"Difficult people" are everywhere. They are in shops, in restaurants, on the bus and in your meetings at work. They may even be members of your family. You can tell a difficult person because they stop things from happening. They raise questions and ask WHY? But one of the GOOD things about difficult people is that they do say NO.

I was listening to Lisa Haneberg’s fireside chat with Johnnie Moore and was struck by the discussion towards the end that focused on "difficult people". I have always been focused on achieving outcomes, making things happen — often overcoming the problems posed by "difficult people". But Johnnie and Lisa raise some interesting points about difficult people and the way that we label them.

Difficult people are often very passionate and driven people. They are saying NO for a reason — and while there may be a hidden agenda, there may also be very valid reasons. The challenge for marketers is to work through the issues to find a new way of engaging the difficult person. How do we do this?

Johnnie suggests that we start by leaving our own agendas at home. It is easy to forget that we have our own ideas and expectations that we bring to a workshop, to a campaign or a project. If we REALLY listen to the difficult person, we may find that the problems are not with them, but with us. Finding a new way to communicate is the challenge — but the first step is listening to the words that come out of our own mouths and understanding how "difficult" we are being.

S.