Course outline: dealing with difficult people

Yes! It’s possible to handle challenging people confidently and constructively. Whether the ‘difficult people’ in your life are customers, colleagues or direct reports, you can learn to influence them without losing your cool. Learn to recognise and respond to the needs that drive challenging behaviour. Hear how to stay calm when dealing with verbal attacks or aggressive language. Get tips for responding to passive behaviours – such as chronic complaining or playing ‘victim.’ Find out what to say when passive-aggressive people use are sarcastic or make pointed comments.

Topics you’ll cover

  • What is a difficult person?
  • Handling difficult behaviour assertively
  • Communication success kit
  • Dealing with passive communicators
  • Handling passive-aggression
  • Dealing with aggressive behaviour

What you’ll learn in this course

By the end of this course, you should be able to achieve these results.

  • Recognise what’s driving difficult behaviour, so you can respond appropriately
  • Regulate your emotions, so you can stay calm in challenging situations
  • Set limits assertively and professionally
  • Use five communication tools for keeping conversations on track
  • Stay solution focused, so that you can sort out the underlying issue that is causing difficult behaviour

About the course facilitator

Eleanor Shakiba is a positive psychology trainer and success coach. Her training style is dynamic and bold, with a dash of quirky humour. She believes that interaction, activity and experimentation promote learning. That’s why she uses experiential training techniques instead of ‘chalk and talk’ lectures.

In her early career, Eleanor ran an educational theatre company. In the mid 1990s, Eleanor discovered her passion for facilitation and adult education. She worked for ten years as a trainer and facilitator at the University of Sydney. In 2006, she founded Think Learn Succeed – a business which delivers training courses and coaching. Eleanor loves working with ‘positive deviants’. These are people who differ from the norm in constructive ways. They’re people who think, talk and behave in ways that change the world. Eleanor works with positive deviants to create vibrant business cultures and peak performance.

Eleanor is qualified in Social Anthropology, Adult Education, Counselling and Positive Psychology. She delights in helping professionals learn skills for success in the real world, using interactive learning techniques. Her students describe Eleanor as ‘a lively and enthusiastic presenter who can keep you engaged for hours.’ Her tools of choice are positive psychology, experiential learning and storytelling. She’s a bit of a photography fan, too. If you’re a visual learner, you’ll love her slides.

Creativity is Eleanor’s signature strength. She loves using it to write books, video scripts and online training programs. Eleanor is the author of Difficult People Made Easy and is currently writing her second book, 6 Habits of Savvy Female Negotiators. She has also created over 120 training programs and a range of online learning courses.

What people say about Eleanor Shakiba’s courses on handling difficult people

"The course was very useful – loads of practical solutions."

Vanessa Di Francesco
Moriah College

"Excellent guide to understanding communication, especially in difficult client scenarios."

Jeff Zimbles
BSI Group

"Really interesting and interactive course. Made me really think about how much I really negotiate in day to day life and very useful tips into how to do so more effectively and to stop being a disruptive negotiator constantly."

Lauren Holmes
The Iconic

"Fantastic overall course, offering ideas for self-regulation and self-reflection to become an assertive facilitator."



Get started now!

Book this program for your team. Choose a delivery format that fits your needs. Your options include running a workshop for your team, enrolling in a public workshop, or one-to-one coaching with Eleanor Shakiba.