Often in our society when a violent confrontation is about to happen I have noticed something.. its kind of a norm in interpersonal interaction which people get locked into by habit and also fear.
Often an attacker will try to initially throw you off buy speaking to you as he closes the distance. It could be anything: rude comments, harassing comments etc. Or questions designed to make you feel like YOU are the problem and why he needs to attack you.
So, simple strategy: Don't interact verbally. The only verbal things coming out of your mouth should be "get away from me" or "stop" etc. Don't lock your brain up into dialogue mode (which takes more brain power than you think and it distracts you from the fight mindset).
Doing this can (not always) throw your opponent off and make you seem more unpredictable. It could keep them from becoming violent.