One of the unfortunate aspects of being in business, and in life itself, is dealing with confrontation. We don’t know if what we say will make things worse and we rack our brains for a way to diffuse and calm the situation.
Some people handle this better than others, however it’s never pleasant. It’s particularly difficult when we come across it in the workplace. Whether it’s with a potential client/ customer, or with a co worker.
Not only are you worried about the confrontation escalating but you also have to try and diffuse the situation in a cool and professional manner.
Luckily there are some simple techniques you can utilize that will help to calm things down!
Here are 7 tips to deal with confrontation in the workplace:
1. Ask To Borrow Something
If you notice they have a pen or something small, ask them if you could borrow it for a second. It throws them off and makes them feel in control as they have something that you ‘need’. It’s only a small favour but if they sense that control and you are thankful for it, they will begin to favour you more.
2. Nod While You Talk
Not like a bobbing dog! Subtly. If there’s something you’d like someone to agree with you on, slightly nod your head when you come to that point. This subtle movement gets the other person to subconsciously agree with you as well, making them feel less confrontational and more open to working together.
3. Use Their Name
Using someones name repeatedly in a conversation gets their attention and makes them feel as if you are acknowledging them. It’s a respectful gesture that helps to get someone to back down and it’s also really handy in allowing you to remember it!
4. Stand Beside Them, Rather Than In Front
When you stand beside someone, you seem like much less of a threat and not as intimidating. Standing beside someone signifies friendship where as during confrontation, standing face to face can trigger fight-or-flight reactions.
5. Ask For Their Help
If you are caught in confrontation, use the line “I need your help”. People don’t like the guilt that comes along with not helping someone out. It also makes you look less aggressive and more vulnerable and makes them feel more in control of the situation.
6. Use Relaxed Body Language
It seems like a given but generally, when faced with confrontation people often tense up. The worst part is that during a one on one scenario, the other person will mimic what the other is doing. To test this, fold your arms, or put your hands in your pockets during a conversation and eventually the other person will copy you. Stand straight but relax your arms, feet slightly apart. Your hands in your pockets also makes you look like much less of a threat.
7. Repeat What They Say
Listen to what the other person is saying back to you, change it a little and repeat it back to them. It shows them that you are listening to them and also that you’re validating what they are feeling. Don’t over do it and repeat everything back to them, but pick up on their main emotion and show them that you hear them, and that you understand.