Available Dates


In the public sector, it is essential that vulnerable service users are communicated effectively to ensure the best possible support and care. However, this can be a delicate task and must be approached with the right mindset, sensitivity and communication skills.

Handling Conversations and Complaints with Vulnerable Service Users course gives you the practical verbal communication techniques you need to engage vulnerable service users with compassion and empathy.

Through highly interactive and challenging roleplay exercises, gain hands-on experience of the skills needed to handle difficult conversations, deliver bad news and de-escalate challenging situations. Engage in dramatic and realistic roleplay activities that will help you understand and respond to the significant and emotional problems you might encounter.

You will be challenged with challenging verbal behaviour such as profane language by our RADA trained actress, Sandra Miller, to help you develop your self-belief and an empathetic approach.

Finish the day with the confidence to handle difficult conversations with vulnerable service users using empathy, sensitivity and compassion.

trainer photo
Sandra Miller
Communication Skills Training Consultant

Sandra Miller is a RADA trained Actor and now works extensively in the corporate sector providing coaching, consultancy and training in communication skills.

Her area of specialist expertise covers Presentation Skills, Interview Techniques, Handling People in Difficult Situations, Storytelling and Influential Communications.

Her clients include many ‘blue chip’ organisations including the BBC, BBC Worldwide, Bristol Water, Friends Provident, Financial Reporting Council, Unilever, Vocalink, Elavon Merchant Services etc. In the public sector clients include the NHS and many District, Borough and City Councils and Universities including working with Politicians and Academics and Civil Servants.


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Learning Outcomes

  • Learn the different methods needed for communicating with vulnerable users
  • Understand how to deploy active listening and empathy effectively
  • Handle challenging behaviour with calmness and patience
  • Gain the skills you need to deliver bad news the right way
All the Understanding ModernGov courses are Continuing Professional Development (CPD) certified, with signed certificates available upon request for event.

Enquire About In-House Training

To speak to someone about a bespoke training programme, please contact us:
0800 542 9414
[email protected]


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09:00 - 09:30


09:30 - 10:00

Trainer’s Welcome and Clarification of Learning Objectives

10:00 - 10:45

Introduction to Handling Vulnerable Service Users

  • Understand the impact of vulnerability on service users and how they communicate
  • Outline the importance of the right approach when handling distressed or vulnerable service users
  • Learn to recognise signs of potential vulnerability
10:45 - 11:00

Morning Break

11:00 - 11:30

Active Listening and Empathy

  • Gain techniques for putting yourself in the shoes of others
  • Use roleplay to understand the importance of body language in building empathy and rapport
  • Approach situations with patience, understanding and receptive communication skills
11:30 - 12:00

Handling Challenging Behaviour

  • Gain strategies for responding to challenging behaviour in a calm, empathetic way
  • Handle interruptions, anger and extreme emotions with compassion
  • Understand how to de-escalate a tense situation and gain trust
12:00 - 13:00

Breaking Bad News and Having Difficult Conversations

  • Set the right tone and create a supportive atmosphere
  • Understand how to convey bad news with clear, simple and appropriate language
  • Utilise practical exercises to learn how to handle difficult responses like denial or anger with sensitivity and patience
13:00 - 14:00


14:00 - 16:00

Workshop: Action Planning

  • Implement the techniques learned in no-holds barred immersive roleplay activities
  • Explore the communication skills that can be utilised in different high stress or emotionally difficult scenarios
  • Practice challenging conversations and overcome interruptions, anger and other disruptive behaviour
  • Plan what to do when conversations go wrong and how you can de-escalate
16:00 - 16:15

Feedback, Evaluation and Close