When someone upsets you or makes you angry, the way you respond can either bring about calm and closure… or it can escalate the situation. To avoid making an upsetting situation worse, it can help to take a moment to reflect before you plan your response.
When we communicate with people, it is not just the words we speak that affect them; it’s our energy, body language, facial expressions and the tone of our voice. All of these aspects can easily stop the listener from hearing what you’re saying clearly.
By remaining calm you can explain how you feel in a more clear way. So how exactly can you do this? Here are some tips to plan a calm (and effective) response.
Write down the facts – What exactly happened? Stay present, stick to the facts and don’t bring emotion into it.
Write down your interpretation – This is your chance to note down any additional meaning you may have added to the facts. Notice any exaggerations or assumptions you’ve made.
Think about how this makes you feel – Ask yourself how you feel about what the other person said/did. What is the underlying feeling that’s bothering you? Do you feel disrespected? Isolated? Misunderstood?
Look at it from their point of view – Put yourself in the other person’s shoes and ask yourself what might have prompted them to do/say what they did. Hurtful things tend to stem from someone in pain themselves. This doesn’t necessarily justify their behaviour, it just helps you gain a better understanding of their behaviour.
Ask yourself why you need to communicate – What do you want the outcome of your conversation to have? Do you want to create resolution and healing, or are you hoping to ‘even the score’? The latter will only add more negative energy to the situation. Peace never comes from trying to hurt another person, instead it comes from making a conscious choice to focus on resolution.
Pick one or two key things you want to get across – There may be many things you want to say, but this can make it difficult to convey your message as you get lost in the emotions at play. Try to keep a focus on one or two key points – in fact, write these down so you stay on track when speaking.