TIPS FOR HANDLING THOSE DIFFICULT PEOPLE
Reprinted from: ABATE of WV
Back to HOW TO CONDUCT MEETINGS
The Know-It-All: Turn the comments made by the know-it-all over to the peers for their opinions. Building the groups' confidence level into a team atmosphere will prevent them from allowing such imposition of views.
Argumentative: Always "keep your cool." Don't lose the respect of the whole group just to stop one member. Use questions to draw out the individual and use the group to generate a discussion. The shift of the argument develops between the individual and the group - NOT YOU! In that case, it doesn't matter who is right and wrong. It generates a good discussion and you come out a winner either way.
Shy: Draw these people into the conversation by calling them by name and asking simple questions. Once they have answered correctly, praise them. Use many open-ended questions and ask them how they feel about others answers.
Obstinate: A closed-minded individual who has decided not to learn needs to win your friendship. Tell this person you will help him or her "get through" this session with a minimum of effort. When this person disagrees or voices discontent, quickly get a majority opinion on this person's statement. Spotlight and applaud any positive comments that person might inadvertently make.
Grudge Bearing: Try to avoid the area of the person's "Pet Peeve." Set the groundwork for the chapter by explaining that any issue to be discussed through case studies, role plays or examples are for the benefit of the majority and not platforms for personal complaints. If there is a rivalry between two group participants, try to keep them apart.
Talkative: Do not call on them and avoid eye contact. If they get control, tactfully interrupt and ask others to comment. Ask others for opinions. It may be necessary to ask the talkative person to politely refrain and give others a chance.
Disinterested: A good method to use is to circulate around in the group before you begin with your agenda items or during the introductions to find out individual motives for being there. These people will tell you quickly if they are there against their will or if they are not interested. Once armed with that information, you may get them involved by asking their advice or by asking them direct questions about themselves. Find out about their interests and try to relate the meeting to them.
Indecisive: These people like to debate issues endlessly. They will always cause the discussion to run longer than necessary. They constantly try to get your opinion as a leader. To force a decision, refer the question back to the group and then to the individual for their opinion.
Resentful: These people resent other people's opinions, especially when it relates to how they perform their job. This person may feel that they do their task best. Get them to contribute to the others in the group and keep them involved without letting them dominate. They may then feel they are demonstrating their experience and may be more cooperative.