Woman talks down school shooter

It doesn’t surprise me that a woman–most likely a Southern woman–was able to talk down a potential school shooter at a Georgia elementary school.

“I just started telling him my life story and what was going on with me,” Tuff said.

“He told me he was sorry for what he was doing. He was willing to die,” Tuff told ABC.

She told him her life story, about how her marriage fell apart after 33 years and the “roller coaster” of opening her own business.

“I told him, ‘Okay, we all have situations in our lives,’ ” she said. “It was going to be okay. If I could recover, he could, too.”

Not only did Ms. Tuff show great bravery and presence of mind, but she also used some excellent communications techniques.  I don’t have a transcript of her conversation, but suspect she empathized with the man’s problems, shared her own and told him he didn’t really want to kill people.  Techniques used:

  • Build rapport with your audience; establish common ground;
  • Listen – and let them know they’ve been heard
  • Don’t lose your cool
  • Have a key message and repeat it.

Nice job, Ms. Tuff