“Whenever you’re in conflict with someone, there is one factor that can make the difference between damaging your relationship and deepening it. That factor is attitude.” ~William James
Whether it’s a new topic, different than usual audience, or sticky situation we all try to avoid being challenged in our presentations and meetings.
The team member that challenges your assumptions; the audience member that is competing for attention; the more experienced professional; or even the teacher can confront you and the ideas your present.
But instead of dreading the questions that challenge you, consider embracing it as an opportunity from which to learn (The 7th tenet to embracing existential presenting.)
First, the change of attitude. Consider that these questions and challenges are evidence that your audience is engaged. In meetings it is an opportunity to turn perceived enemies into allies and strengthen allies into evangelists for your idea.
Second, be prepared for conflict. Know who your supporters and challengers are before you begin your meeting (know your audience). Prepare for it so you are not blind-sided.
Third, engage the person by asking questions instead of being defensive or combative. This shows that you are listening and open to discussion.
Of course engaging in confrontation may not be the right thing to do during your event. You will need to decide if this is the right time and place to have the exchange. If not, respectfully request that this conversation be taken off-line to explore further.
Accept and acknowledge that conflict and confrontation are opportunities for learning and growing as a leader and as a human. As with any skill, this takes practice.
Embrace the angst of presenting. It’s part of life!
You are presenting all day long. Every time you share an idea – whether you are in the boardroom, in a webroom, or across the table – you are presenting.
Presenting is communicating an idea.
Presenting with impact and influence means you get your idea across to your audience and it somehow changes them. It changes them so much they are ready to take action.