HALT — Stop, In the Name of Love


In our business and personal lives, we have to undoubtedly deal with confrontation – both planned and unplanned. It may be in person, telephonically, electronically or even telepathically (that may be stretching it, but sounds cool). We can choose to ignore it, let it control us or actually respond in a productive way. Probably the worst thing to do, is just react in the moment without actually thinking it through. Then all kinds of messes are created. I have found practicing the self-discipline to Halt, has saved me many a heartache. And when I don’t halt, well then someone ends up not very happy.


bring or come to an abrupt stop.

a suspension of movement or activity, typically a temporary one.

Since I am a dork, I thought an acronym for HALT would not only bring us back to out 7th grade study habit, but maybe, just maybe, help one poor soul not make an ass of themselves next time they are faced with confrontation.

H. Hush

Take a deep breath. Yes, seriously. Besides the fact that breathing allows more oxygen to travel throughout your body, that brief pause may save you from that Reply All in CAPS or raising your voice.

A. Ask

Taking the time to ask these questions may just help you with H and L. What you can constructively contribute or learn will get you further than “how can I win?”.

a. What can I learn here?
b. What is my part in this?
c. How can be helpful or turn this into a productive exchange?

L. Listen

Hear what the person saying. Listen, seriously. In order to actually hear, you have to do three things. 1) shut up 2) stop focusing on your clever comeback and 3) pause and give the person to a chance to say what they have to say (even if you already know it is idiotic). Listening, can actually diffuse a tense or heated state without even needing to say anything. Trust me, my staff has this one mastered.

T. Thank

Whaaatttttt? Are you serious? Yes, I am. This is part of learning, to respond and not just react. Note; there is a difference between reacting and responding – look it up. I swear they are not the same thing.

The Muse wrote an article in Forbes; they mentioned another great element that is worth implementing – “Thank him or her for sharing feedback with you. Don’t gloss over this—be deliberate, and say, ‘I really appreciate you taking the time to talk about this with me.’ Expressing appreciation doesn’t have to mean you’re agreeing with the assessment, but it does show that you’re acknowledging the effort your colleague took to evaluate you and share his or her thoughts.”

If you would like the other person(s) to change how they have spoken to you, now is the time to think of how you can help them communicate with you better. Try something like” “Hey I hear what you are saying (see the H in Halt) and I want to make this situation better too.” Using ‘and’ instead of ‘but’ is a crucial communication tool. It’s the ‘wax on, wax off’ secret to successful communication.

Have some tips of your own to share? Even if they are not in the form of a clever acronym, I’d love to hear them. Tweet me @jax_Rosales

Join the discussion 33 Comments

Leave a Reply