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Traffic Patrol Officers: Increase Bus/Truck Traffic Enforcement

Tips for Handling Challenging Participants

You won’t always have challenging participants in your training. However, this section will provide tips and techniques to address some of the common ways that participants disrupt the conversation.

Argumentative Participant

  • Acknowledge the participant’s point of view, and attempt to change the topic.
  • Try to turn the discussion away from the individual and back to the group.
  • Don’t push the individual.
  • Remain confident and in control of the flow of conversation.

Overly Critical/Aggressive Participant

  • Remain calm and neutral in your responses.
  • Request that the individual offer an alternative idea/suggestion.
  • Ask the group to respond to the participant.
  • Try to turn the discussion away from the individual and back to the group.

Overly Talkative Participant

  • Be clear upfront about the importance of staying on topic and within the time limit.
  • Use non-verbal signals such as looking at your watch or at the clock, attempting to encourage the participant to wrap up their comment or question.
  • Speak with the individual alone to see if you can address their question or concern.

Arrogant/Know it All Participant

  • Come to the training prepared and with a good handle on the subject matter.
  • Restate the participant’s ideas to the group.
  • Agree with parts of the argument, but turn the discussion back to the group.
  • Present ideas using words like “maybe,” “perhaps,” or “I wonder if.”
  • Use “we” or “us” instead of “I” or “you.”