How to De-escalate a Situation

How to De-escalate a Situation

In today's world, it's not hard to see that situations can quickly spiral out of control. It's essential to know how to de-escalate a situation and prevent it from becoming worse.

Whether it's been the last 18 months or even just the last two, we've seen how big talk can often lead to regrettable outcomes. 

As a leader, solopreneur, entrepreneur, or small business owner, it's crucial to stay focused on the outcome you want, remember that you're dealing with a person, and maintain a solutions mindset. By doing these three things, you can deescalate any situation and keep the conversation on track. Let's dive in and explore these strategies for diffusing tense situations.


When it comes to de-escalating tense situations, my wife has a natural talent. I've had the privilege of witnessing her in action, and I must say, I am thoroughly impressed by her skills. 

In one instance, I observed this person grow increasingly agitated and raise their voice. Instead of matching their energy, my wife intentionally chose to lower her voice and remain calm. This technique worked wonders as it allowed the other person to see that they were arguing with themselves.

Remember, it takes two people to argue, and my wife's decision to stop arguing and instead speak more quietly and deliberately allowed the other person to bring their energy level down to hers. 

As she stayed focused on her desired outcome and kept in mind that the other person may have other things going on in their life, my wife's calm demeanor helped to de-escalate the situation in just five short minutes.

Not only did this technique get her the solutions she was looking for, but it also helped her to build a better relationship with the person. Remember, de-escalating a situation takes skill and finesse.

So, the next time things start to get out of control, try staying in control and de-escalating the situation. You'll be surprised at how effective this approach can be in diffusing tense situations.


When faced with a potentially volatile situation, it is essential to remain calm. The first step in de-escalating a situation is to regulate your emotions and remain composed. If you become angry, agitated, or defensive, it can quickly escalate the situation, making it more challenging to resolve.

By staying calm, you can help to reduce tension and create a safe environment for all parties involved. Remaining calm can also help you to think more clearly and make better decisions.

Remember, de-escalation is not about winning an argument or proving your point; it is about finding a peaceful resolution to a potentially dangerous situation. By staying calm, you can help to prevent the situation from escalating further and create a path to finding a peaceful resolution.


The second crucial factor in deescalating a situation is to remember the person you're talking to. Some people are easily offended, and if you're not careful, you could unintentionally hurt their feelings and derail the conversation.

As a result, it's crucial to be aware of what you say and stay alert to changes in the person's attitude and speech. Pay attention to body language, posture, and behavior to gain context clues on how to proceed with the conversation.

If you suspect that something you said may have offended them, it's crucial to backtrack, apologize or clarify your intentions, and keep moving forward. 

Ignoring the person's emotions can lead to a further escalation of the situation and cause lasting damage to the relationship. By acknowledging their feelings and apologizing for any unintentional offense, you can bring the conversation back to a productive place.

In this blog post, we'll explore how to develop emotional intelligence and read people's emotions to successfully deescalate tense situations.


Lastly, when it comes to deescalating a situation, it's important to stay in a solutions-oriented mindset. It's easy to get caught up in the heat of the moment and allow a conversation to go off the rails, but you have to be the bigger person (yeah, that’s a running theme) and remember why you came into the conversation in the first place. 

Staying in a solutions-oriented mindset is crucial. When conversations go off track, ask questions to gently steer them back to the main point and focus on finding solutions.

It's easy to engage in personal attacks or get sidetracked by tangents, but by staying focused on solutions, you can achieve a positive outcome and avoid escalating the situation. 

Keep these three strategies in mind to deescalate situations and achieve positive outcomes in your conversations.

About the author 

Dr. David Arrington

David a husband, father and the principal of Arrington Coaching. He and his team work with leaders, teams, organizations, and entrepreneurs. He regularly speaks and writes on leadership development, team alignment, and peak performance.

  • Dr. Dave,
    This was great. Love the “keep in a solutions mindset”. I am the lead nurse in my floor and with everything going on in our country you can imagine it comes to the floor and sometimes it’s loud just among the nurses. Remembering our mission is to serve the Veterans and care for them is a great way to keep In The solutions mindset. Your wife is a genius and I just have to remember to use these tools at home too. Have a Blessed 4 th.

    • Hey Kate,

      Firstly, thank you for being on the front lines caring for our veterans. I readily concur that my wife is a genius. I’m really glad the video helped. Staying focused on the desired outcomes will help you avoid being drawn into and adding to the chaos. Feel free to share it with other nurses that may need to be change agents who can “lower the volume.”

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