Be Polite and They Will Act Right

One trick I learned years ago, was how to better control a bad situation when everyone around you is showing signs of panic. I learned it from a great Osteopath who worked in a Kansas City ER many years ago. I noticed that whenever he was working a code, or any similarly intense situation – he was always much more polite than usual. I asked why and he explained that if you are very polite, it tends to calm people down. It also calms you down.

I tried this and quickly learned how remarkably effective a tool it can be. Slow down and take the time to phrase every communication as a request. Barking orders may look good on TV, but it rarely works well in the field. Ask for everything, even from your partner, as though you were asking a favor of the Queen of England. Always say Please, and always say Thank You. Use Sir and Ma’am as much as you can. The results will amaze you.

The first thing you notice is how everyone works better together as a team, and how it helps calm excited people down. The most surprising thing you will notice is how it helps calm you down. It gets your brain working a little better, when you slow things down. Turn chaos into purpose, and you can do a better job of patient care.

Cops know how to control a conversation. They ask the questions. They know the person controlling the conversation is the one asking the questions. You become the person asking the questions. An example is; could you please hand me the blue bag sir? Using polite language in question form can put you firmly in charge of an otherwise difficult to manage situation.


About Dan White

I'm a retired Paramedic and EMS Instructor with 35 years EMS and emergency medical product experience. I love canoes, cars and EMS. I have written a lot about EMS Technology on the Paramedic Blog, the Insights on Innovation column for, on and I can be reached directly at 573-240-0002.
This entry was posted in EMS. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Be Polite and They Will Act Right

  1. Nae says:

    Hi Dan ~
    Being polite all  around makes sense to me! 
    I did email you regarding your "contacts."  Let me know if you didn\’t receive the email.
    Thanks for the continued great lessons on delivering good service.
    God bless you and keep you,
    Nae  :o)

  2. Tami says:

    RAn into your last comment on Nae\’s blog and I realized reading it that it was so true!  It amazing the things we don\’t notice till they are pointed out to us. Thanks for everything you are doing here!
    Tami aka Marine Mom

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s