De-escalation is not about resolving issues but about ensuring that the participants are able to engage their logical and rational brains, not their Fight, Flight or Freeze reactions. Suggestions from our presenter Duncan Holland of Total Risk for sensitively handling conflict are:

  • Fully prepare for an interaction that may give rise to conflict;
  • Try to understand the other person’s underlying contributors/emotions;
  • Get your own logical brain engaged by breathing and counting or using affirmations or grounding techniques;
  • Provide empathy and understanding not advice – empathy de-escalates emotions;
  • Show empathy by asking questions, finding common ground or, if appropriate, careful use of humour;
  • 90% of communication is non-verbal so ensure your tone and body language are congruent with your words;
  • Try to suspend your internal judgement of the other party;
  • Don’t excuse, justify or defend;
  • If it’s not working, an effective question to the other person can be “what do you think should happen next?”

You can catch up on this Juno Learning event, or share it with friends and colleagues, at Juno Legal Video Resources.