PodiumWise | Tips for advanced presentation skills

As a rule I don’t suggest that speakers emulate politicians.  But, there is one thing politicians do when they speak that is worth noting.

If they don’t agree with someone in their audience, they will look for some way to agree before disagreeing.

Let’s say, for example, an audience member declares that not enough is being done to protect a certain piece of the environment.  The politician will begin by agreeing that it is an important environmental concern and that the audience member is right for being concerned. Then, following these positive comments, the politician will go on to assert that the issue is being responsibly addressed and enough is being done (i.e., the audience member is wrong).

This saying “yes” before saying “no” softens the impact of the disagreement.  It’s a way of making the “no” easier to receive.

Consider this technique the next time you face a challenge from your audience.  Before you take issue with what the person has said, look for a way to agree on something first.  Do this even if your challenger was less than diplomatic.

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