We might be addressing others at an important sales presentation, the monthly sales coaching session, or an annual conference. We want the audience to give us their rapt and undivided attention. But that doesn’t always work out the way we’d like.
Sometimes people are bored and disinterested; sometimes they ask challenging questions or push back in frustration. That can be unsettling.
Unwanted responses like these can trigger our own emotional reactions and we find ourselves acting defensively, ignoring the feedback, or seductively promising to get to their questions shortly (which we never do). None of these reactions are going to further our purpose.
What can we do then to keep our dignity and turn the situation around? Is there a good way to change these communication logjams from barriers to bridges? How can we get closer to the people we’re trying to influence, instead of alienating them more?
Barriers to Bridges
When people are bored or restless, seem resistant, or ask challenging questions, we need to stop talking and give them our honest attention.
We need to do this immediately, as soon as we notice the disconnect.
Don’t react. Don’t judge. Keep our minds clear and open so we can understand what people are feeling.
Ask for clarification and dig deeper for details.
Stay attuned to the audience.
We care about what they care about. And we want them to know that.
Their feedback tells us what they want or don’t want – period.
It’s not about us.
Their impatience, frustration, or boredom creates a bridge to a deeper understanding and a clearer connection.
As soon as we find those bridges, that’s the perfect time to cross them.