How to Calm Down Someone Who is Angry

Have you ever had someone get angry about something in your ministry?  Unless you just started leading 5 minutes ago, the answer is "yes."

No matter what you do or how well you lead, there will be times when someone gets upset.  There will be times when their anger has a legitimate basis and other times when it does not.  Whichever the case, the important thing is knowing how to help them calm down so you can resolve the matter.

Most people are not naturally good at this.  I know I'm not.  My natural reaction is for my emotions to escalate and to become defensive.  But the good news...helping someone calm down is a skill that can be learned.  Once you've mastered this skill, it will enable you to lead through escalated emotional situations with a plan rather than emotions.

Here's a simple plan that can help you calm down someone who is angry.  Memorize these steps and you''ll become a master at helping an angry person calm down.

Clarify their anger. 
The first step is to find out what the person is angry about.  Do this by simply asking them what they are the most upset about.

Acknowledge their anger.
Rehearse back to them what they said they are angry about.

Show empathy. 
First and foremost, the person wants to be heard.  Use words like "I understand why you're angry" or "I can tell you're upset."

Give the person respect. 
The person also wants to know that you respect their feelings.  Use words like " I appreciate you sharing with me why you're upset."

Offer support.
Show them you're there to help them with their concern.  This can be done with key phrases like, "I'm gong to help you with this" or "I want to help you resolve this quickly."

Bridge the gap and partner with them.
This is a critical step.  You want to move from "me" vs. "you" to "we."  Once you bridge the gap, you'll see their anger begin to dissipate.  Use key words like "Let's work on this together" or "We can figure this out together" or "Let's partner to resolve this."

These simple steps can be used to help someone calm down in any situation.   Try it the next time you're got an angry parent, volunteer or church member in your face.