People resist learning for lots of reasons, but one thing is likely to exacerbate the effect more than anything else: how the teacher, trainer, mentor or facilitator handles their resistance.

Familiar challenges

As a speaker, trainer and facilitator, there are many challenges I have had to deal with.� Here are three I have heard many times:

�I don�t agree.�

�That�s not my experience.�

�That doesn�t make sense.�

These are the sort of responses that make speaking and facilitating fun!

Nightmare responses

�Well, you�re wrong.�

�Your experience is irrelevant.�

�You�re clearly stupid.�

� are the nightmare responses that can not only crush a participant�s spirit, but also encourage even more resistance � active or passive � from that participant or others.� Yet, I am sure I am not the only person to have heard these sort of responses from teachers, trainers, speakers and the like.

Go deeper

Instead, use these challenges as a cue to take the learning even deeper.

First, validate the person�s perspective, even when you are certain their conclusion is wrong.� Their experience may be based on a misunderstanding or a false perception, but it is their experience.� Then open out the dialogue:

�What is your point of view?�

�Tell me about your experience.�

�Which part doesn�t make sense?�

These sort of questions almost entirely preclude resistance, because there is nothing to resist against.� Perhaps more important; these questions open a dialogue that can help everybody present � including you � to better understand the topic.

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