Overcoming Resistance

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overcoming resistance

Overcoming any resistance in the training room is an important skill that can make or break the success of your session and your confidence as a trainer.

In customer service training, you may find there will be lots of reasons why the training 'can’t be implemented', anything from “that doesn't apply to our customers”, to “well if ops/ sales / finance / another department did their job we wouldn't have to x y z.”

Your job as a trainer is to maximize your message, overcome resistance when it arises, and make sure the session doesn’t encounter unnecessary resistance. It's especially important that you don't allow one or two people don't have a  disproportionate and negative impact on the whole group.

What are our top tips?

Take time in your preparation , and in opening or setting up the training effectively.

I would strongly recommend that you read the links highlighted to help you. These tips help you establish your credibility right from the start of the training. You will always work more effectively with the group if they trust that the session will benefit them right from the start.

But what do you do when you are faced with some hostility and you need to overcome resistance? Being at the front of a training room can be a very lonely place. ..

Tips for overcoming resistance

Customer Service Training Tip #1 Listen to understand

Overcoming resistance is much easier if you listen actively to what people say, and understand where the resistance is coming from. Some people aren't happy at being sent on a training course. They see it as remedial rather than refreshing. Listen to their concerns, and find ways to help them see that training is a positive, helpful experience.

Customer Service Training Tip #2 Reflect back

Summarizing back your understanding of what someone has just said is a key skill when training.


Because it buys you thinking time ( big benefit ) and it also demonstrates to participants that you have been listening, and when teams of people are undergoing change being listened to and heard is really important.

Customer Service Training Tip #3 Overcoming objections

As a trainer, we may face some loud and emotional objections from people attending the training session.

Try your version of this

“If I could find a way to demonstrate to you the reasons why this is important would you give it a go?”

It’s very difficult to say no to that in a group of people. This will only work if you have established your credibility and build a good rapport with the group.

Check out our tips on preparing for and opening your customer service training for ways to build credibility from the start

Customer Service Training Tip #4 Weighing up the pros and cons

A force field analysis can be a really useful tool when overcoming resistance, listing on one side of the flipchart all the reasons why the changes should be implemented, and on the other side the reasons why not. If you get the group to agree marks out of 10 for each point on the board, you can count up the strength of the argument on both sides. This will help you focus on the areas of real concern to the group, and often gives you some quick wins.

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