10 Techniques for Teaching Sensitive Topics in CPI Training

March 9, 2016
Two pairs of hands clasped together.

Substance abuse. Mental illness. Workplace bullying. Giving bad news.

Because these and other topics are sensitive issues, you might face challenges when you address them in your internal trainings. 

To manage any challenge with sensitivity, Certified Instructors should tactfully focus on the goals of each course. You’ll find the course objectives clearly outlined in the Participant Workbooks, Teaching Notes, and Instructor Manuals and Guides specific to each course.

Here are 10 techniques to help you succeed in steering resistance or negativity toward constructive interest and involvement:

  1. Begin by reviewing the Facilitation Dynamics section of your Instructor Portfolio, Manual, or Guide for tips on answering challenging questions.
  2. Review the many tools and handouts contained in your Teaching Notes, Manual, or Guide. It’s likely that one or more resources address your specific problems and concerns.
  3. Model the verbal intervention techniques that you teach in each course.
  4. Always model respectful, service-oriented, and safe workplace practices—even when you’re responding to challenging questions or concerns. 
  5. Invite a human resources representative, employee assistance professional, supervisor, or manager to attend the training. 
  6. If the above team members have already completed the training, ask one of them to introduce the topic and relate the focus of training to your organization’s values, vision, mission, strategic plan, and policies and procedures.
  7. Formally keep track of questions and concerns and communicate your method for doing so to your participants.
  8. Ask a participant volunteer to write follow-up questions and concerns on a flip chart (or even on a loose-leaf page) for later review with management.
  9. Always emphasize the guiding principles of Respect, Service, and Safety at Work®.
  10. Don’t forget about Instructor Services! One of the benefits of your certification is free support via phone consultation with CPI staff. Have a question? Give us a call at 888.426.2184.

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