Tips for dealing with an Angry Person

April 1, 2015

These tips are from Dr. Albert J. Bernstein, a clinical psychologist with over 40 years of experience and the author of a number of great books on dealing with people problems. They are a summary of a more detailed blog post on How To Make Difficult Conversations Easy: 7 Steps From A Clinical Psychologist

  1. Keep calm.
  2. Treat’em like a child. You can’t talk them out of emotional outbursts and getting angry over it does nothing good. Ignore the drama.
  3. Say “Please speak more slowly. I’d like to help.” Slow it down. Don’t come off like you’re fighting back and if it’s on the phone, go quiet when they’ve finished ranting. It shocks them out of their angry state.
  4. Ask “What would you like me to do?” You gotta make’em start thinking in order turn off the rage machine.
  5. Don’t make statements. Ask questions. Explaining is veiled dominance. Questions get them thinking.
  6. Start sentences with “I’d like…” not “You are…” If you start with “I” it’s hard to be seen as attacking.
  7. Let them have the last word. Don’t let your ego blow it at the last minute.
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