In Contact situations you always want to Treat People With Dignity By Showing Respect (listen, ask, explain why, offer options, give a second chance) and use the Empathy Triad:

  • Acknowledge their perspective
  • See the world through their eyes
  • Anticipate their needs

However, you must also be attentive to the three distance points where you should evaluate the risk level of a situation and decide what you should do — 10 Feet (approach or exit), 5 Feet (communicate or evade), 2 Feet (operate or escape).

Once you've decided to verbally interact with a person, you should always use the Universal Greeting:

  • Appropriate greeting
  • Name and affiliation
  • Reason for contact
  • Relevant question

Once the other person begins speaking, you should use good Active Listening techniques — and then going Beyond Active Listening by using these tactics.

  • Clarify — Ask questions with the goal of gathering additional information and identifying the meaning behind their words, without your questions seeming like an interrogation.
  • Para-Feel — “You must be feeling frustrated” (or angry, anxious, lonely, disrespected, sad, confused, discouraged, ignored, uninformed, cheated, scared).
  • Paraphrase — “Let me see if I understand what you are saying? What you are telling me is” …. and then repeat in your own words what you believe is the meaning behind their words. Then end with, “Do I have this right?”
  • Mirror — Subtly imitate the other person’s speech pattern, attitude or body language. For example, if the other person is sitting, you could sit with them.
  • Advocate — “That’s unacceptable, let me see what I can do about that” or “That’s sounds like a big problem — let’s work together to figure out how to fix it."
  • Summarize — “Let me see if we both understand what was decided” … and then provide a detailed summary of what was agreed to in terms of a resolution or next steps.