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April 1, 2018

10 Tips on Handling Disgruntled Workshop Participant 

Last year, I gave a workshop at the Carnegie Center for Literacy in Lexington, Kentucky on publishing with a small press. The turnout was great and the group was attentive and eager to learn.  

Throughout the lecture, most people asked thoughtful questions—with the exception of one individual.  His comments were unnerving.  He put me on the spot.  He challenged and put down my ideas and recommendations.  

I had never experienced anything like this in other workshops I had given or at workshops I had attended.  It was shocking to me that anyone could be so bold.  Luckily, my thoughts were on the lecture, delivering important information and sticking to the schedule, so his rude behavior did not distract me too much. 

Most people who attend workshops are eager to learn.  But sometimes, there's an individual who is provocative.  Here are some tips in handling a disgruntled participant:

  • Be aware that not everyone is going to like you or your workshop.
  • Be aware that an argumentative participant may be present.
  • Take note that your expertise may be challenged.
  • Don't argue. 
  • Take a drink of water to calm your nerves and to gather your thoughts.
  • Listen and be polite.
  • Give a short reply and move on.
  • Defer comments to the end of the presentation.
  • Thank everyone for coming.
  • Take solace in knowing the majority are present to learn, not challenge. 

Don't let a bad experience keep you from giving workshops.  Presenting valuable information is a win-win situation because you can teach other writers and it allows them to get to know you and your work.  Consider presenting a workshop to build your writer's platform.

I'd ♥ to hear from you.  Be sure to leave a comment.




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