Stop Conversations from Getting Too Heated: 3 Tips to Keep Everyone Calm

Putting the brakes on negativity before it causes trouble


Whether you’re meeting with a few of the slackers on your project team or talking to a hot-headed co-worker, certain discussions can get heated.

Here are some strategies to help you keep the peace, courtesy of the Harvard Business Review.

Lay the ground rules

With any sort of discussion that could become tense, specific rules need to be in place to govern how everyone will communicate.

To make things fair for everyone, encourage all parties involved to provide their own ideas for making the conversation inclusive.

Example: Start the discussion by giving everyone two uninterrupted minutes to express their viewpoint on the subject.

Know when to listen

Sometimes the best way to communicate is to stay silent, especially when you’re trying to avoid angry feelings.

Fully listening to each person’s ideas is key here. The more you listen to them, the better you’ll understand their perspective.

Plus, listening to people makes them feel respected – and in turn, they’ll respect you more.

They’ll be more willing to listen to you without blowing you off.

Collaborative planning

In group settings, people may be hesitant to speak up because of one person dominating the conversation. This can contribute to tension.

To stop this phenomenon in its tracks, encourage collaboration.

The group can decide who should get floor time based on what info they have to contribute.

Additionally, there should be a set time limit for each person to speak so no one monopolizes the discussion.

This keeps things civil and equal.


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