Managing Difficult People

I facilitate a class of 80 people. Often handling a group this size can mean losing quite a lot of people especially if you want to get them engaged.

(1) The dominator
Establish procedure to ensure equal participation.
Interrupt and ask to summarise
Thank the person and hear from others in the group

(2) The shy person
-use ice-breakers to make them comfortable.  Get them to share with the next person or to a small group. Talk privately to assure them. Direct questions to him/her if you know he/she can contribute.

(3) The avoider
Direct questions to and solicit ideas from him/her so that he/she stays involved.  Talk privately to find out what’s happening.  Assign some roles.

(4) The uncompressed
Include ground rules that all must cooperate and support one another
Encourage person to explain reasons for objection
Refocus his/her participation as recorder. 

(5) The side conversationalist:
Enforce ground rules
Use pause and look technique
Invite the person to share views with audience
Establish eye contact with the person
Direct questions at the person or someone near the person
Introduce a time for thinking  and ask that everyone be silent for a moment.  Walk near that person. Empower others to confront.

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