How Should I Deal With A Vocal and Resistant Participant During Training?

It’s a common issue in training. It’s not a problem when it’s about one specific technique or aspect of the training content.. Here are some possible responses using examples that might occur in a session on techniques for dealing with difficult customers.:

You probably know your customers better than I do, so you can pick and choose what seems to work for you. The only thing I’d suggest is that you give it a try. Or, if it’s uncomfortable for you for whatever reason, don’t use it. You don’t need to use all the techniques to succeed.

That’s fine. Is there any way to change the technique in such a way so that you’d be more confident about it working? [this is a technique that involves throwing back the comment, and getting the commenter to think a little more deeply.]

A similar response is: Do you have some ideas about what will work for your particular customers?

Or, invite the rest of the group to comment. “Let’s see whether others in the group feel the same or differently about this. Do you think this might work with your customers?" [to the group].

More On Resistance and Critical Comments/Questions

Sometimes you’ll get one person who is particularly skeptical regarding the content. Typical comments include: “Well, that won’t work for me”, or “If someone said that to me, I’d hate it”. The general rule to follow here is a path of least resistance.

  • Give participants the “freedom” to disagree.
  • Never pressure or try to convince participants to use a particular technique, but suggest it’s up to them and that they might be surprised if they try it out.
  • Open up the discussion to the group, by asking: “It’s OK if you’re uncomfortable using this, but I’m wondering what others think. Can you see this working?

Note: This is taken from our leader's manual that we use to help trainers deliver our version of Dealing With Hostile Customers.

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