In today’s world of violence, we need to prepare ourselves for hostile situations. Be alert to what is going on in the area around you. If you’re on the job, work out a signal with your co-workers to let them know you’re in trouble and need assistance. Know where the nearest phone is located.
Confused or frustrated individuals need to feel they are being heard. Listen carefully and be patient. If the person is unable to clarify what the problem is, start asking questions. Paraphrase what you think you’re hearing. Help them define the problem and what they need. Let them know you understand their feelings and want to help them. Define your role and abilities for them. Let them know what you can and can not do. If you can’t solve their problem, tell them who can and how they can reach that person.
When tempers flare, your best response is to listen. Let them ventilate. Anger that isn’t diffused will build up to hostility. The best way to maintain your cool when they lose theirs, is to understand their anger isn’t a personal attack. They are mad at the situation. Watch your body language and tone of voice. Your words only deliver 7% of the message you communicate and the other 93% is body language. Keep your hands in front of you. A confused person might lash out or wonder what you’re hiding if you put your hands behind you.
Explain that you want to help them, but you can’t if they speak to you in a hostile manner. If you can’t calm the irate person down or the situation gets dangerous, walk away and call the police.