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

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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 Presentation Transcript

  • 1. Scott BrownCLiC Spring Workshop, Grand Junction, CO February 28, 2011 © 2011 Scott Brown © Yuri Arcurs - Fotolia.com 1
  • 2. 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
  • 3. 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
  • 4. Why are difficult patrons so difficult? They’re emotional They’re stubborn We get emotional and stubborn© fred goldstein - Fotolia.com © 2011 Scott Brown 4
  • 5. 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
  • 6. Why conflict is scary Fight or flight response triggered Bundled up with daily frustrations Our own emotions are involved © 2011 Scott Brown 6
  • 7. 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
  • 8. Types of conflict Tension or “unspoken” conflict Written Spoken Face-to-face © 2011 Scott Brown 8
  • 9. 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 - Fotolia.com
  • 10. Conflict preventionCustomer service skills Acknowledging and greeting people Listening Tone and body language Understandable language Proactive Positive approach © 2011 Scott Brown 10
  • 11. 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
  • 12. Conflict preventionCommunication Open Honest Often Assertive vs. aggressive © 2011 Scott Brown 12
  • 13. Conflict! © 2011 Scott Brown 13
  • 14. 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
  • 15. 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
  • 16. Then… Use bridge statements Start with needs Focus on the problem  Use the “salami” tactic Take your time © 2011 Scott Brown 16
  • 17. 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
  • 18. Escalated situations  Change locations  Be specific in your requests  Say how the behavior is affecting you  Get help/escape © 2011 Scott Brown 18
  • 19. 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
  • 20. 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
  • 21. The effect of online More anonymous Easier to be rude Easier to dismiss, avoid, “write off” © 2011 Scott Brown 21
  • 22. 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
  • 23. Thank you!Scott BrownProfessional and personal coachingscott_r_brown@comcast.net303-834-7553Social Information Grouphttp://www.socialinformationgroup.comscott@socialinformationgroup.com303-834-7553http://www.linkedin.com/in/scottrbrown © 2011 Scott Brown 23