Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Quick tips for dealing with annoying trainees

Whether you’re lecturing a large group, or training just a few, every once in a while you experience the joy of having to deal with an annoying and/or obnoxious trainee.

From interrupting the trainer with unrelated questions, to disagreeing with certain training methods and even arguing with instructors, disruptive trainees can be a handful. Not only are they annoying to you as the training instructor, but the entire classroom of students also has to deal with their shenanigans throughout the course.

Dealing with these pesky students can be difficult, but getting disruptive behavior under control should be done early and sternly if you want to get through the training course with your sanity intact.

Here are some quick tips for dealing with an annoying trainee:

  • Don’t ignore it. Rather than letting the behavior grow into a big problem, confront the disruptor. Have a conversation with the student during a break to let them know about their disruptive behavior and how it affects the rest of the class.

  • Empathize. However bad their behavior may be, remember that you’re still dealing with an adult here. Most adults know better than to be rude to an instructor. So, pull the annoying trainee to the side and explain that you understand their frustration, but would rather discuss it another time and not in front of the entire group.

  • Know that you may hurt their ego. You’re in charge, it’s your classroom and you have to do what’s best for the group. Your comments regarding their behavior may hurt their feelings, but trust me, they’ll get over it.

  • Let them be heard. The reason behind an trainee’s annoying questions may be because they don’t feel like their opinion is being heard. Let the student say what they have to say and their comments or questions may die down once they’ve had the chance to talk.

  • Engage. Create training activities that engage students in a hands-on activity. If they’re busy working with other students on a clear and focused task, they may be less likely to act out.

  • Include. Sometimes a person is being annoying because they are knowledgeable in the topic you’re training and want to share what they know. If possible, make the student responsible for a piece of the training course. It could help add more life to the training and you never know, you could actually learn something new in the process.

Dealing with difficult people at work or in a training setting can be a challenge, to say the least. Remember to bring along a little patience and understanding to the situation and you’ll soon be on the road to success (and sanity).

How do you get through a training course with an annoying trainee in the bunch? Share your tips in a comment below.

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