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Dealing With Difficult People – Why Do They Act Like That?

DifficultPeopleYou have seen them. They are the people that always have a different opinion. They know the ONLY way to do something. They don’t want to even consider another way. We have all worked with them. Everyone wants to know how do we deal with that type of person?

Before you can deal with that type of person, you need to look at why do they take that hard stance? What is it that makes them feel that they are right?
Generally, people take a difficult stance for one or more of the following reasons:

1. They experienced a similar situation before that was not successful and are convinced this will not be successful either so why are you wasting my time.
2. They don’t have enough “context” information to see the big picture. Their scope of knowledge is only a portion of the entire problem, situation or project.
3. They may have some personal issues that they are dealing with that prevent them from fully participating.
4. They are afraid that they will appear weak among their peers and reports. They have a need to always be right.
5. They are afraid of failure. If you don’t do it my way it won’t work and then I will be responsible anyway.

These are just a few of the real reasons that people behave in a difficult manner. I believe there are underlying issues for most people when they behave in this way. Your meetings need to be structured to mitigate these behaviors. You may not be able to prevent them all but you can certainly start to establish a process to reduce them. Here are just a few suggestions.

1. Be sure that the people you have in the meeting are there for a reason. Don’t invite everyone. Invite only those that need to participate. If you have a group of people that simply need to be “in the know” send them a memo. Otherwise, you will be wasting time.
2. Let the group share what they feel the desired outcome of the meeting should be. What would they consider “success” of the meeting. Each person may have a totally different idea of why they are even at the meeting.
3. When you see bad behavior do something. Move around the room, go stand by the person who is having the side conversation. They will stop.
4. Be sure you have enough small group discussions built into the meeting so that they have a chance to share information with their neighbors.
5. Have a defined, interesting and engaging agenda and discussion. If the participants at the meeting are able to check their email while in the meeting, you have room to improve your meeting and agenda planning. Participants should not be interested in checking their email ( unless they are on call or in need) and should be drawn to the meeting. They should know that they are a part of the meeting and their voices and input is important.

One of skills that is growing in demand is “facilitation” skills. To be adapt at designing and facilitating meetings takes training and research. ICA-USA and ICA-Associates, Canada have spent decades developing facilitation training based on successful implementation of those methods. Consider taking one of the two upcoming classes offered by ICA-USA and ICA-Canada. ICA-USA ToP TM Facilitation Methods will show you two methods (Focused Conversation and Consensus Workshop) and one process ( Action Planning). The ICA-Canada class will show you how to determine the “right” people to have in the room, develop agendas, room set up, flip chart tips , 72 activities to use in your meetings and how to deal with difficult people.

Here are the links to the 2 Florida classes. Each of them are a 2 day workshop.

* Top Facilitation Methods – ICA – USA, http://bit.ly/1Udds20
* Making Meetings Work – ICA – Associates http://bit.ly/2aCt5iL

What is ToP Facilitation?

Technology of Participation from Youth Empowerment Studios on Vimeo.

Sign up for the October 20-21st, 2015  ToP Facilitation Methods in Orlando, Fl.

Do you belong to the Association of the Miserable?

Complaining is easy.  Negaticomplainve conversation is the easiest for most people. (1) . Sometimes the first reaction to any conversation is the adversarial opinion. Why?

Why do we automatically do that? Is it because we don’t agree with what is being said? Or is it we truly don’t care about what is being said and it is way to halt the conversation? Do we want to be last heard and first remembered?

I used to find myself doing that on occasion. Okay – more than on occasion. At least that is how I used to be. I have changed my thoughts process and you can too.

Allow me to share my “before and after”, as an example for you.

Here is the scenario: A friend tells me that they are getting a dog.

My internal thoughts before:
Why would they want to get a dog. It is a lot of work and will pee on the floor, poop on their shoes and cost them a lot of money. Just when they get used to and attached to the dog, it will get hit by a car and then they will be sad. Why would anyone want a dog?

You can see that I used to belong to the “Association of the Miserable”.

My new internal thoughts are:
The dog will be a lucky dog because they have a nice back yard for the dog. The dog will be able to sleep in the house with the kids. I myself would not want a dog. If I did have the perfect dog, it would be fun to take it on walks. They will enjoy taking the dog on walks, petting it and sharing it with their friends and family. The dog will give them joy in their life. Maybe they need something in their life that is always happy and forgiving. Maybe I will get their dog a “welcome home” doggy present. I always have liked going in to the dog store and now I have a real reason to shop there.

What would happen to the world, your neighborhood, school or just your family if you could change how you think? Change how you process information. It is possible, and not all that hard!

Learn this method of Focused Conversations along with ways to build consensus and action planning in the ToP Facilitation Methods 2 day class in Orlando, October 9-10, 2014.  Tell someone that you know belongs to the “Association of the Miserable”.   Sign up at www.ToPFlorida.org

#focusedconversation #ICA #ToPMethods

(1) The Art of Focused Conversation, Brian Stanfield, for the Canadian Institute of Cultural Affairs

Life in 140 Characters

140-charactersLife in the fast lane. That is where we are. We don’t have conversations any more we have tweets. If you can’t communicate in less than 140 characters, no one is listening. Only the first 5 lines of emails are getting read.   Voice mails are being translated into text messages loosing all the vocal intent of the message.

We, as a society are loosing the the ability to really communicate. We are not getting deeper into matters that have meaning. We simply exist every day and do our very best to “stay in the middle”.   We work really hard at being alone while we are surrounded by what we think are thousands of e-friends.

This is all compounded by the overload factor. We are so good at collecting data that it is turning into garbage. Myself, I sometimes feel like the garbage recycler when I open my email. It is delete, recycle to someone else, forward on, or set on the counter for later action.   We want to be sure that our message is heard, so we try to compete in the message garbage stream. If one message is good, than 3 is better and it better have all of the information in the first 140 characters, because that is all that will be read.

How does all of this make you feel?

Do you feel alone while surrounded by thousands? Do you feel closer to people who you simply have asynchronous dialogs with every day via “chat”?   Do you feel sometimes that your friends and family just want you to “get to the point” so they can get to their point?

Are you gaining knowledge and understanding from this constant stream of non communications? When did you last feel that you have had a breakthrough learning moment?   Was it when you read that incredible email or had a face to face conversation in a relaxed atmosphere?

Think for a moment, when was your last ah-ha moment? Who were you talking to via what communication tool? Did you feel the conversation? Did you experience empathy and share emotions? Did you come out with a deeper understanding of the person, problem or situation?   Did new ideas come to you that would have never surfaced otherwise?

So what?

Is there a chance we can turn this around?   Will the next generation be communicating in 60 characters or less? Will we forget about the human side of life? Will we totally loose the human side of communications?

What can you do?

Turn life around. Make time for personal interactions with conversations that go deeper. Create opportunities for true conversations.   Ask questions that begin with why, how, why, or which. Avoid questions that can be simply answered with a yes or no.   Take time to explore relationships by creating dialogs around opportunities.  Embrace this with your friends, co-workers and family.

Start off your conversations by confirming all participants are actually in the same conversation. Ask simple questions that have simple answers, that begin with what. Examples might be, what are you working on, what happened in your day today, or what headlines did you see today? These are all easy questions that require more than a yes or no answer. They have no right or wrong answer, they are simply stating the facts.

After you have “grounded” the beginning you may want to ask how they feel about the situation you are discussing. How did this headline make you feel, what projects are giving you the most anguish, what projects are you looking forward to the most or what stood out for you as the highlight of your day?

Having set the foundation and gotten the emotional connections clarified, next would be to ask questions about what the real intent of the situation is. A question may be something like, Why do you think your friend did that, what changes would you recommend to the projects, what does this mean for our business or friendship, or why are you interested in this project?   These types of questions allow you to understand the implication that is felt by the situation at hand.   If you understand the situation, the feeling on the situation, and proposed implications, then you can take decisive planned actions.

To wrap up the conversation, you may ask a question like, What do you think we should do now, what should we do next, what followup will help you, what advice would you give considering the situation?

This type of conversation leads to a non threatening, understanding and deeper relationships whether it is co-workers, friends, or family.

What would happen if we all started communicating like this at work, play, and home. What would happen if the government worked this way? Would your legislators ask questions like, What is in this bill, how will it affect people, what is the real intent and what should we do next?

We can all take this opportunity to begin our own journey into deepening our conversations, our understanding and our successes in life. I challenge each of you to make the time for deeper, more fulfilling conversations that enhance our lives and learning.

If you would like to learn more about this type of “Focused Conversation”, I encourage you to seek out a Technology of Participation Facilitation Methods class.

Graphic Virtual Facilitation – Learning from the experts

Today, I facilitated an virtual sharing session demonstrating how to graphically facilitate from an IPAD.  If you think there are technology challenges associated with a regular presenter,  try complicating it with an IPAD projecting on to the presenters laptop.   As a good facilitator should, we did a technology dry run.   It worked just fine.   We know that doesn’t guarantee it will work fine the next time.  Especially when there is any change whatsoever with the equipment, or the internet connection.   That was our challenge today.  We moved from a practice run in Paris to a live demo in Chicago with a borrowed ipad.  All in all it was well worth the time and our presenter, Roberta was fabulous.

Here are some of the highlights that I noted from our presentation today:

  • 5 colors plus black is usually enough
  • Suggested stylus for the ipad is a WACOM Bamboo selling on Amazon for about $16.95
  • The new version of Brushes for IPAD is not as good for graphic recording as the older version
  • The new Sketchbook Pro for the IPAD costs about $5.00 and has all of the tools you need including layers.
  • If you want to cut and paste items or graphics, try the software Scanscribe  It will allow you to do that but has other limited capabilities.
  • 3 different textures are enough for graphic facilitating
  • Be sure and use layers – the optimum number of layers is 3
  • When you project your graphic facilitation on a screen, there is a wide variance of success depending on the screen resolution and the lighting in the room
  • You can do separate drawings and then “stitch” them together in Photoshop

This industry of graphic facilitation has the most generous people that I have encountered.  They are very willing to share their ideas and tips.   I can’t wait now to try out the new things I learned today.  Maybe I’ll “graphically represent” the ideas and post my artwork!

Here is a link to the recorded virtual graphic facilitation learning exchange.

If you are interested in presenting your graphic facilitation tips, skills or software demonstration, email  info@virtualfacilitator.us

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