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De-escalate: how to calm an angry person in 90 seconds or less

Ibadete Fetahu
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’This book is suitable for anyone who would like to develop their communication techniques in challenging situations. ’

Title: De-escalate: how to calm an angry person in 90 seconds or less

Author: Douglas E Noll

Publisher: Beyond Words 

Reviewer: Jennie Walker, divisional lead nurse for Research and Innovation, Surgery Division, Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust

What was it like?

This book describes techniques, which allow the reader to develop a conscious awareness of emotions during conversation. There are plenty of examples to illustrate how listening to and labelling emotions can de-escalate a variety of situations, such as when dealing with angry children, co-workers, friends and family, or in the classroom. The underlying theme of affect labelling runs throughout the book with subsections focusing on other issues such as bullying, results-based coaching and how to be civil in an uncivil society. The book is written in a manner that is easy to follow and understand.

What were the highlights?

Highlights of the book include multiple examples of how to move beyond words to enable recognition and acknowledgement of the emotions within dialogue. The book directs the reader to identify the emotions underpinning the communication and find the root cause of the problem. There are also simple, useful tips and strategies which can be used to enhance personal ability to communicate in stressful situations.

Strengths and weaknesses:

The examples of affect labelling become repetitive with the numerous illustrations of how this approach can be used in different situations, however, this may be considered a helpful reinforcement by some.

The contexts presented within the book may underestimate the complexity of adult life and the direct application of this skill, as described within the text, has the potential to come across as patronising if used ineffectively or at inopportune moments. Nevertheless, this skill is a useful addition to the repertoire of techniques for skilled communicators.

Who should read it:

This book is suitable for anyone who would like to develop their communication techniques in challenging situations. 

de escalate

de escalate

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