De-Escalation Techniques for Diffusing a Tense Situation

de-escalation techniquesMost tense situations involving an irate person can be diffused before the incident gets physical. Even with onsite security, you or your staff may have to calm a situation before security personnel arrive at the scene. Here are some of the de-escalation techniques professional security and law enforcement teams use.

Listen Intently

Angry people want to vent and be heard. Provide a listening ear to understand the person’s source of frustration. To de-escalate the situation be an active listener and only interject when you need clarification.


To resolve conflict, listen and apologize even if you believe the angry person is unreasonable. This isn’t about right and wrong; it’s about resolving conflict peacefully. A violent confrontation isn’t worth standing your ground by insisting that you are right. Remember, angry people earnestly believe they have a legitimate grievance even if others may not think so.

Respectfully Disagree

Contrary to belief, you don’t have to take the “customer is always right” stance. It’s acceptable to disagree with an angry customer and say so. However, frame the disagreement in a way that shows you are open to the other point of view. Your language should be along the lines of “I disagree, but I understand your perspective.”

Be Mindful of Body Language

Your body language may give off subtle signals. You may be perceived as aggressive without even realizing it. Avoid the following body language:

  • Pointing your finger directly at the person
  • Shrugging your shoulders
  • Crossing your arms or placing hands on hips
  • Constantly changing facial expressions.

Also, if possible, you and the angry person should hash out the issue while sitting down.

De-Escalation Techniques Prevent Physical Confrontations

Industries like hotels and banks see their fair share of offended customers. Squadron Protective Services can keep the situation from getting out of hand. De-escalation techniques ensure situations are calmed with words and not with fists.

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