AAAARGH! Dealing effectively with difficult patrons
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AAAARGH! Dealing effectively with difficult patrons



Presentation to the Colorado Library Consortium (CLiC) conference, Grand Junction, CO, February 28, 2011.

Presentation to the Colorado Library Consortium (CLiC) conference, Grand Junction, CO, February 28, 2011.



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AAAARGH! Dealing effectively with difficult patrons AAAARGH! Dealing effectively with difficult patrons Presentation Transcript

  • Scott BrownCLiC Spring Workshop, Grand Junction, CO February 28, 2011 © 2011 Scott Brown © Yuri Arcurs - 1
  • A story in brief• Experience in public, academic and corporate libraries• Coach/Therapist• Trainer/speaker/adjunct faculty• My story about conflict © 2011 Scott Brown 2
  • Objectives To understand some of the elements of difficult patron situations To learn some simple tools to help us deal with difficult patrons more effectively To utilize our sense of humor and perspective to help us deal with difficult patrons  Read: have some fun! © 2011 Scott Brown 3 View slide
  • Why are difficult patrons so difficult? They’re emotional They’re stubborn We get emotional and stubborn© fred goldstein - © 2011 Scott Brown 4 View slide
  • Elements of conflict  Opposing – or perceived opposing – goals, views, etc.  The element of respect or disrespect  Emotion  Situation  It’s likely not really “about” you at all © 2011 Scott Brown 5
  • Why conflict is scary Fight or flight response triggered Bundled up with daily frustrations Our own emotions are involved © 2011 Scott Brown 6
  • How does conflict show up with patrons? Materials challenges Privacy Computer usage Those with mental illness Age groups Frustration/anger/hostility/threats Online services/virtual services/social networks © 2011 Scott Brown 7
  • Types of conflict Tension or “unspoken” conflict Written Spoken Face-to-face © 2011 Scott Brown 8
  • Avoidance  Sometimes works, sometimes doesn’t.  Can be misinterpreted: disregard or acceptance  Can set a bad precedent  Can escalate, exacerbate, replicate the situation © 2011 Scott Brown 9 © Andres Rodriguez -
  • Conflict preventionCustomer service skills Acknowledging and greeting people Listening Tone and body language Understandable language Proactive Positive approach © 2011 Scott Brown 10
  • Conflict preventionPolicies Having them Setting patron expectations Consistency Signage If I can’t address the issue, who do I go to? What’s my back-up plan? © 2011 Scott Brown 11
  • Conflict preventionCommunication Open Honest Often Assertive vs. aggressive © 2011 Scott Brown 12
  • Conflict! © 2011 Scott Brown 13
  • First off! Breathe or pause Model behavior – set the tone  Be aware of the power you have Respect Assume good intentions Listen © 2011 Scott Brown 14
  • Next…• Apologize – gracefully • Not for yourself, but for the situation• Acknowledge/validate• Avoiding “assigning feelings”• Get verbal confirmation• Avoid red-flag words• Don’t argue, justify or defend © 2011 Scott Brown 15
  • Then… Use bridge statements Start with needs Focus on the problem  Use the “salami” tactic Take your time © 2011 Scott Brown 16
  • Navigating the rough spots Diplomatically disagreeing Concede a minor point Interrupt tactfully Be assertive Don’t make idle promises Involve colleagues Stay safe © 2011 Scott Brown 17
  • Escalated situations  Change locations  Be specific in your requests  Say how the behavior is affecting you  Get help/escape © 2011 Scott Brown 18
  • Working with those with mental illness  Understand the types of mental illness  Maintain space  Ask how the person is doing  Don’t interrupt if the person is talking to himself/herself – unless necessary  Repeat yourself if necessary  Get help/escape © 2011 Scott Brown 19
  • Taking care of yourself Breathe Don’t take it personally Practicing non-engagement Take a break Talk with someone What’s it about? © 2011 Scott Brown 20
  • The effect of online More anonymous Easier to be rude Easier to dismiss, avoid, “write off” © 2011 Scott Brown 21
  • Managing online conflict Don’t allow anonymous comments Assign moderators Moderate comments Have guidelines Respond quickly Involve your community Don’t be afraid to engage Don’t be afraid to block © 2011 Scott Brown 22
  • Thank you!Scott BrownProfessional and personal coachingscott_r_brown@comcast.net303-834-7553Social Information Grouphttp://www.socialinformationgroup.comscott@socialinformationgroup.com303-834-7553 © 2011 Scott Brown 23