In the previous post on empathy, I mentioned that empathy needs to be expressed. It is not enough just to empathize. One way to express empathy is to ask questions. Naturally, it makes a lot of different what kinds of questions you ask, and how you ask them. As a general rule, to reduce extreme emotions, questions should avoid emotionally-charged words or expressions, and should be asking open-ended questions that encourage the other person to think about the answer. Questions that ask for specific events or facts are best.
For instance, “Did the accident cause you to feel pain anywhere? or, Do you need some help with that?”
On the other hand, a question like, “Why the Hell did you do that?” in a nagging tone will almost certainly not get the response you really want.
Like other parts of the LEAPS process, some practice is in order. Always keep in mind the desired result, which should be to reduce tensions, establish rapport, and avoid physical conflict.