How do you beat the heat? 4 Strategies to Defuse a Heated Exchange


In the heat of the moment, especially after a tense conversation or meeting, you may feel the need to write or say something that could land you in even more hot water. A combination of stress and passionate emotions may elicit an unwarranted reaction. The reality is, conflict happens. But knowing how to manage conflict can make all the difference.

To ensure you don’t accidentally send an email or say something you might regret, we’ve come up with a few simple strategies to help you step back from a negative situation and reconsider your immediate response.

Here are 4 ways you can defuse tension after a heated exchange:  

1. Take A Walk

It may sound simple but if you can pause a heated exchange – admit that this back and forth tension is bringing both parties nowhere, then step back and take a walk. Not only will this help diffuse the tension emotionally, but you’ll give yourself a mental break and allow both parties to regroup calmly.

2. Bring in a Mediator

Whatever the conflict is, one way to minimize on-going heated exchanges is to bring in an objective person. This will help lower the tension in the room while allowing both parties to clearly articulate their points of view in a calm manner. 

3. Confide In Someone

Before you send off angrily worded email, we suggest confiding with someone you’re close to, whether someone at work or outside of work. Talking it out with someone can help you get a new perceptive on the situation, will help you find a different solution to the conflict.

4. Think Ahead

While it can be difficult in the moment of a heated exchange to think of the repercussions, being aware of the possible “what ifs” can ultimately help you diffuse a tense situation. So next time you’re about to hit send on an email – think about what would happen if that email also went to other people? Will the situation get worse? Thinking about the different possible scenarios can help you strategize positive solutions.

About the Author

Melissa Ariganello is digital content marketing specialist by day and a travel and lifestyle writer by night. Currently based in Vancouver, she has worked in social media marketing for 4+ years, helping small businesses and non-profits digitally tell their stories. She earned her Masters in Strategic Public Relations at USC In 2016 and currently works in the tourism industry.