During a tense discussion with a colleague, it can be hard to remember that you’re not the only one who’s upset. When your counterpart expresses anger or frustration, don’t stop them. Let them vent as much as possible, and remain calm while it’s happening. Don’t interrupt the venting or interject your own commentary. While you’re doing this, you can either be completely quiet or indicate that you’re listening by using phrases such as “I get that” or “I understand.”
Avoid saying anything that assigns feeling or blame, such as “Calm down” or “What you need to understand is…” It’s important to give your counterpart this space, but that’s not to say it’s easy. If you can tolerate the venting, without judging, you’ll soon be able to guide the conversation to a more productive place.