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.
As a speaker, trainer and facilitator, there are many challenges I have had to deal with.ï¿½ Here are three I have heard many times:
ï¿½I donï¿½t agree.ï¿½
ï¿½Thatï¿½s not my experience.ï¿½
ï¿½That doesnï¿½t make sense.ï¿½
These are the sort of responses that make speaking and facilitating fun!
ï¿½Well, youï¿½re wrong.ï¿½
ï¿½Your experience is irrelevant.ï¿½
ï¿½Youï¿½re clearly stupid.ï¿½
ï¿½ are the nightmare responses that can not only crush a participantï¿½s spirit, but also encourage even more resistance ï¿½ active or passive ï¿½ from that participant or others.ï¿½ Yet, I am sure I am not the only person to have heard these sort of responses from teachers, trainers, speakers and the like.
Instead, use these challenges as a cue to take the learning even deeper.
First, validate the personï¿½s perspective, even when you are certain their conclusion is wrong.ï¿½ Their experience may be based on a misunderstanding or a false perception, but it is their experience.ï¿½ Then open out the dialogue:
ï¿½What is your point of view?ï¿½
ï¿½Tell me about your experience.ï¿½
ï¿½Which part doesnï¿½t make sense?ï¿½
These sort of questions almost entirely preclude resistance, because there is nothing to resist against.ï¿½ Perhaps more important; these questions open a dialogue that can help everybody present ï¿½ including you ï¿½ to better understand the topic.