Every weekend, at least one person on a Security Staff gets yelled at. Sometimes by management, more than likely by a Patron. And every weekend, at least one Security Staffer will react in the wrong manner. The saying, “If you can’t take the heat, stay out of the kitchen” is an apt one for the field of Security, especially if one is working in a Nightclub or Bar. There will be numerous occasions during which you will be mistreated or taken for granted. And guess what? You have to take it.
I can already hear the detractors:
“No one talks to me that way!”
“Did you hear what he/she said?”
“I refuse to be disrespected.”
Well, believe it or not I am on your side. I don’t think anyone should be disrespected, talked down to, or insulted. But there are ways of dealing with individuals who behave badly that DO NOT involved getting physical – which is unfortunately how most Security Staffers react.
For example, if someone were to say something less than flattering about your mother/sister/grandmother/brother there are two things to consider…and no they are not how hard to hit the person and where will they fall after you’ve hit them.
1) Is what the person saying true? If it is true, then the announcement being made is probably common knowledge. And while possibly embarrassing, everyone already knows so it’s no big deal.
2) Is what the person saying a lie? If it is, then what do you care?
Now I am being a bit sarcastic and callous. But honestly, if 3rd grade insults still offend you, you need to seek employment in another field. Keep in mind that the person insulting you is upset (for any number of reasons), probably intoxicated (which in my book often leads to approximately 3rd grade behavior), and definitely not cognizant of the fact that yelling insults at a 250 lb. person who’s job it is to keep the peace is probably not the best of ideas.
So, what is one to do? How do you calm down or eject someone who is hurling insults?
First off, don’t take it personally. Just don’t. Again, if you can’t handle insults, this is not the line of work for you.
Second, try a little empathy. Put yourself in that person’s shoes: their boyfriend/girlfriend just left them, they were just fired, and the bartender refuses to serve the any more alcohol. That is an equation that when added up equals not too good behavior. Sometimes a smile and a nod (even if you don’t agree with their argument) can go a long way to soothing someone. EVEN if they have said something completely out of bounds.
“Yessir, I appreciate that you think my mother is a lady of loose morals, but I’m still going to have to ask you to leave.”
The key with empathy is that you want the person to think you are on their side. They can call you all the names they want as long as you nod and lead them out the Front Door.
Third, if they are truly upset, you have to try and disrupt their train of thought.
Say it loud and get their attention. Then…
“Can you slow down a little? I want to try and help out, but you’re speaking too fast for me.”
Now the Patron thinks you’re listening – whether or not you really are – and may even slow down and try to explain themselves. Again, nod, smile, and (possibly) continue leading them to the door. (Granted, if this is a possibly violent situation a different set of rules apply)
Now, you’ve managed to slow someone down, listened to their complaint, and possibly managed to get them to the exit without them even noticing. You know what you do now?
No, really. Hand them off to the Front Door staff and walk away. You have now managed to remove the object of the Patron’s anger – you – from the equation. And you probably haven’t laid a hand on them. I have seen people literally stand slack-jawed as they realize that the person they wanted so badly to vent their anger at is gone. Conversely, I have seen people become incredibly upset. But guess what? They are now outside of the establishment and bad behavior outside is more likely to be noticed by Law Enforcement and dealt with far more harshly.
There is one caveat: Let the Front Door staff know WHY you removed the person. At least they then have the opportunity to soothe nerves in their own way, in their own time. And finally, don’t try to get the last word in. A simple smile and a, “Have a good night.” will make you feel like a champ as you WALK AWAY.
Until next time…