How to talk to someone who is difficult or angry


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At one time or another, we’ve all had to maintain a conversation with someone who is defensive, a poor listener, or a discussion dominator.

Ask Yourself:

1.      What do you think is the most difficult aspect of dealing with an emotional communication situation in the workplace?

2.      When faced with a particularly difficult communication situation, how do you handle it?

3.    What communication situations seem to be the most difficult for you to handle?

Common Communication Nightmares include (see points 8 through 17 for answers):

4.      You just don’t get it! (How do I get my message across to someone who just doesn’t get it?)

5.      Is anybody listening? (How do I get someone to listen?)

6.      Shut up and let me finish! (How do I confront someone who dominates or interrupts the conversation?)

7.    What I really want to say is . . . (How do I communicate something the other party doesn’t want to hear?)

Eliminating Communication Nightmares:

8.      Make up your mind to deal with the situation no matter how complicated or emotional it might be.

9.      Make the commitment to stick with the challenge until your message is clearly understood.

10.  Focus on the issues, not the person.

11.  Explain your perspective, communicate how you see the situation.

12.  Ask how the other person sees the situation; have them explain their perspective.

13.  Get agreement.

14.  Send a consistent message; use consistent body and verbal language.

15.  Ask questions and listen in order to create a shared understanding of the problem; give and get feedback.

16.  Use a communication style that matches the person you are working with.

17.  Be candid and caring.

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