Good Afternoon, my name is Anthony Sherman, president of Genesis Group in Milwaukee, WI and the reason for this blog today, is to discuss the importance of starting off each contact you may have in a supportive atmosphere. Have you ever engaged with someone wishing your encounter went better from the start?

Did you see what I did there? I opened this blog by using the Universal Greeting as taught in Vistelar’s Conflict Management program. The purpose of the Universal Greeting is to establish a positive contact from the very beginning and it answers four questions the person we are engaging with may have when we approach them: 1. Who are you, 2. Who do you represent, 3. What gives you your authority, and 4. A relevant question to them.

At Genesis Group, we teach security agencies and professionals different tactics ranging in non-escalation and de-escalation training, defensive tactics training, firearms certification, etc.  The one topic we here frequently is “How do you approach someone who may be loitering without compromising our safety?”  It’s quite simple, you apply the Universal Greeting in all aspects of your contacts ranging from personal, professional and organizational.  When approaching someone who may be loitering or entering a restricted area, you would approach the person, or persons, creating a supportive and non-accusatory contact utilizing the Universal Greeting. Such an example would be:  “Good Evening sir, my name is Officer Sherman with Central Protective Services and the reason I am approaching you, is because I observed you wandering around appearing to be lost.  Is there something or someone I can help you find?

We work extensively with the Vistelar Group in providing Conflict Management Training and Instructor Training across the nation to Law Enforcement Agencies, Casino’s, Healthcare, etc.  and the same exists no matter what industry you are in.  Dave Young, Co-Founder of Vistelar, and I, helped develop a program for the Loss Prevention and Asset Protection Industry for the National Retail Federation and one of the big take-aways was how the Universal Greeting is non-confrontational and non-accusatory. For instance, when working with Loss Prevention and Asset Protection professionals in approaching a shoplifter, the standard way of stopping a shoplifter was to approach the person, identify who you are and ask them to come back into the store to retrieve the merchandise they attempted to steal, which unfortunately, sometimes ended in a physical altercation due to the defensive atmosphere the initial contact created.

By utilizing the Universal Greeting, we establish a non-accusatory way of approaching a shoplifter by creating a supportive atmosphere upon the initial approach, which goes like this: “Good Afternoon, my name is Tony with Store Security and the reason I am approaching you today, is because you may have forgotten to pay for the batteries you placed in your back pocket. Do you happen to have a receipt so that I can verify the purchase?”

Other tactics in Vistelar’s Conflict Management Training provides a guideline in communicating with people from the initial contact using the Universal Greeting, to Redirections, using the Persuasion Sequence, to Taking Appropriate Action and finalizing our contact with a Proper Closure, which sets up for the best possible outcome.  There are other steps intertwined throughout your contact utilizing the 11-steps of our Conflict Management Strategy that we will touch base on in future blogs, that assist us in our contacts from the initial contact to closure.