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THE LIFE IMPROVEMENT : Verbal And Non-Verbal Behavior

Tutorial by:Sumit Boura      Date: 2016-05-23 04:51:44

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Verbal And Non-Verbal Behavior

Before discussing methods for reducing the likelihood of becoming the subject of violence or aggression, it is worth mentioning some behavior that may make things worse:

  • Maintaining unbroken eye contact
  • Touching, poking perhaps
  • Being patronizing or talking down to someone
  • Giving ultimatums
  • Inviting them to be aggressive, “Go on then!”
  • Behaving like a victim
  • Being aggressive or shouting yourself
  • Insisting on a sense of pride or duty
  • Allowing access to something that could be used as a weapon, including jewellery, clothing or other art

In any interaction with another, there are three types of behavior used - submissive, aggressive or assertive - the characteristics of which are listed below.

  • Acting in an apologetic or frightened manner
  • Not standing up for your rights
  • Not expressing your views
  • Using a sot or unsteady voice
  • Not saying what you mean
  • Avoiding eye contact
  • Using cringing body language
  • Using ‘umm’ and ‘er’ too much in conversation
  • Putting others down
  • Using sarcasm
  • Invading the other’s space
  • Bulldozing others into doing or saying what you want
  • Interrupting rudely
  • Being threatening or abusing
  • Using ‘you should’ and ‘you ought’ in conversation


  • Looking assured, caring and understanding
  • Using good listening skills
  • Keeping direct, but not constant, eye contact
  • Using a firm and relaxed voice
  • Standing upright and balanced
  • Using empathetic phrases
  • Not being judgmental
  • Using co-operative phrases
  • Using ‘I’ statements
Assertive Communication
  • Be clear, about what you want, what you want to say, your purpose, e. to prevent escalation
  • Be direct, don’t pussyfoot around, ask for the behavior to stop
  • Be precise, use short clear sentences
  • Be specific, address the aggression before other issues
  • Be positive, in word and action, if you don’t know – find out
  • Be confident, in your skills, in your ability to communicate


Clearly, while it is being suggested that you behave and communicate in an assertive way, if this is not your usual habit, you may not find it easy to do, especially in a frightening situation. If this is the case, it is suggested that you practice behaving assertively in your daily life, with people that you know well, and in situations that are not too difficult or threatening. Once you have become proficient at behaving this way, it will be easier when you are faced with aggression. You may also wish to consider attending an assertiveness course, which is oten provided at local colleges.

Advantages of Being Assertive
  • Improves relationships at work
  • Gives you greater self confidence
  • Gives you greater confidence in others
  • Helps you increase your own self control
  • Saves you time and energy
  • Leads to win/win situations

It is important to minimize feelings of frustration being experienced by someone you are interacting with at your work. Remember that frustration is likely to be caused by them not getting something they want, and although they may still not be able to have whatever it is, using the tactics below will help.

Minimizing Frustration
  • Explain clearly and check that they understand
  • Don’t make false promises, they will appreciate honesty
  • Know your job and your limits
  • Listen well
  • Give realistic options
  • Don’t patronize
  • Don’t keep them waiting
  • Try to prevent an audience
  • Give them inf If you can’t, explain why and when you will be able to.


There are also many ways in which you can actively indicate to someone else that you are not aggressive or intending to be, and this is likely to have the effect of reducing their own aggression and feelings of aggression.


Non-Aggressive Behavior
  • Breathing deeply and slowly
  • Maintaining a relaxed posture and relaxed muscles
  • Using open hand language
  • Perhaps sitting down, unless violence is imminent
  • If standing, stand at an angle of 45 degrees, this is safer and less confrontational
  • Listen actively
  • Keep your voice low and calm
  • Show interest and concern
  • Empathies
  • Keep appropriate eye contact
  • Ask if they mind you making notes

When the situation starts to become somewhat fraught and the person is looking as if they are starting to feel aggressive or they start to behave in an aggressive way, the list below summarizes specific techniques which can be used to defuse the situation. Most of them have been mentioned above under previous headings but they bear repeating because of their importance as ways of stopping the situation becoming grave. (You may not feel comfortable with all of them, but select those that you feel you could work with.)

Defusing Techniques
  • Diverting: refocus attention on a different subject or on note taking
  • Distracting: “What was that?” “That’s the police” etc. Needs to be convincing
  • Appearing calm and efficient
  • Controlling your own emotions
  • Showing non-aggressive behavior
  • Actively listening, paraphrasing and empathizing
  • Trying to identify what the frustrated wish is and solving it if you can
  • Pointing out possible problems for them
  • Giving them information
  • Asking them to stop
  • Perhaps sitting down
  • Maybe consider humour, but be careful, not against the pers Perhaps a warm smile and cajoling words might help, particularly if you know the person

If all else fails, get out, walk quickly or run if you have to!

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