The Secrets to Calming Angry People in 90 Seconds

Host Maureen Langan had Douglas Noll, the award-winning author of “De-Escalate: How to Calm an angry Person in 90 Second or Less,” on to share his secrets on communicating respectively and productively in high-emotion situations.

The genesis of the book formed after Noll realized his work, teaching inmates in California Maximum Security prisons the skill set to deal with conflict situations, was making a difference.

“Inmate after inmate came up to me and said, ‘You know, if I learned these skills 20 years ago I wouldn’t be in prison today,’” said Noll.

Noll said over 250 inmates that he trained have been released with no repeating offenses.

Here are two things Noll suggested you try the next time you find yourself in a heated situation:

  1. Earn your turn- Everyone wants to get their ideas heard first, take a back seat and listen to what the other person has to say.
  2. Listen to emotions not words-After you have identified how the person is feeling state their emotion back to them in simple and direct terms, ex: You are feeling upset because___. Why does this work? The brain takes 90 seconds to process emotions, according to a study done by UCLA Neuroscientist Mathew Lieberman. When the brain is flooded by emotion its ability to logically reason hits something similar to a glitch, in which the prefrontal cortex, responsible for this function, takes a hiatus. Restating someone’s emotions back them is shown to help quiet emotional centers of the brain and allows the prefrontal cortex the time to regain function.

Listen to the full segment below to learn how Noll became a certified mediator/peacemaker.



KGO Events