Recently I attended an industry seminar. One of the panel members was asked how, in the face of persistent attacks from media elements, opponents, certain sections of the public, and industry experts, he and his colleagues survived the day.
His answered by saying that, to a large degree, they ignored what was being said, and press on.
Yet he, and by observation those who work for this organisation, are clearly committed to and passionate about who they work for, what they are delivering, the opportunities this will open once completed, and the competitive advantage that will flow on a much larger national scale.
I’m not sure these two positions mesh.
People (I think) like to be told why things are good for them. They might not agree, but if a debate ensure, the conversation is going, and the opportunity to influence and then convince exists.
So take the cause to the public (don’t wait to be asked).
Explain how what you’re doing will be a benefit (don’t assume they’ll get it).
Argue the case (before someone else argues the case against).
Take the position on the high ground (because being at the bottom is more difficult, takes more effort, and more dangerous).
Make it a given that the opposition reacts to you, not the reverse (so you’re the leader, not the follower).
In short, engage!