Managing People Who Are Forced To Attend
Facilitator Tips Episode 55

How to Manage People Forced To Attend Your Program


This week’s Facilitator Tips episode explores what options you have available to you when people or groups are forced to attend your program.


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In an ideal world, everyone who attends a program comes because they want to and is willing to participate at a level that they are comfortable.

However, this is not the reality for many programs or groups. In this episode, I share what has worked for me regarding prevention and remedy.

Click the play button above to learn what you can do when people are not given a choice to attend your programs.


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Useful Links & Resources


  • Honouring Challenge by Choice – click this link to view Episode 6 of this series to give you a few clues about this powerful philosophical framework to help you prevent and fix many of the problems you may encounter when people are forced to attend your program.
  • What is FUNN? – click this link to explore Episode 17 in this series to learn why injecting lots of FUNN into your program can turn the gruffest person into a willing participant.


Video Transcript


Hi there and welcome to Episode 55 of the Facilitator Tips video series.

My name is Mark Collard. I work as an experiential trainer and author, and one of the most common questions that I get in the middle of a program or at some point is okay, this is all great but what do I do about people who don’t want to attend my program or are forced to attend my program?

And it’s a great question, and just like you, it occurs to me as well, so let’s tackle that by dividing the issue into two.

First of all, let’s look at the preventative actions to avoid that from occurring, and then, of course, the reality of when people actually arrive and they are forced to attend. The first part is, let’s assume that people are actually choosing to attend and also understand that they have the ability to participate at whatever level that might be.

A real key to doing that, to prevent those issues from occurring, is to really educate your client or the group you’re working with with the rationale or framing the experience so it’s really clear why you’re doing what you’re doing. And naturally helping them understand from the beginning, before they’ve even arrived, as you’re talking to the group in advance, that they have a choice.

And I speak to this… this philosophical framework of challenge by choice in Episode 6 of this series, so check that out in the show notes. So to prevent the issue of people feeling like I don’t want to be here, educate them from the beginning and help them understand they have a choice.

But then, of course, we need to understand that there has to be a remedy as well, and the first part is to understand there’s choice as well. Right from the beginning if people can understand they’re not going to be threatened, they’re not going to be embarrassed, and no one’s going to force them to do anything even if they just sit off to the side, that really does disarm that initial resistance at the beginning.

And look, there have been many programs where a slice of the group sits off to the side because they’re not sure about what’s about to happen.

And then my most potent weapon is to have fun. It is really hard to look cool when everyone else is having a great time, and it’s a really powerful weapon to engage people to participate. And so if there is that initial resistance when you’re looking at a group, they’ve got their arms crossed and they’re very gruff, if you can just help them… make them feel at ease, that hey, I’m not here to force you to do anything and I’m actually going to make it really fun… there’s been very few programs in my career where I haven’t been able to get everyone at some level to participate at a level that they are comfortable.

As I say, check out Episode 6 Challenge by Choice and honouring challenge by choice for more details.

And then naturally if you’ve got a comment, what are you doing when you meet that issue of people being forced to be a part of your program. Leave a comment, and I’ll look forward to seeing you at our next episode in the Facilitator Tips video series.

Bye for now.


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