3 Ways to Use Resistance as an Opportunity

Are you ever met with resistance in your personal or professional life? Maybe a client that wasn’t quite ready to engage your services or an audience member who sat with crossed arms snickering through your presentation? Maybe you meet with resistance from friends and family. Did you know that resistance offers a great opportunity to create a connection?

I recently attended a seminar about using resistance as an opportunity instead of a roadblock. Although the seminar was designed for organizational consultants, I thought these tips could be useful for health, wellness and solo professionals dealing with client resistance (or anyone who deals with people on a regular basis).

Sonia Nevis of the Gestalt International Study Center on Cape Cod led the seminar. Below are the key takeaways on how to use resistance as an opportunity.

Resistance as an opportunity for connection

When met with resistance, think about making a connection instead of solving a problem. Get curious, ask questions, validate concerns, allow the individual to come up with his/her own answer.

Example: Imagine you are a health/wellness professional dealing with client resistance about time or money. Instead of giving up get curious and make a connection by validating concerns. Next, get curious and ask questions like “What activities do you currently engage in?” “What health-related goals are you looking to achieve?” “Would you prefer to achieve those on your own or with support?” Avoid selling or fixing and think only about making the connection.

Connection is more important than context

Many people want to be hired or seen as an expert, promoting credentials and success. Instead, be seen as a trusted advisor – no matter the issue. Remember, people do business with those they know like and trust.

Example: I recently met with the VP of HR at a local bank about the possibility of working together on her company’s wellness program. She wants to offer cooking classes, looked at me and said “You could teach them!” I don’t teach cooking classes, stress management is my thing, but because we made a connection she assumed and trusted I could do it.

Before you try to teach someone, make sure there is trust

Have you ever tried to teach someone an idea, strategy or process before there they trust you? I have and it leads to even more resistance.

Example: I recently attended a health and wellness expo. As I approached one table after another vendors all approached me the same way. “Welcome, we offer yoga, Reiki, fitness…” not one person stopped and asked a question about me. They sold me before they connected with me and not one of them followed up with after the event.  A missed opportunity.

How do you handle resistance? Have you ever considered it an opportunity? Will you in the future?

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About Stacey:

Hi and welcome to the Brave Communicator blog where I write about communication as the path to well-being, trust, and influence.

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