7 Techniques for Handling Difficult People & Situations

7 Techniques for Handling Difficult People and Situations

All of us need skills in handling difficult people, because we’ve all been there.  We’ve all been in a situation where someone – often our customer – is angry, upset, disappointed and feeling frustrated.  And they are directing their frustration at us.

Handling Difficult People

CTO can teach you skills to remain calm when handling difficult people & situations

In order to manage the situation well, we need to learn how to remain calm, diffuse the situation, and assist the customer to arrive at an outcome which is to their satisfaction.  This means we need skills that will help us to keep our cool while our customer is blowing their top.


Who are the Difficult People in your Life?

Difficult people are just everyday people who are currently in a situation which is causing them distress.  Alternatively, you may work with someone who is difficult on a regular basis.


How do these Difficult People Affect You?

It is easy to let a difficult person interfere with your mood and affect your day. In different situations, some people become hard to deal with because they refuse to cooperate. Difficult people need to be handled in a logical and positive manner to ensure they cause only minimal damage and disruption.


Here are 7 tips and tricks for handling difficult people and situations

  1. Remain Calm

Keep your voice even and reasonable. By maintaining self control, you will avoid escalating the problem. Respond rather than react.

Take a deep breath, pause, and think before speaking. It may be necessary to walk away from the situation and come back to it when you are calmer.


  1. Repeat Your Position

When dealing with a difficult person you may need to repeat your position. This shows that you will stick to your guns, are not a pushover, and are adept at solving problems.

You may need to repeat your position several times if the person is angry. For example, “I understand that you would like a refund for the item you purchased, however, our policy is not to provide refunds for change of mind after 14 days.  However, we can offer you a full credit for the item”.

This process is very effective. We expand on this in our course on Handling Difficult People and Situations at Corporate Training Options.


  1. Focus on the Problem

Difficult people can try to make you feel uncomfortable or incompetent. They can insinuate that the problem is with you and the way you do your job. Whether this is a colleague or a customer, they can be quick to find fault with you and continually refer to the problem, rather than focussing on finding a mutually beneficial solution.

Do not be intimidated and always separate the people problem from the issue. Be lenient on the person and strong on the issue at hand.


  1. Never Take a Difficult Situation Personally

The person that you are dealing with may be having a bad day, the situation may have come up for them before and been a problem, or they may just be a bad communicator. You may find that you need to deal with someone who is angry or difficult simply because you are the one they are talking to at the moment.


  1. Know the Difficult People in Your Life

You will possibly deal with many different problematic people in your life – at work, at home, and socially. Know who they are, their attitudes and their common complaints.

If you have had instances with them in the past that you have not deal with well, think about how you would deal with the same situation in the future. What would you say, how would you act, and how would your body language be? The same or similar situations can often re-occur with difficult personalities.

Our course on dealing with difficult people outlines many common scenarios that team members face in work scenarios.


  1. The Degrees of Difficult Situations

Difficult situations can range from a small misunderstanding, to bullying and aggressive behaviour. Decide whether the issue is worth getting into a conflict about. For minor issues you may decide that simply walking away is the best solution, which can then allow you to get on with your day with minimal disruption.


  1. Avoid Being Part of the Problem

Always use empathy and be understanding in difficult situations. Be prepared to listen while the person blows off steam. Do not, however, remain passive – stand up for yourself.

Using humour is a great way to diffuse a difficult situation. Remain in control, confident and credible.

Teamwork and positive work relationships go a long way towards minimising conflict within the workforce. Effective communication is not always easy, but it can be learned.

At Corporate Training Options we will roleplay different scenarios, so your staff come away confident that they can deal with difficult situations.


Training in Handling Difficult People

The above techniques and actionable strategies on Handling Difficult People and Situations are covered in much more detail in the Corporate Training Options course so please contact us today for more information.

Training your team to deal with difficult people and situations will result in increased morale in the office, fewer customer complaints, more confident team members and a greater level of customer staff retention and productivity. This all affects the environment and morale in your workplace, as well as your profitability.

For more information, or to receive an online quote or to book a course for your team, you can view the course details here  Handling Difficult People & Situations course details



Any thoughts or experiences you’d like share about handling difficult people or situations?

We’d love to hear about your experiences, or answer any questions you have, so please feel free to contact the Corporate Training Options team today.


About Corporate Training Options

Corporate Training Options is an Australian Professional Development Training Company, incorporated in 1992.

Our customised Professional Development courses are available Australia-wide, for business executives and corporate teams, and provide a cost-effective way of ensuring you and your staff are presenting your best image to the world.

CTO Professional Development Training courses are customised to meet your requirements, and your training is provided on-site, on dates which suit you.


For more information on the range of Corporate Training Courses available, please visit the CTO website here


Rosy King

Corporate Training Options

Professional Training  –  Exceptional Results


E: training@cto.com.au

W: www.cto.com.au