Sometimes people find other people too loud, too enthusiastic, too assertive or conversely too quiet, too dull or too timid.

“So what?” you may ask.

If you are trying to influence another to accept your ideas or buy your services too much of anything can become a “deal breaker.” The unfortunate part is that these opinions about your “worthiness” are arrived at in a split second.

But what can we do with feedback that says we are “too” of anything?

My take is that we are who we are for the most part so transformation from one end of the spectrum to the other is something that has a one in a million chance of happening and sticking. Polishing the stone, enhancing what we have, tweaking what needs tweaking is something to aspire to and is a sign of our maturity and attainment of a modicum of grace.

A personal example… In earlier days when I was studying NLP it came to my attention that I often used “distractor” patterns in my communication. In my case this meant hand gestures that were closer to flailing than firm decisive gestures and hemming and hawing patterns in my speech. Think of the kinds of things you might see and hear from a young teenager. What may be cute and disarming in 14 year old loses more and more of its charm with each decade.

What changes did I make?

These patterns may still surface from time to time but I learned to focus on others in order to stop this behaviour that was fueled by self-consciousness. When I shift my energy and attention to watching the sensory cues of others all of my attention and intention is about them getting the results they want and need. The net result was that I automatically slowed down and calmed down my speech and movements. It was more about turning down the volume on what wasn’t working and turning up the volume on what would work better.

Do you have a focus on improvement? Are you trying to “fix” or “polish”?

Category: Communication
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