Facilitating…the art of making a task easier.

Archive for the ‘Tools’ Category

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


Magic Whiteboard on a rollDon’t you love it when you discover a tool that is so awesome that you wish you had invented it?  One of those “why didn’t I think of that” moments?

Recently I was asked to facilitate a half day meeting in a room that I was not familiar with.  As we all know, when you ask someone, “do you have white boards”, they can answer yes, but it still may not fill your requirements.   To some people a white board could be 8” x 11” or  8’ x 11’.    I thought, why can’t I bring my own whiteboards?  Isn’t there a way to transport them in my car?   Low and behold, there is!

Magic Whiteboard on a roll!   Magic Whiteboard is similar to a cling wrap that you would cover your food with. It comes in a box and sheets are pre-perforated for easy tearing.   When you tear them apart, they do not stretch out of shape or tear.  The sheets are a milky white and about twice the thickness of cling wrap.

Being the skeptic that I am, I had to test their “clinginess”.   I took one of the sheets and wrote with the marker that they provided for free and placed the sheet on a painted wall.  It stuck perfectly.  All of the sheet had contact with the wall.   Of course, I also need to test to see if it would stick on my sound proof carpeted wall.  It actually stuck there too!   I placed this “test sheet” on my painted wall and left it up for 2 weeks.  It never budged an inch.  I am sold on this product.

Not only do they produce a great product, but the customer service is outstanding.  In your order, you get a little note from the crew that packaged your product.   It is promptly shipped and well worth the cost.

Being unsure if my favorite wipe erase markers would work, I also ordered the markers that they sell on their website.  It was not necessary, as regular wipe – erase worked just fine.

A good facilitator is ready for any type of meeting opportunity.  I keep a spare box of whiteboard now in my office for those last minute requests.  Here is the link if you want to order a box for yourself.


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