Sometimes we can feel like we’ve not made ourselves clear enough or that our message was not heard, and at times this can result from not meeting people where they are. While you can always bring more clarity to what you are saying, remember that those you are engaging with may not be ready for what you are offering. Try and understand where people are and meet them there.

More meaningful engagement

Meeting people where they are is not about making excuses, judgements or resigning to difficulty. It is rather about acknowledging the state of things as they are. And, such recognition can be very liberating. Rather than be frustrated, it allows you to approach the situation with clarity and compassion. Those that you are engaging with are also more likely to either consciously or subconsciously sense your intent and become more open.

meeting people where they areRemember that every human perspective, like your own, is informed by a complex web of life experiences and learnings. And, if your idea does not easily fit within this, it is likely to encounter resistance. Forcing the issue when there is resistance is rarely of use. It often causes even more resistance – like trying to pressure a stubborn teenager.

Meeting people where they are also brings the benefit of you really having to understand their perspective. And, such understanding can allow you to connect with them in a deeper way that encourages genuine engagement. After all, isn’t that what truly matters? Do you really want people to pretend to understand out of politeness or apathy, or would you rather have a genuine discussion?

Final thoughts

Meeting people where they are is not something that can be done “correctly” with any kind of certainty. After all, how would you know for sure? It is more about your intent and how you approach the conversation. If you try to recognise where people are, and become open to meeting them there, where ever that may be, then you may have the chance to go beyond together.

Find out more about Harsha’s work