How to Verbally De-escalate Workplace Conflict

Aug. 21, 2018
Jan Fox, author, speaker and founder of Fox Talks, shares her approach to using words to avoid dangerous situations in the workplace.

Jan Fox will get in front of a crowd and hold up a picture of the actress, Eva Longoria. While the picture has no meaning to her presentation, the name EVA represents her approach to verbal de-escalation. By showing the audience a picture of the actress it is more likely the audience will remember what the acronym stands for, she says.

Fox, author, speaker and founder of Fox Talks, shares her approach to EVA Empathy and using language in the face of workplace conflict.

E: In the face of an employee disagreement or argument, show empathy. Say, "I get it.", "I hear you." and "I know you're in a tough spot." After hearing those words people will probably keep talking, which in return gives the boss time to figure out what caused the situation, she says.

V: The next step for the boss is for the boss to show his or her own vulnerability, Fox says. Share an example of a time that shows your own vulnerability, she says. Say, "I've been there." or "I couldn't get along with my boss either."

A: The third step is advocacy. The last step is to say, "Look, we're on the right track to a resolution." and "I understand more now so we can figure this out."

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