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Daniel Goleman, author of the New York Times best seller, Emotional Intelligence said:

“Out of control emotions make even smart people look stupid!”

How can you resolve a situation when you are dealing with a complete hot head? It can be tough and it is also completely doable. The most important thing to remember is that communication starts with you! You usually have zero control over the other person’s feelings and actions so start with what you do have control over—YOU!

Here are some suggestions to stay in control in the middle of a communication firestorm.


You might be thinking, “Thanks a lot, Gina. I’ve been doing that for years and I’m pretty good at it! What’s your point?” When we are feeling attacked, we often hold our breath and don’t even realize we are doing it. Sometimes we reduce the amount of oxygen to our brain to as little as 20 percent of what we need!

How can you think rationally when you are about to pass out? Just take a moment and concentrate on taking a couple of deep breaths in and out slowly. In through your nose—hold it for a beat and then slowly out through your mouth. Do this a couple of times. You’ll be surprised how centered it will make you feel.

Hear it Out

Remember that whatever the person is upset about, there is probably more to the story than what he or she initially talked about. Hear that person out.

Look for Agreement Points

Believe it or not, unless the person is coming completely uncorked, you likely agree on some points. This will show that you are listening and that the two of you are not on totally different sides of the issue.

Switch Hemispheres

You might be familiar with the term, “hemisphere switching.” If not, here’s a quick explanation: You have a left and a right hemisphere in your brain. The right brain is the emotional side and the side that engaged when you are feeling the effects of conflict. The left brain is the logical, rational side. What you want to do is move the energy away from conflict to rationality, right? Have you ever had someone say, “If you’re angry just count to 10?” I don’t know about you but that doesn’t work for me! I can say: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, POW!

Instead, do something that engages your left brain—such as a math problem, or naming the state capitals, or coming up with the first names of all of your aunts and uncles or your cousins. This is a surefire way to move from hot emotion to cool logic. Ahhhh, and this is where you can prepare to listen … really listen to the other person, which is often all that person really needs to calm down—simply to be heard.

You have control of you. Use that power to your advantage!

Do you have other ways of effectively dealing with heated emotions? We’d love to hear from you in the comments section below! Visit our U the Communicator class page to find out more about elevating your communication skills.