Consider This

Robert Stevenson’s Thoughts on the Pursuit of Excellence

Handling Irate People

October 29, 2023

by Robert Stevenson

In most all cases, the person yelling the loudest is the one losing the argument. Yelling at a person, doesn’t make “the thing you are yelling about” any more possible. Yelling may intimidate, but it will never persuade or convince someone about anything. I once heard it said – Raise your words, not your voice. It is the rain that grows flowers, not the thunder.”

Your life is going to be full of disagreements, mistakes, and confrontations. They say that the only time you don’t have problems is when you’re dead … so I must really be alive. Our actions can lead to mistakes which in turn can lead to people who are NOT HAPPY. And if we’ve done a super job of supposedly messing things up, these people could be IRATE. The way you handle this person can have a great deal to do with your success in life. 

Always remember,
“A person convinced against their will is a person not convinced.”

Here are a few rules to follow when dealing with irate/angry people.

Rule 1 - Don’t yell back. Apologize.

Rule 2 - Let them talk (vent) about their feelings. Then apologize again.

Rule 3 - Before speaking, have a full understanding of what they are upset about and empathize with them.

Rule 4 - Ask them how they feel this situation should be resolved and show them you are listening to every word they say.

Rule 5 - Explain your position in a Not to Prove Them Wrong Manner, apologizing again for their frustration.

Rule 6 - Throw in a few smiles during the conversation. It is mighty hard to stay upset at someone who is smiling at you.

Rule 7 - If they were wrong and you were right, don’t gloat in your victory. Even though they were wrong, apologize and tell them you understand why they got so upset.

If your objective is to win,
you have already lost.

In handling irate people, the objective is not about who is winning or losing, who is right or wrong. The objective is to understand. Stephen Covey once wrote, “Seek first to understand, before trying to be understood.” I feel these words possess the solution to dealing with the irate.

Even if the person is wrong, they still felt there was a reason for them to get upset. You should be trying to find that reason and understand it. Diffuse the cause, calm the person and establish a feeling of mutual agreement.

And if it is you who is the angry one, please remember: Anger doesn’t solve anything. It builds nothing, but it can destroy everything. There is an old Cowboy saying – “Words that soak into your ears are whispered, not yelled.”

“A moment of patience in a moment of anger,
saves you hundreds of moments of regret.”

"Your only true security in life
is your ability to perform."

About the Author

Robert Stevenson is an expert at building a high-performance business culture, improving efficiency, and accelerating growth. He is one of the most widely sought-after speakers in the world today, as well as a best-selling author. He has owned five companies, sold internationally in over 20 countries. Robert has spoken to over 2,500 companies throughout the world and his research in the area of corporate and entrepreneurial success is extensive. Over 2 million people have benefitted from his powerful, practical, and thought-provoking programs. He is a true master at blending facts, inspiration, conviction, and humor into all his programs.

Companies like FedEx, Prudential, Lockheed Martin, Chevron, American Express, and Berkshire Hathaway continue to rely on him for a fresh, unique perspective on businesses’ most crucial issues. To learn more about Robert and what he can do for your team visit his website at

FREE Robert Stevenson newsletter

Why sign up for Robert’s weekly articles:

  • It is a great way to kick-off your week

  • It will motivate, inspire, educate, and challenge you

  • It will help to make you a better employee, leader, and person

  • He shares the insights he has learned from his clients and research

  • You will receive free a collection of his favorite articles

© 2024 Seeking Excellence A Robert Stevenson Corporation. All Rights Reserved