How to Overcome Audience Resistance

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When you walk into a room as a presenter, it’s easy to feel as if you’re the central figure, however in reality, your audience is. It’s in their power to embrace or reject your ideas. You’re presenting because you need them to change their beliefs or behavior in some way, and people find it hard to change. So it’s important to master overcoming audience resistance. Overcoming audience resistance doesn’t have to be a bad thing. In fact, if you prepare for it, you’ll sharpen your presentation and stand a much better chance of winning your audience over.

Here are the three most common types of resistance and some tips on getting ready for them.

#1 Logical Resistance

As you plan your presentation, try to come up with arguments against your stand. Familiarize yourself with alternate lines of reasoning by seeing articles, blog posts, and reports that challenge your stance. This kind of research will prepare you for skeptical questions and comments and will help you develop a deeper understanding of the topic and a more nuanced point of view.

#2 Emotional Resistance

If your audience holds fast to a dogma or a bias , or get violated by some ideas, you will have to hit the raw nerves, which might set people off. Hence, look at things from their persepective and try to understand their argument too.

#3 Practical Resistance

Is it physically or geographically difficult for the audience to do what you’re asking? You should acknowledge the sacrifices they’re making, and show that you’re shouldering some of the burden yourself.

Anticipating overcoming audience resistance forces you to really think about the people you’re presenting to, and that makes it easier to influence them. If you’ve made a sincere effort to look at the world through their eyes, it will show when you speak. You’ll feel more warmly toward them, so you’ll take on a conversational tone. You’ll sound and be authentic when you address their concerns. As a result, you’ll disarm them, and they’ll be more likely to accept your message.

Always bear in mind that your audience get to decide whether your idea spreads or dies. You need them more than they need you. So be humble in your approach. Their wishes and goals and their frustrations and anxieties should shape everything you present.