We have spent time during the past few weeks discussing about how to influence and manage change in order to drive operational performance and improvement. In doing so, however, we would be remiss if we did not take time to discuss the power of enthusiasm
My mentor Alan Weiss consistently speaks about enthusiasm as a key element to success. Regardless of your role in leading, managing, or influencing people, be it direct or indirect, your level of enthusiasm will determine to a great extent, the degree to which others are willing to support and engage with you.
Now, when I say enthusiasm, I am not talking about "promotional stage presence" in which your copious levels of energy make even the most trusting person doubt your authenticity (have you ever been to a Tony Robbins event?). What I am suggesting, however, is that how you interact with others and your level of enthusiasm determines the level of engagement of those with whom you interact. Don't believe me? Have you ever had a restaurant server who didn't appear to have the energy to stand up, only to return to the very same restaurant at a later date to find an upbeat, positive server who was more than eager to assist you? Which do you find more engaging?
So then, how can we maintain some degree of enthusiasm while attempting to manage the multiple priorities that encompass our lives? Difficult question, yes. However fortunately I have a few suggestions:
1. Do you believe yourself?
I find that my wife is my greatest critic. Convincing her of the importance of doing something (such as why I should buy a motorcycle, just as an example of course) requires I have a great deal of enthusiasm (and courage considering the former example). Without my enthusiasm there is no way that I can convince her of my idea. She simply won't believe me. Find someone with whom you have a solid, trusting relationship and try to convince them of something that might be very important to you. The response you receive will confirm any weaknesses in your approach. Remember, if you don't believe yourself, how can you expect to ever convince others?
2. Take a look in the mirror
Telemarketers are often coached to force a smile before they ever pick up the telephone in order to sound cordial (from my experience, most seem to forget this suggestion). Before delivering your message, be it one-on-one, in a meeting, or over a telephone, if you want to at least sound enthusiastic then try cracking a smile before-hand. I find this technique prominent in younger doctors, who despite the severity of their news, still retain an upbeat demeanor, which subconsciously puts their patients at ease.
3. What's the alternative?
If you aren't enthusiastic, how might you ever expect to engage anyone in your vision or goal? The only alternative is to mope around with a frown on your face, which will be detrimental to your cause and your health. If you are attempting to engage others, then be engaging! Put on a smile! If it is related to business, it is truly is not a life or death matter.
Regardless of how simplistic these steps might appear, try gauging the enthusiasm of those around you. Notice how those who appear more enthusiastic have stronger relationships, are more highly regarded, and generally appear (at least) to be enjoying life more so than others. Get enthusiastic about something and try this out; you will be surprised at how quickly others become engaged in your cause