Maximize Your Influence

Understanding different types of audiences will also help you determine their acceptance level. Following are some different categories of audiences and how to deal with each of them.

The Hostile Audience

This group disagrees with you and may even actively work against you. For a hostile audience, use these techniques:

Find common beliefs and establish a common ground.

Use appropriate humor to break the ice.

Don't start the presentation with an attack on their position.

You are only trying to persuade on one point; don't talk about anything else that could trigger disagreement.

Because of your differences, they will question your credibility. Increase your credibility with studies from experts or anything that will support your claim.

They will try to find reasons to not like you; don't give them any.

Don't tell them you are going to try to persuade them.

Express that you are looking for a win-win outcome rather than a win-lose situation.

If possible, meet with the audience more than once before challenging them on areas of disagreement.

Show them you've done your homework.

Respect their feelings, values, and integrity.

Use logical reasoning as clearly and as carefully as possible.

Use the Law of Connectivity and the Law of Balance.

The Neutral or Indifferent Audience

This audience understands your position, but doesn't care about the outcome. The key to dealing with this group is creating motivation and energy—be dynamic. To persuade the indifferent audience:

Spell out the benefits to them or the things around them.

Point out the downside of not accepting your proposal. Identify why they should care.

Grab their attention by using a story. Make them care by showing them how the topic affects them.

Get them to feel connected to your issues.

Avoid complex arguments.

Use concrete examples with familiar situations or events.

Use the Law of Involvement and the Law of Social Validation.

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