No.108: Negating the naysayers

Willmot's Weekly Newsletter

They are those annoying people who never do anything brilliant themselves but find it their duty to condemn and criticise every idea you offer to make a difference.

“That will never work.”
“We tried that back in 1977. It didn’t work then, and it won’t work now.”
“We don’t have the time/money/resources to make this happen successfully.”

Who knows why they must stand all over your ideas, but they do. Cut them off at the pass. Eliminate their negativity from the get-go so you can give your ideas some oxygen.

Before you offer your suggestions ask:

  1. “Do we all agree there is a problem (or opportunity)?”
  2. “Are we in agreement that action needs to be taken because of this problem (or opportunity)?”
  3. “So, we agree that something needs to be done?”

If they don’t agree that there is a problem (or opportunity) that requires action, then don’t waste your time giving them your ideas — at least with the group in this current mindset. Take some more time to investigate and understand if there is an actual problem (or opportunity) that everyone can agree upon.

Once there is an agreement to a problem (or opportunity) at hand, then you respond with:

  1. “What do you think we must do about this?”
  2. “Be more specific.”
  3. “Thank you.”

From here you can then assess if you offer your ideas or not. Perhaps the ideas that come from the group are the same or better than yours. Or, you might add yours into the mix after listening to theirs and ask what they think. Either way, the naysayers have been negated and hopefully become part of the solution rather than perpetuating the problem.

“Any fool can criticise, condemn and complain…. and most fools do.”
–  Dale Carnegie


Reproduced from 2012