Tips for Managing the Attention Seeker
There will probably be at least one attention seeker in every class and they will take your time and attention from the rest of the group if you let them.
Some tips for managing attention seekers include:
1. Identify them early.
2. Establish some ground rules at the start of the session around interruptions and question time so you will not be constantly distracted.
3. When you find the attention seeker trying to monopolise question time, suggest they have had their turn, and now it is someone else’s turn to ask a question. Tell them if they still have questions to be answered at the end of the session, you will be available for 10 minutes. Time limits are important.
4. If they fail to respond to your requests to let others be heard, let them speak, but do not respond. Then move on.
5. If the attention seeker is interrupting someone else, use the policeman’s “stop” signal, holding the hand up, palm towards the attention seeker while directing your eyes to the person who is speaking. This is a not-so-subtle move and usually shuts them up, though you need to be careful that this is not done aggressively or you will arouse their hostility.
6. You may be able to give the Attention Seeker something to do that moves the session along but does not impact negatively on the group: solving a problem or demonstrating a skill. Often what they want is praise or recognition for their superior knowledge or skill.
Want to know more?
Check out ITCC’s training for trainers, including the Certificate IV in Training and Assessment or the Managing Difficult People Short Course