I’ve heard about researchers being…
It should never come to that.
Here’s how to deal with difficult participants.
Primary option: calm them down
Acknowledge their feelings
Show empathy towards the participant’s frustrations. Let them know you understand their concerns. Sometimes, this can be enough to de-escalate the situation.
Reframe the situation
Try to shift the participant’s attention from their bad experience to how it can be improved. This reframe could help redirect their focus and, in turn, lead to a more productive conversation.
Initiate a break
Take a short break to allow them to cool down. This break can also give you an opportunity to reset and figure out how to proceed.
Secondary option: cancel the session
If you can’t get them to calm down or if they’re getting angrier and more hostile, put an end to it.
You don’t have to listen to their insults.
Thank them for their time and input.
Try to end the session on a positive note.
If you start feeling threatened or unsafe, politely but firmly end the session. Exit the situation and reach out to a colleague for support.
Would you like to discuss this post? Share it, tag me, and I will gladly join the discussion!Arnas Aleksandravičius on LinkedIn