I've had an interesting couple of weeks, lots of meeting people and networking with a couple of serendipitous events thrown in...

Anyway, out of one of these discussions with an associate who is a business psychologist has borne a plan. We shall deliver a number of training days around the area (Bath, Newbury, Oxford & Swindon to be specific) this June on the topic of managing difficult people. Or is it managing difficult situations? Or managing difficult conversations? Or is it "let's get myself the hell out of this and keep myself sane"? I'm guessing you can see where I'm coming from.

Of course it will be a fascinating day. Between us we have been a psychiatric nurse, a police man, a counsellor, a psychologist, a trade union officer, (parents?)... The list could go on. And, through that, we are both highly used to dealing with some very difficult customers but there's the rub. We've also highly likely been judged by others; whether it be a shop assistant, a doctor or a waiter as a difficult customer. And there we were thinking how reasonable we were. Ouch!

So. That's the point. People can be difficult to work with and when you are at work you need to be able to deal with it. Otherwise you lose customers and you or your staff get stressed. Removing the label of a difficult person is hugely important, we need to break it down in to difficult conversations or situations. What causes people to be difficult? Is it a mismatch between their expectations and what you are able to offer. Is it that you don't always recognise some of the clues that the person you're just about to deal with is having a bad day? Once the difficult situation arises, how do you keep your emotional responses in check? It's important to hang on to the fact that person is a human and the service exists to work with humans. So we'll debunk the labelling and get people to be people centred and customer focussed.

We're really positive about this initiative and would love to hear your thoughts, views etc. In the first instance we'll be aiming the days at people who are in front line customer facing roles within the service sector, GP or Vets receptionists, Healthcare Support Workers, staff who work at front desks for the police service for example. We're also happy to tailor the day and run it solely for corporate customers reflecting your values and customer service standards. There'll be an online pre attendance questionnaire so we can understand the needs of our delegates, a real focus on behaviour change so delegates will be able to deal with things differently next time. Places will be strictly limited to twelve delegates to maximise the learning opportunities on the day. To make sure it's stuck we will also follow up with a telephone call about a week after the event to see how things are going.

If you're interested in attending, sending a delegate or just want to find out a bit more then, as ever, please feel free to contact me.


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