How to de-escalate a conflict by using your words

In the realm of self-defense, it’s imperative for the mind to remain alert and active, constantly seeking opportunities or strategies to navigate a potentially threatening situation. This vigilance extends to the realm of verbal communication, which serves as a versatile tool in self-defense scenarios.

Verbal commands play a pivotal role, serving a dual purpose: they can be employed both as a defense against potential attackers and as a means to collaborate effectively with people on the same team, regardless of whether it is a sports team or a small army.

When confronted with a tense situation, individuals can harness the power of verbal commands to defuse the tension. Spoken words carry the potential to de-escalate confrontations, thereby reducing the likelihood of physical altercations. By communicating assertively yet calmly, one can convey their desire for a peaceful resolution and signal their willingness to cooperate.

Furthermore, verbal commands serve as a conduit for expressing one’s intentions to a partner or ally. In a collaborative self-defense scenario, effective communication is essential to synchronize actions and responses. Clear and concise verbal cues can be used to deploy strategies, coordinate movements, or convey crucial information in real-time, ensuring that everyone is on the same page and acting in harmony.

Notably, verbal commands can also be wielded to send a strong message to a potential aggressor. By articulating one’s resolve and determination, individuals can make it abundantly clear that they are prepared to defend themselves if necessary. This assertiveness can deter would-be attackers by demonstrating unwavering confidence and resolve.

The utilization of verbal commands in self-defense is a multifaceted skill, encompassing tactics for conflict avoidance, collaborative efforts, and the assertion of one’s readiness to protect oneself when required. It underscores the importance of mental agility and effective communication as integral components of personal safety strategies.

Being vocal

Effective verbal communication is a critical element in the realm of self-defense, often serving as a potent means to prevent the necessity of resorting to physical force. Language is the primary medium through which individuals convey thoughts, emotions, and intentions, whether engaged in casual conversations or navigating disagreements. Remarkably, even in situations charged with tension, the power of words can be harnessed to avert potential confrontations.

Law enforcement personnel exemplify the significance of verbalization in their daily duties, constantly shifting between various roles. They routinely interact with victims, issue citations for minor infractions, and negotiate with agitated criminals. Equally important, officers must maintain professionalism when dealing with the media and the general public. Although not perfect, such a model can be adopted by individuals when confronted with potentially volatile street scenarios.

While it is advisable to steer clear of confrontations whenever possible, there are instances when those capable must intervene to protect others, ideally relying on words rather than physical force. Police officers are extensively trained to manage a diverse range of interactions with the public, employing a gentle approach with victims and a firm demeanor when dealing with suspects, all aimed at uncovering the truth surrounding a potential crime. Regrettably, the importance of verbalization tends to be overlooked in training.

In the context of a violent encounter, effective verbal communication should be a foremost consideration, whether directed at the attacker or used in coordination with companions and bystanders. The ability to communicate effectively under extreme stress is a skill that necessitates training and practice, as real-life gunfights bear little resemblance to their portrayal in the movies.

Communicating with others

People are social beings who often gather in small and large groups, both inside and outside their homes. And while social interactions have been limited in the past years due to the pandemic, folks still enjoy going out for dinner, to the movies and shows, and more.

Whether they’re a couple or part of a group, bad things can happen to them, including a robbery or lethal attack. Even a small group of men walking down the street can be attacked—particularly in large cities that have limited police powers and funding.

Of course, the most likely situation will involve a couple focused on each other and preoccupied with hiking a trail, shopping, or simply enjoying time together. If something bad happens during this time, the pair needs to understand how to work together as a unit, even if only one is armed or prepared to handle the situation.

On the other hand, if both are armed, it’s typically better if just one takes the lead. However, that role can shift according to the dynamics of the situation. If the situation changes and the secondary defender has to take the lead, it’ll happen quickly. In any case, the benefit of having a partner pays off if there’s plenty of communication.

It’s also recommended to have concise communication in an altercation. One partner informs the other of a need or want, and the other responds. Communication must be clear to be concise, and coordinating with a partner can be difficult when a pair is defending against an attack.

Being authoritative

In general, speaking loudly ensures that your message is heard. This practice is evident in the military, where every service member employs a loud and authoritative voice when issuing orders. The same principle applies when facing a potential threat on the streets: a commanding voice serves as a powerful tool to communicate with a potential assailant.

It can instruct them to maintain their distance, drop any weapons they may be holding, or even to assume a submissive position while waiting for law enforcement assistance. In fact, police officers frequently rely on the commanding tone of their voice to gain control over suspects without resorting to physical force, which could lead to injury.

It’s worth noting that many individuals, particularly younger ones, may not have been encouraged to raise their voices. Strangely enough, in some cases, even police recruits need to be trained to project their voices effectively. Those seeking to avoid resorting to lethal force during a confrontation must learn to assertively deliver their commands.

Among the most critical verbal commands to master is the simple yet potent word, “Stop!” This word carries varied meanings depending on its context. However, in a self-defense scenario, it unequivocally signals an immediate halt to forward movement, much like a stop sign.

Additionally, the word serves as a warning that communicates a person’s readiness to defend themselves against an attack. This often deters potential assailants, as criminals generally target individuals they perceive as vulnerable.

However, it’s essential to issue this verbal command with unwavering authority and without unnecessary politeness. Pleading with an assailant by saying, “Please stop,” or “Please, don’t do this” is unlikely to be effective. It just shows weakness, which is precisely what criminals seek in their victims.

How to train yourself to use vocal commands effectively

Mastering verbal commands is a skill that strikes a balance between simplicity and complexity. On the one hand, issuing commands loudly isn’t inherently difficult, but the challenge arises when practicing this amidst numerous shooters at a firing range, where it can feel awkward and conspicuous.

This discomfort is a significant reason why many individuals overlook verbal command training. Nevertheless, it’s imperative to emphasize that verbal commands are indispensable in self-defense and should be introduced early in any self-defense training routine.

Verbal commands, when coupled with a firearm, have the capacity to defuse countless confrontations every year, preventing the need to discharge a weapon. Furthermore, they serve as a spotlight on the situation, attracting potential witnesses who can provide critical insights into the events surrounding an incident. This aspect holds particular importance in regions where suspects may have associates willing to mislead law enforcement.

For individuals genuinely interested in integrating verbal commands and effective communication into their self-defense toolkit, dedicated training is essential. Naturally, it’s impossible to train for every conceivable scenario. Therefore, defenders should focus on honing the skill of clearly conveying instructions to others should an attack occur.

This training extends to couples and families who should have discussions about their response to potential threats, especially in terms of communication strategies. Ideally, couples should undertake training together to enhance their coordination.

Whether training with a partner or solo, you can initiate your practice at home, starting in front of a mirror. Begin with an unloaded concealed-carry firearm and holster.

Practice by drawing from concealment while firmly vocalizing, “Stop!” Subsequently, simulate various scenarios. The three main possible scenarios that can occur in a self-defense situation are:

1. The attacker halts and flees: In this case, ensure the area is secure and promptly contact the police.

2. The attacker stops but does not flee: Maintain control of the situation with your firearm ready while calling 911. Remember that as long as the suspect can move, there’s potential for an attack. Be cautious not to fixate solely on the suspect; be vigilant for other potential threats nearby. Stay on the line with the police dispatcher while surveying the surroundings for additional dangers.

3. The attacker ignores verbal commands and continues his attack. In such cases shots may be fired. If this dire situation unfolds, communicate with partners and bystanders if necessary. Call the police, document the circumstances, and persuade witnesses to remain for crucial information. Additionally, a cell phone camera can serve as a vital witness.

While range training is ideal, limitations like restricted movement and ear protection can hinder team tactics. Consider dry-fire practice at home, which also provides the opportunity to simulate house-clearing scenarios.

Ensure your firearms are unloaded when running scenarios, whether it’s a single assault or multiple assailants from various directions. Draw and issue commands while maintaining a low-ready position. Repeat the drill in various scenarios, envisioning your responses to each situation and executing them. To add realism and intensity, have a partner randomly dictate the actions of the “attacker.”


The key takeaway from this article should be that one needs to consistently employ a loud and authoritative voice during a self-defense scenario. Using an assertive voice can be tricky, so you need to start learning quickly, even during early training sessions. Those who project a timid voice during training will struggle to command authority in real-world situations.

Written by

Bob Rodgers is an experienced prepper and he strives to teach people about emergency preparedness. He quit the corporate world and the rat race 6 years ago and now he dedicates all his time and effort to provide a self-sufficient life for his family. He loves the great outdoors and never misses a chance to go camping. For more preparedness related articles, you can visit him at Prepper’s Will

Latest comments
  • Being vocal can get you arrested! ALWAYS TRY TO TALK CALM BUT WITH A HIGHER AUTHORITY!!!

    • Typical Karen….

  • They are not arguing with ME if they see MY CCW!!!

    • Not everything can be solved with a gun!

  • Ask God to be with you each day to protect you.