||May actually have a lot
of information about the
topic but still could benefit
from the experiences and
perspectives of others.
Acknowledge that they are a wealth of
Approach them during a break and ask for their
assistance in answering a specific question.
At the same time, express your concern that you
want to encourage everyone to participate and
enlist his or her help in doing so.
|"I'm only here
because I have
||May have been required to
attend the workshop, yet
has no particular personal
interest in the topic.
Acknowledge that you know that some of the
participants are present because they have to be.
Ask for their assistance in making this a
Specifically ask,"How can I make this workshop
helpful to you?"
May be genuinely curious.
May be testing you by
putting you on the spot.
May have an opinion but
not confident enough to
Acknowledge that they seem to have a lot of
questions about a particular topic.
If the questions seem like legitimate attempts to
gain content information that other members of
the group already know, tell them that you will be
happy to work with them later to fill in the gaps
or put the question on the parking lot.
Reframe or refocus. Send the questions back to
Establish a buddy system and ask for volunteers
who would be willing to meet with them.
May be eager or a show-
May be exceptionally
well-informed and anxious
to show it, or just naturally
May need to be heard
because they are still
working through difficult
May take time away from
Don't be embarrassing or sarcastic. You may
need their help later. Slow them down with some
difficult questions or difficult tasks (such as group
Interrupt tactfully with something like: "That's an
interesting point. Now let's see what the rest of
the group thinks of it."
In general, let the group take care of them as
much as possible.
- Avoid eye contact.
- Give them a role.
- State that your role is to keep people on
- Quick interruptions - move to them and put
your hand on his or her shoulder.
- Paraphrase what they say and move on.
- Acknowledge that their stories are important
and you and others would love to hear them
later or after the workshop.
May not want to be at the
May be upset by personal/
family health issues.
May upset other
Keep your own temper firmly in check. Don't let
the group get excited either.
Honestly try to find merit in one of their points, or
get the group to do it, then move on to something
else. Say something like,"That was a good point"
or "We've heard a lot from ( person's name), who
else has some ideas?"
If facts are misstated, ask the group for their
thoughts. Let them turn it down.
As a last resort, talk with them in private, find
out what's going on, and ask for cooperation. For
example, say,"Let's talk at break/end of session.
How can we be on the same team?"
Give them a role.