About a month ago, Vesna Sodnik asked this question on our Effective and Fun Training Techniques LinkedIN group. She was looking for ways to manage the “know-it-all” participants. Here are a few of the suggestions that were shared online, which capture the breadth, diversity, and wisdom of our community. Thanks to all who contributed to this discussion!
Ask participants to categorize themselves and identify whether they are a:
Split the class into these 3 groups and get them to write on butchers paper what they would like to gain from you or what they can contribute to make the session as enjoyable and beneficial to them as you possibly can. I try involving the participant and tap on their experience – explain a concept and then reference to the ‘troublemaker’ and say what are your thoughts on this, John? The feeling of self-importance usually brings them back in line and they look at you an ally rather than the competition, resulting in an immediate change in behavior. Posted online by Reyna Mendes (and Robert “Alan” Black – who added “Visitor” to the list)
In the Indian culture we have an approach in dealing with people in all areas of our life. The approach has four paths — Sama, Dana, Bheda and Danda — all were the political methodologies prescribed in ancient times and were to be contemplated.
First is Sama: political conciliation, a humane approach such as an appeal with logic or reason.
Second is Dana: a sacrifice or a gift or an incentive
Third, Bheda: selective discrimination/differentiation
Finally Danda: punishment
This is 5000 years old recipe of India. Management experts have found out this to be true now! Here’s what it might look like within the context of the classroom. Take each of the techniques in consecutive steps:
This methodology has stood test of time for more than thousands of years! Posted online by both Sai Bhupalam and Subramanyam Jambunathan
I recently spoke to a class that I was warned might be hostile. I began the class with a story of how a young lady had acted like a jerk around me. I explained, “what she still doesn’t know is that I later had an opportunity to influence a hiring decision in which she was a candidate.” (Moral of the story: your behavior has consequences.) Posted online by Walter Boomsma
In a beginning of a session, Draw a picture of 3 boxes or you bring 3 boxes and name them: Hope, Fears and Contribution. Ask each participant to write on 3 separate pieces of paper: 1) what s/he hopes to gain from attending this course; 2) fears in attending the session; 3) a contribution they hope to share. Have them put their papers in the boxes where you can read, summarize, and try to respond to all of their expectations. Posted online by Roy Abou-Habib
It’s amazing what happens when people who want to be there or who want the training and are not able to engage effectively; they get fed up with “the wise guy.”
Group Discussion: Let these folks help you by formally or informally facilitating a group discussion about ground rules. Just before a break (scheduled or not) ask the group three questions:
Team Up: If I need to create small groups for an exercise, I’ll ensure that the “wise guy” ends up in a group with two strong and positive people. They will typically tell him/her the behavior is inappropriate and to tone it down.
Use the comments: Lastly, I try to take whatever the wise-guy says -even the barbs and quips, acknowledge them and then bridge them to something “positive” or somewhere I want to go. I know sometimes this can make it seem like I am giving him or her power, but actually, I believe ( and have been told) it is a great demonstration for people in the room of how to handle issues that happen when they are challenged at presentation. Posted online by Ellen Simes