On Thursday, April 15, the American Booksellers Association offered a workshop from the Center for Anti-Violence Education (CAE) on de-escalation techniques.
Booksellers can also check out the handout for the De-Escalation Workshop as well as the video recording of the session (use the password CAE2021!).
Here are some key points from the session:
- The objective of de-escalation is to reduce the level of anxiety and agitation in any given situation, keeping in mind that reasoning with an enraged person is not possible.
Before using de-escalation strategies, consider what CAE calls “B.A.P.P.”:
- (Be) aware of your triggers
- Position yourself for safety — find exits, be aware of your surroundings, keep your hands available, and convey positive body language
- Project a calm demeanor
To remember de-escalation strategies, use CAE’s acronym G.A.M.B.L.I.N.:
- Get to “we” to foster a sense of community
- Offer alternatives, so the aggressor does not feel forced into any decisions
- Match and lead to step it down — bring attention to tone and volume
- Broken record — repeat boundaries and expectations
- Lose to win — pick your battle
- Use “I” statements
- Name the behavior to draw attention to it
- In escalating situations, try not to make sudden movements, and do not approach the aggressor from behind or get in their face.
- If one of the above techniques doesn’t work, try another or a combination of strategies.
When de-escalating a situation, don’t:
- Keep other communication tips in mind, such as: express gratitude/appreciation; use “and” instead of “but”; ask open ended questions; reflect or rephrase what you’ve heard; redirect the conversation; use humor (not sarcasm); and actively wait (keep your eye on them, but don’t directly engage).
This session also addressed how to effectively deal with customers who aren't respecting store policies, like not wearing a mask or letting their mask slip below their nose, customers using offensive language, and more. Watch the recording for full details.