Handling push backs: options and choice

Facillitation, Front foot No Comments

The scene:

……you are in a meeting and someone asks for clarification of a term before the discussion can start.

And they wont let it drop. You are not sure if this is a derailing tactic or whether others agree…

What are your options for handling this real situation – or possible meeting nightmare?

What would you say?

What could you say?

We like the model of 6 interventions from John Heron, which might be applied here like this:


Cathartic – tell me more

Catalytic – who has (or can imagine) a great definition

Supporting – I know…


Informative – this is the one we are using today

Prescribing – lets move on, and we will come back to it

Confronting – I am always curious when this comes up, is this a real issue for you or maybe about something else?

This sort of approach reminds me of the scene in 1987 film Roxanne where Steve Martin handles an insult with 20 put downs.

In relation to this ‘definition obsessed’ scenario we got these others from a colleague:

“I’m thinking – does anyone else see the need for a clearer definition”
“Let’s spend a few minutes on tables – how do you define it as we start today – then lets feedback, we can agree what to work with, then get going”
“Lets hear the introductory presentations first and see if that helps us…”
“There isn’t a precise definition – that’s why we’ve gathered a range of people here today…”

What are your ideas?  From a multitude of options comes choice…

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