Communicating anger without killing your audience

The blog post this week is for persons who have a hard time with anger. If you are a person who tends to rant and rave, gets in trouble with personal attacks, or comes across as interpersonally abrasive, this post is for you.

Communicating anger can be done effectively when the intensity of anger matches the message. Anger has to be at a manageable level. If you can get anger to go down, you may have a very strong point to communicate- but you’ve got to do it in such a way that anger works for you, instead of getting in your way. Here are some suggestions:

  • Soften your gaze, relax your face, and try smiling with half of your face.
  • Unclench your jaws and your fist, open your palms, and relax your body.
  • Stop glaring.
  • Be clear about what you want to communicate. Try stating it in a matter-of-fact but firm manner.
  • Slow down your breathing.
  • Try to pay attention to how your face communicates. A flat, impermeable look can be negatively interpreted or misinterpreted. (Notice if/how you are drawn to particular TV characters who have expressive faces).
  • Wiggle your eyebrows. Try shooting one eyebrow up.
  • Notice your tone of voice. Try singing what you want to say before you talk to the person. This will get you to notice your emotion in your voice and make it hard for you to hang on to the intensity of the anger. Another option is to use a cartoon voice.

If you act or behave in such a way that is incompatible with anger, you will have a pretty good chance of getting your anger to go down. Being clear, matter-of-fact, and firm; staying connected, rooted, and close to your inner wisdom can be a much more effective way to communicate anger than sarcasm, attacks, and rants.