Early and Middle Stages: Non-Verbal Skills

It is important to be cognizant of and control your body position and posture so as not to inadvertently escalate an already tense situation.

  • Be calm, or at least act calm. Maintain non-threatening eye contact, smile, and keep hands open and visible.
  • Listen. Nod your head to demonstrate that you are paying attention.
  • Respect personal space. Maintain arm/leg distance away from the individual. Avoid touching the upset individual as it may be misinterpreted.
  • Approach the patient from an angle or from the side.
  • Convey that you are in control, by demonstrating confidence in your ability to resolve the situation.
  • Demonstrate supportive body language. Avoid threatening gestures, such as finger pointing or crossed arms.
  • Avoid laughing or smiling inappropriately.
Page last reviewed: February 7, 2020