You’ve got a good training design, invited all the right participants (you hope), reviewed the materials, and set the room up just right. Things should be going well, but for some reason, they just don’t seem to be going as you planned.
You’ve hit a roadblock, and you need to work around it. If any of the following five things happen to you, try to catch them early and work them out as quickly as you can – the success of your workshop may depend on it!
1. Someone has made up their mind before the meeting even started that it’s not something they are interested in – so they won’t be an active participant.
Take the person aside at a break. Ask them why they are not involved, and what is needed to get their valuable input. If they remain recalcitrant, allow them to leave. Honest discourse including differences is okay, but not disruptive behavior or allowing one person to ‘cast a pall’ over the whole session.
2. Hostility based on an issue that has nothing to do with the meeting at hand.
Let everyone know that while related work issues are important, they will disrupt our chances of reaching the session’s goals. Give the person an opportunity to get their issue off their chest, and then try to move on by validating their right to feel as they do and suggesting it be taken up off-line. Don’t allow general discussion of the topic – just let them vent. If lack of cooperation continues, invite the person to get on board with the session or leave.
3. Some people willingly talk about their feelings and others won’t.
Create scenarios where those reluctant to talk about themselves have to suppose how someone else would act in a certain situation. (This will allow them to project their own feelings and get used to doing so.)
You can also help introverted people who don’t tend to share in a group open up by giving them the option to do some activities anonymously. Partner activities can also help take the pressure off!
4. Preventing the same people from talking throughout the training.
Rather than ask for volunteers for responses to discussion questions, work your way around the room to make sure participation is spread out. Allow the “dominators” to have periodic input to keep them involved.
5. Group activities sometimes fail to get going.
Cut your losses by ending the activity early (you can tell the group you are doing so “in the interest of time”). After the session, debrief a few participants to see why things did not work properly. Make adjustments before your next use of the materials.
Find a variety of training for interpersonal development.
Suggestions by Skillbuilders, San Diego CA