©2021 Bill Eddy, LCSW, Esq.
Professionals and businesses are facing more and more clients who are upset about something these days. It may be the state of the world, someone else, or even you. Regardless, an EAR Statement can calm almost any upset person by giving a statement (often just a sentence) that shows empathy, attention, and/or respect, such as the following:
Empathy: “I can understand how difficult this situation is.” Or: “I hear your frustration.” Or: “I can see how worried you are about this.”
Attention: “I want to understand. Tell me more.” Or: “I will pay full attention to your concerns.” Or: “I’m interested in knowing your point of view.”
Respect: “I respect your efforts at dealing with this problem.” Or: “Congratulations on your promotion.” Or: “That was a helpful presentation you gave.”
Just a simple sentence or two can often calm an upset person in less than a minute. By letting them know you want to connect with them in a positive way, you can turn an adversarial situation into a problem-solving situation. Of course, your tone of voice and body language need to be open and positive as well. While this doesn’t work all the time, we have found that it works about 90% of the time and helps both people feel better. With a little practice, anyone can give an EAR Statement!
BILL EDDY, LCSW, ESQ. is the co-founder and Chief Innovation Officer of the High Conflict Institute in San Diego, California. He pioneered the High Conflict Personality Theory (HCP) and is viewed globally as the leading expert on managing disputes involving people with high conflict personalities. He has written more than twenty books on the topic and has taught professionals in the U.S. and more than ten countries.