escalation always begins before any escalation. Therefore, be a professional, use your time at work to take a break from any of your own personal problems, and always treat people with respect; that alone will prevent some issues from arising.