You are here

Do you feel confident in your ability to deal with difficult or emotionally charged library users? Effective verbal and non-verbal communication skills can be the key to defusing volatile incidents. This highly interactive workshop will help you:

  • Reduce your risk of being caught off guard or of being unable to cope with potentially explosive interactions.
  • Redirect danger and irrationality before it escalates.
  • Increase your persuasiveness to interpret and divert the flow of heated emotions, words and events.
  • Effectively control conflict and facilitate productive resolutions.

At the conclusion of the workshop you will be equipped with powerful skills and the confidence you need to de-escalate and resolve challenging interpersonal situations in your library setting.

Workshop Description: In this course you will learn how to interact and communicate with non-cooperative, confused, disruptive, angry or potentially violent library users. The AACT (Awareness, Attitude, Communication, Training) approach teaches effective techniques for persuading users to comply with library policies, thereby minimizing disruption to the flow of library business and reducing the potential for stress, emotional upheaval or physical trauma to staff and other library users. Exercises, demonstrations of real life scenarios and lots of practice will help you identify and hone skills you can use to diffuse troublesome situations when you return to your worksite.

Pre-workshop assignment: Students are asked to be prepared to present a library workplace situation that they have experienced or observed that involved a difficult customer.

Preliminary Course Outline:

  • Awareness: Identifying Dangerous Interpersonal Dynamics
    • Danger cues
    • Recognizing the motivations for conflict and violence
    • The "Assault Cycle"
    • Employee responsibilities, resources and legal obligations
  • Attitude: Controlling for the "Predator or Prey Reality"
    • I've got the power!
    • Projecting a professional, competent attitude to avoid being a target
    • Using the SELF to gain cooperation and avoid or defuse explosive situations
  • Communication: Avoiding the "Head in the Sand Syndrome"
    • Clear perceptions and non-defensive responses positively impact on our social environment
    • Non-verbal communication skills
    • Verbal formulas for gaining compliance
    • Control the course of verbal confrontation
  • Training: Practice Makes Perfect—Learned Reactions for Personal Safety
    • Maintaining emotional balance and mental focus while under stress
    • Leaving and/or calling for assistance
    • Reacting to the most common types of assault
    • Skill demonstration and practice

Workshop Instructor: Edmond Otis