How to deal with confrontations with the LAST technique?

May 19, 2022
It is difficult to be in a situation where you are confronted, accused, blamed or you just have a negative interaction with another person. In this quick tips episode, Mari-Liis Vaher shares the LAST technique that helps you to deal with confrontations effectively.

So, to help you face these difficult situations, we share the LAST technique:

  1. L stands for Listen - Use questions to make the other person explain their basis for confrontation. This will buy you more time to prepare. Ask for clarification with questions like: What seems to be the problem? What makes you say that? How can I help you with this? If you are not sure what the problem is, ask for clarification to avoid misunderstandings. For example, use the following: “So, what you are saying is …” (and then repeat back to them how you understand what they said). Always try to remain calm. However, if the other party is aggressive with their words or behaviour, then tell them that you cannot accept that sort of language. You may even say “I understand that you are frustrated. I will come back to you when you are able to speak and behave in a way that allows for a reasonable conversation.”
  2. A stand for Apologize - once you have understood the reason behind their frustration, it is wise to apologize. Regardless of whether it was your fault personally, instead of justifying your actions, use sentences such as “I’m really sorry you’ve had a bad experience. I understand that you are frustrated, and I sincerely apologize for that.” or “Please understand that I have never intended to cause you any inconvenience.” 
  3. S stands for Solve - this means that the next step is to solve the problem. If it is in your power to solve the problem, ask them how you can make it right or explain to them what are the steps you will take to solve this. If it is not up to you to solve this, then be honest and say “I’m not sure how to resolve this situation. I feel that we might need another perspective on this. Let me speak to… (my manager) and come back to you.” or you can say “I’m not sure how to resolve this. Let me have a think and come back to you. I promise I will analyze what you are telling me and get back to you as soon as possible.”
  4. T stands for Thank - in the final step, acknowledge them for highlighting the issue and for coming to you directly so that you can improve the process. You can use sentences like “Thank you so much for letting me know about this situation. This is really helpful.” or “Thanks for your understanding and for taking the time to go through this with me.”

So, remember - LAST stands for Listen, Apologize, Solve and Thank. If you remember this, then we are sure that any future confrontations you may have will be a lot easier to deal with!

Here's the full episode on YouTube:

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