How to Defuse a Verbal Attack

Have you ever been verbally attacked by someone? It hurts and our natural reaction is to fight it, but this is the worst thing you can do.

Fighting what someone has to say doesn’t make the person’s upset go away. It gives it more power. The person gets more upset and blasts you even more. Then you get more upset and resist the other person even more. This quickly evolves into a cycle of conflict, where everyone gets hurt.

The key to avoiding this is simple. Listen. Instead of fighting what the person has to say, pull it out of the person. When you do this, the upset loses power.

To see how this works, find a time in your life when you were upset and communicated it. You got it off your chest. What happened to the upset when you did this? It lost its power and went away. The same thing happens when someone else communicates his or her upset. It loses power and goes away.

The next time someone is upset at you, encourage the person to say whatever he or she is upset about. You don’t have to like what the person is saying or agree with it. You don’t have to do anything. Just listen. Hear what the person has to say and hear it from that person’s perspective.

As you do this, you defuse the upset. When the upset is gone, you can have a conversation about what needs to be done. The ability to listen is one of the most important skills you can ever learn.

Article selected from Copyright © 2010 Bill Ferguson – All Rights Reserved

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