Your Intended Message

How to Calm an Angry Person in 90 Seconds: Doug Noll

October 20, 2022

Imagine the results when you can calm an angry person in 90 seconds - or less

Anger is a normal emotion and you can manage those angry people in your life

Episode 117 (Doug is based in California)

In this conversation with Doug Noll, we explore:

  • That angry is simply one part of our emotional personality
  • How to quickly sooth the angry soul
  • Anger is an indication of a boundary violation
  • What is emotional invalidation and how does it harm
  • Mistakes to avoid with facing angry people
  • Why anger is not necessarily bad
  • How to manage your own anger and recognize the triggers
  • Why ranting is not a helpful solution

About Doug Noll

Doug Noll is a lawyer-turned-peacemaker. In addition to his law degree, he has a Masters Degree in Peacemaking and Conflict Studies.  In 2000, he left a successful law practice as a civil trial lawyer to help people resolve conflicts without litigation or conflict.

Doug was born nearly blind, partially deaf, and with two clubbed feet. His disabilities were challenging to overcome….and he did

He’s a second-degree black belt and tai chi master, a certified ski instructor, an airplane and helicopter pilot, a white-water river rafter, and a jazz violinist.

Doug teaches people how to de-escalate angry people in 90 seconds or less. His fourth book, an Amazon bestseller, is called De-Escalate: How to Calm an Angry Person in 90 Seconds or Less. Doug has online video courses and provides workshops and coaching to individuals and organizations desiring to increase their emotional competency.

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Excerpts from this conversation with Doug Noll:


Well, it's very interesting. There are at least 12 Different kinds of anger. And we don't have time to go into all the different kinds of anger there are, but there are at least 12 Different kinds of anger.

And at its root, of course, Anger is an emotion. And there are many levels and intensities of anger.

So you can be frustrated, which is an anger, emotion, you can be annoyed, you can be enraged, you can be irritated, you can be you can have hatred, so many, many different levels.

The key to all of these emotions are that when we get triggered into an angry emotion, the emotional centres of our brain take over. And they shut down the thinking part of our brain.

And we've all had this experience when we've seen it, you get angry, you can't think what some really interesting brain scanning studies show is that when the listener labels the anger to the angry person, the speaker, the anchor goes away in about 90 seconds.

And all I would say is something like this, Hey, George, you are really pissed off, you're angry, you're frustrated, you feel completely disrespected and ignored. You don't feel appreciated.

You feel a little bit of anxiety and worry about all of this. And you're sad because you feel betrayed. And the whole thing is just really frustrating to you. If you were really angry by me saying those words in that way to you, your brain would literally calm itself down.

What's effectively happening is that because your prefrontal cortex is offline when you're angry, when I tell you what you're feeling, it allows your prefrontal cortex to grab a hold and figure things out and all of a sudden calm itself down. And it's how every human brain is hardwired. And it happens in less 90 seconds. It's how it works,



Doug, if if we did nothing else in this conversation today that that phrase that you just did, you just delivered there is enough to provide tremendous value. Because what I'm noticing is one when you said that you were not responding, anger to anger, which is the typical response, well, you're angry, I'll be even angrier.

Yes, I can be a bigger jerk than you no problem. That's the typical response. And then we wonder why he was so unproductive. And we both go away feeling frustrated and unsatisfied. But when you said that, and even though I mimicked anger before, I wasn't angry, but I could imagine if you were saying that to me, and I was angry, it's like, oh, you get me? You understand me?



Exactly. That's exactly right. And here's what's happening. angry people need to be listened to, they're angry because they're not being heard at a deep emotional level. And when you can fulfil that need by validating their emotional experience, when I call listening another person into existence, anger goes away instantly.

And it happens every single time without failure. And I have had 12 years of field experience teaching murderers and maximum security prisons, how to become peacemakers and mediators to stop prison violence.

And I've taught over 20,000 inmates these skills, and every single one of them has had success with it in many cases. We started in 2010, my colleague Wolkoff and I started in 2010, in the largest, most violent women's prison in the world. Valley State Prison for Women and Chowchilla, California.

Two years into the program, we trained 800 women out of a population of 3600. We got an unsolicited letter from the warden saying the prisoner quieted down because of prisoner peace. It works.


Your Intended Message is the podcast about how you can boost your career and business success by improving your communication skills. We’ll examine the aspects of how we communicate one-to-one, one to few and one to many – plus that important conversation, one to self.

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George is a specialist in executive communication skills. That includes conversation and presentation. He’s fascinated by way we communicate and influence behaviors. He delivers training and coaching programs to help leaders and promising professionals deliver the intended message for greater success.


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