Crucial Skills®

A Blog by Crucial Learning

Trainer Insights

What if a participant claims they don’t have a conversation to work on for their acid test?

Candace BertottiCandace Bertotti is a Master Trainer.

Q Sometimes participants say they have no problems to work on. They like everyone and everyone likes them. Not a problem in the world. How can I help them get something out of the training?

A If someone claims not to have any conversations to work on, I’ll go speak with that person one-on-one while others are working and give him or her some ideas. Here are a few questions to trigger some ideas for them:

  • Any relatives that annoy you (siblings, in-laws, kids, cousins, etc.)? Any touchy issues at home? Do you volunteer or belong to a church—if so, any tough issues there? Any issues ever come up with your neighbors that you wish you handled differently? Any relationship that you wish was closer?
  • Have you ever had a conversation that you know could have gone better? It didn’t have to be extreme, but you know there was room for improvement. Use that example and come up with how you could have handled it differently.
  • If you were to go have dinner with your colleagues after work, what would you complain about?

If none of these questions help, I find that sometimes the idea of speaking up—or having a problem-free life—can be a strong part of someone’s identity. Thus, for a participant to admit the need for improvement in an area is to imply some crack in his or her identity. I try to let these participants off the hook a bit and say, “I’m sure you speak your mind and it sounds like you do it often and effectively. Consider this course as an opportunity for you to become even better at it—to take your already great skills up a notch.” Invite them to consider one place in their life where they could get even better results.

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2 thoughts on “What if a participant claims they don’t have a conversation to work on for their acid test?”

  1. Linda DeVries

    This has been an issue with some of our participants and these are excellent questions to help trigger a conversation. I have copied them down and inserted into my facilitators guide.

    Another idea is several weeks before the first session, we inform registered participants to begin thinking of conversations were they are stuck or have an opportunity to be stuck. Let them know that a ROI will be working through these issues for strnger relationships and greater results.

  2. Darrell Harmon

    Great ideas, Candace. I don’t have any to add; I think you have a good list that offers solid advice.

    The only other thing I say–but I do so jokingly–is that if people can’t come up with issues of their own, they can have some of mine!

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