Have you ever been in the situation where, what started out as your average weekly meeting has spiralled out of control? Someone decided to point the finger at ‘Blameless Bob’ and now the tension has started to rise, lips are starting to compress, faces are going red and then ‘Crack’ a pencil is snapped in someone’s bear hands.... things are about to get real!
In todays high pressure business environment it can sometimes feel like a huge honey pot of stress and anxiety. Situations can escalate very quickly, the rise in stress often going unnoticed until its to late and people are about to verbally tear others apart (or in extreme cases get physical)
Despite having some Jedi like powers, I am not quite the Zen Master who is able to keep it together in every situation, that being said I do know a few clever tools that can take a boiling conversation and put it on a gentle simmer.
Next time you are faced with rising tension give one of these seven tips a try.
#1 Create space
Try to create a little extra distance, either a small step backward or lean back, think of this as giving some breathing room.
#2 Break Your Gaze
Staring can be viewed as a form of aggression so relieve some tension and break your gaze for a short moment.
#3 Tilt Your Head
Tilting your head to one side will make you appear more empathetic, it shows them you are listening.
#4 Open Up
Don't stand with your arms crossed or arms akimbo, this can make you seem uncooperative and defensive.
#5 Break Their State
Get them to move or change their body position, the way we hold ourselves effects the way we feel, a great way to do this is ask the person to walk with you to a new location “let’s discuss this in the room down the corridor”.
#6 Turn slightly
Going face to face, or head to head (standing dead in front of someone) can come across as confrontational, when tension is rising angle slightly away
Take a deep breath and exhale longer than you inhaled, this should cause the other person to mirror you, having a calming effect on them (be subtle with this, don’t create a big to-do by being noisy).
There you have it, seven stress reducing tips.
Next time you see the fists starting to clench, the anger stare coming on or the face starting to tense up, take a moment to give one of these tips a try.
If you have any tips on how to calm the beast please share.
Thanks for dropping by,
Anthony Laye - Behaviour Expert // Mentalist // Speaker