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New Advice for Defusing Disputes Over Mask Mandates

Aug 10, 2020

Russ Turner, our Training Institute Director, discusses with the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal how local business owners can encourage compliance with mask rules and, if necessary, deescalate an argument. 

Read the complete article. 

Article excerpt: Turner’s first rule: Get into the right mindset. It’s important to remain calm and cool. “If you go into it being reactive and confrontational, there probably will be a confrontation,” he said.

Enter the conversation with a strategy. Know how you will ask a customer to wear a mask and have a plan for what to do if that customer refuses.

“The ask has to be an ask, not a tell,” Turner said. “You want to use language like, ‘Can I ask you?’ ‘Would you be willing to?’ Rather than, ‘You have to.’ ”

Use language to build a connection, he suggested. Thank the customer for coming in first, then explain the rules. Tell them you appreciate their willingness to put on a mask, even before they do it.

Turner teaches a strategy called “reflect and paraphrase” that can help when there’s still pushback.

“If you can get the person to feel that you [understand] they don’t like it, that will settle them down a little bit, and it should at least be a little bit less aggressive and intense. ‘I wish we didn’t have to do this,’ would be a good line,” he said.