7 Things Firefighters Should Never Say
By Dr. George J. Thompson
4. “BE MORE REASONABLE!”
Telling people to “be more reasonable” has many of the same problems as “Calm Down!” Everyone thinks they are plenty reasonable given the present circumstances. I have never had anyone run up to me and say, “Hey, I know I’m stupid and wrong, but here’s what I think!” although I have been confronted by stupid and wrong people! You only invite conflict when you tell people to “be more reasonable.”
Instead, make people more reasonable by the way in which you handle them: tactically. Use the language of reassurance-“Let me see if I understand your position,” and then paraphrase-another VJ tactic-back to them. Express their meaning but in your own words and as you see it. Using your words will calm them and make them more reasonable because your words will (or better be) more professional and less emotional.
This approach absorbs the other’s tension and makes them feel your support. Now you can help them think more logically and less destructively, without making the insulting charge implied in your statement, “Be more reasonable!”
Again, tactics over natural reaction!