Skeptical People – Shelle’s Top Tips

Many people ask me “What do you do when you’ve got an audience of people that really don’t want to be there?” Or an audience what I call “conscientious objectors”. Now, I don’t mean the anti-war activists and the pro-peace people. I mean the people that constantly object to what you say. They always find what’s wrong with it.

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Here are a couple of tips for presenting to those people. First tip: Avoid being overly enthusiastic. If you’re not Tony Robbins, then don’t get into people’s face by saying, “This is the greatest thing since sliced bread. This is going to transform your existence.”

You know, a lot of people don’t want you to decide for them, and when you’re enthusiastic at a gut level, at a below conscious level, that feels like you’re telling people what to do and what to think.  Now, there are some cultural differences in this. In the United States of America, in my opinion, it is an enthusiastic culture and if you’re not at least a bit enthusiastic about your own ideas, at some level people perceive that you’re not congruent.

You don’t really believe it yourself. But if you go over the top in countries like Canada, the United Kingdom, and the rest of Northern Europe — France, Germany — Eastern Europe, and also in my experience in Asia, people think, “Wow! This person is bossy. They want to tell me what to do.”  And so unless you have impeccable credibility, if you’re too enthusiastic, it turns people off. So avoid being enthusiastic unless you’re presenting in America in which case you need a lot more energy and you do need to generate some enthusiasm. But there again, avoid being commanding in telling what to do, at least in my opinion.

It’s up to you to decide, of course. Demonstration alert.  Here’s another tip: When you’re preparing your presentation and you suspect that you may have some skeptics in the audience, think about their perspective. What might they object to? So if I’m trying to tell you that these are the best tips or these are hot tips for presentations, what might be somebody’s objections? Well, the first objection I can think of is “Hot tips don’t work if you’ve got people who don’t want to be in the room and don’t want to listen to you. What do you then?”  Now, what I do in my presentations is I honor those objections by mentioning them. So I’ll say, “Listen, I have some hot tips for you about how to engage people in presentations.

Now, some of you may be thinking, ‘Well, what do you do? And this isn’t going to work if you’ve got people who don’t want to be there and they are just sitting there and they don’t want to listen, right?'” And you go through a couple of the objections before you start. That will let people know that you know what they’re thinking and that you have some answers for them. You don’t always have to answer those objections. Just mention them.

Now, for some more tips on skeptical people and the four-part skeptical people process, check out my CD, Presenting Ideas to Skeptical People

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If you want some tips on communicating and solving some of the problems, check out my new book, “The Customer is Bothering Me,” lots of hints on communication. If you are interested in booking me (Shelle Rose Charvet) for a presentation, keynote or workshop contact me at [email protected].  Please visit my speaking page too.

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