How many times have you come across a person or situation that has gotten you so mad that you lose all control and start yelling and screaming?
Did the yelling and screaming make you feel better?
The fact of the matter is the answer would be “yes” – yelling and screaming is an emotional outlet and the fact that each one of us have probably done a little bit of this emotional release would be to say that we are “Human”.
However, for some people, yelling and screaming is their main form of communication. Why?…. because it works for them.
They get what they want, when they want because people give into “Screamers” because they:
- Want to shut them up
- Are intimidated by them
- Want to avoid conflict
The motive behind “Screamers” is that they want respect from others, yet they don’t realize that their actions actually do the exact opposite and if there was any respect there at all, it is lost.
On the website www.communicationandconflict.com Mediator Alan Sharland offers three Principles for Communication and Conflict.
Principle #1: That we treat each other with Respect
The following are excerpts from his post:
“When I talk about respect in relation to this Principle, I don’t mean the fear based subservience that can occur towards people with power or money or status. I mean the personal, open hearted consideration of another human as being of equal worth to ourselves, whoever they are, whatever they have done-and this also means not considering them to be ‘better’ than us – that’s back to the other form of ‘respect’ again.”
Principle #2: That we do not interrupt one another
“Whenever we talk at the same time as someone else, we interrupt each other and it is almost impossible for effective communication to occur between us.”
Principle #3: We have the right to pass
“Sometimes we want the right to pass. We want to not have to deal with something or participate in something because, for us at that moment, it is just not what we want to do.”
These are three great principles for communication and wonderful rules to live by. However, what can you do if you come across a “Yeller/Screamer”?
Here is a technique introduced by Bill Eddy who has his Masters in Social Work and is a lawyer/mediator in California.
This is called an E.A.R. statement
Respond to the person with Empathy, Attention and Respect
You may be asking yourself “How the heck can I respond to someone with Empathy, Attention and Respect when they are yelling at me?” The answer is; with practice you can and the results will be a calmer person. When you remain calm, the “Screamer” will actually mirror your response. When you respond to a person with E.A.R. you are letting them know you understand what they are feeling, you are telling them that you will pay attention to them and you respect them for who they are.
No time during an E.A.R. statement do you have to agree with that person- You are not “giving in” to the Screamer but rather, you are simply responding to their emotional “cry” to be heard and understood.
Now, lets go back to Alan Sharland’s Principles and see how Bill Eddy’s E.A.R. statement supports Communication and Conflict;
Principle #1 – Respect
E.A.R. has you verbally acknowledging that person respectfully while at the same time letting them know you respect their “concerns, professional position, difficult decisions….(you fill in the blank)” Word of advice here is to make sure you respond with honesty about respecting them. If there is nothing about this person that you respect then you are better off not having a “Respect” response and just respond to them with Empathy and Attention.
Principle #2 – Do Not Interrupt
As soon as you interrupt another person, you have demonstrated that you have not been listening to them. By practicing E.A.R. you are ensuring you are listening since you are going to let them know that the person’s concerns are going to be attended to.
Principle #3 – Right to Pass
Just as you Respect that individual you also can put boundaries into place which allows you to Respect yourself. E.A.R. is going to let the “Screamer” know that they have your attention but at the same time, if they continue to be highly emotional then you have the Right to Pass and calmly let them know that you have heard their concerns and you will attend to some or all of them but in order to do this, you require some time to think about the situation.
The less reactive and emotional you are when dealing with a “Yeller” or “Screamer” the better it will be for both of you. Follow these Principles and practice E.A.R. and if you find any of this challenging then let me know and I will lend you my E.A.R.