Guila Muir

Developing trainers, presenters and facilitators to make a difference

“Difficult People” Versus Difficult Dynamics

Presenters wanting to learn to respond to ruckus-causing participants discover an industry dedicated to techniques, programs and articles, but especially labels. Experts in the “difficult people” business love labels.

Here are several labels for different kinds of “difficult people”:

  • The Know-It-All
  • The Show-Off
  • The Rambler

But Guess What? We Are All “Difficult People”

To be a person is to be difficult. “Difficult people” are often just regular people responding to difficult dynamics. Difficult dynamics can include:

  • Organizational change
  • Bad room set-up or temperature control
  • Mandatory attendance
  • Ambiguity about how the event will benefit the individual
  • Personal challenges, such as hunger and low blood sugar.

What trainers, facilitators and presenters need to know is:

  • You cannot fix people.
  • You can reduce difficult dynamics, thus lowering the risk of reactive behavior.

3 Ways to Reduce Difficult Dynamics

You may have little control over organizational change or mandatory attendance. However, these steps will address a broad spectrum of difficult dynamics:

1. Set Up the Room for the Outcome You Desire
For engagement, interaction, and accountability, seat people in groups of 5-6.

2. Clarify the Benefits
You MUST clearly express on why this topic is important to the participants and how it will benefit them.

3. Model Both Authoritative and Cooperative Behaviors as a Presenter
Encourage people to express themselves and to ask questions. Simultaneously, set and hold limits.

To achieve smooth dynamics, don’t label human beings. Instead, prevent difficult dynamics before they occur.


2 Responses to ““Difficult People” Versus Difficult Dynamics”

  1. Stevelewsf says:

    thanks for this perspective Guila! 

  2. Guila says:

    Steve, great to hear from you! Thanks for your note.

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