How to Deal with Difficult People

Author: Lynn Fountain

CPE Credit:  2 hours for CPAs

We’ve all been there, trying to reason with an incredibly difficult person. The situation proves frustrating, maddening, and sometimes even frightening. The truth is you can’t reason with an unreasonable person. However, there are proven techniques to better manage such dicey situations.

The difficult business issues that arose in 2020 and will certainly continue into 2021 make this an even more difficult issue to handle. Often, professionals’ resort to changing positions or moving to another area. However, difficult people are everywhere. It might be possible to avoid the 1st one or two difficult people, but how about the 3rd, 5th, 10th person you encounter? Hiding isn't a permanent solution. So rather than turn to some drastic decisions each time, why not equip yourself with the skills to deal with them?

There are tactics that professionals can use with your boss, a customer, a family member, even a stranger. Keep in mind: The closer your relationship the person, the more knowledge you’ll have of what will best work to calm things down.

When you're dealing with a person behaving unreasonably, the fear response center in your brain is going to be activated. It's up to you to engage your conscious mind in order to defuse the situation. Some of these tips are general, suggesting a mindset to cultivate.

During these course we will examine some of the most successful techniques experts have identified to utilize when working with difficult people. Some of these tactics may be difficult at first but when you know the situation, understand the people involve, the tactics can effectively help de-escalate the issue and provide a sense of calm to the discussion.

Publication Date: May 2021

Designed For
All organizations, employees, management, staff, vendors and board members.

Topics Covered

  • Signs of a Difficult Person
  • Evaluating Roles in the Situation
  • Tips For Communicating With Difficult People
  • Identify How to De-escalate a Toxic Issue
  • Effective Tactics to Utilize When Dealing With Difficult People

Learning Objectives

  • Identify the "signs" that you may be dealing with a difficult person
  • Recognize and evaluate your own role in the relationship and what may be causing difficulty on your side
  • Describe tips for communicating with difficult people
  • Identify how to de-escalate a toxic issue
  • Identify the most effective tactics to utilize when dealing with difficult people
  • Describe difficult people
  • Recognize which personality type takes potshots at others
  • Identify the best way to address a difficult person
  • Identify the best way to deal with an unreasonable person


Instructional Method

NASBA Field of Study
Business Management & Organization (2 hours)

Program Prerequisites

Advance Preparation

Registration Options
Regular Fee $62.00

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