Nothing is more stressful than being shouted at and having to deal with unreasonable people. If you work in a customer-facing role or with the public you might have to put up with this on a regular basis. So what can you do?


Control what is happening

Imagine the cross person is in the distance. Or make a glass screen between you and them, put a volume control on it and turn them down.

All this will tell your unconscious mind that you are in control. This will help you protect yourself and make sure you do not engage in their emotions. Don’t let them get to you.


The message not the medium

Listen to what the angry person is saying but not the way they say it. So focus on the content, not on the breathless delivery, the high pitch or the shouting. If they make a personal remark directed to you, imagine that remark just falling to the ground and being swept away.


Show you are listening

The way to make an angry person even angrier is to ignore them. So make sure they can see that you are listening. Nod and engage.

Try to show you care but try to avoid saying sorry too much. Show that you are capable of seeing things from the angry person’s point of view by using phrases such as: “that must be very hard.” “I can see this is upsetting for you.” Use the person’s name if you can, but not too much. Too much sounds patronising and that will make the cross person even crosser.


Swap places

Show you care by putting yourself in the cross person’s place. Say something like “I don’t like it when that happens either.”

Be honest, say what you can do and what you cannot and don’t be shameful or under confident. The situation is as it is.

When the encounter is over take some time to regain your balance. Then imagine putting the incident in a box and putting it away.