Look back on the last few “important” conversations you’ve had and ask yourself if the people you encountered were upbeat. Did they accept the points you were trying to make? If they did, congratulate yourself because their reactions function as a mirror telling you what they understood, what they questioned, and whether they trust you.
Just like a mirror tells you that there’s a tiny piece of spinach on your front tooth, your audience reflects back to you whether you need to reframe a concept or just stop and give them an opportunity to support your ideas.
When I say that “you are the mirror” I mean people react and respond to YOUR body language,YOUR posture,YOUR facial expressions constantly — even before you speak. They often make decisions about you and your ideas before you get a chance to tell them.
If you are optimistic, others are more likely to be optimistic around you.
If you are worried, people get a negative feeling about you.
If you smile, people will smile back.
If you complain, others will join in … or perhaps leave if they don’t want to be a part of a negative spiral.
An example, I often share comes from being present during master classes at the Charleston International Music School. A master class is different from a normal one in that it is usually open to guests as well as other students. And everyone gives feedback to each musician, providing excellent preparation for recitals.
I enjoy attending these master classes when I can and invariably the younger, more novice musicians (in this case usually violinists) will complain that their accompanist, the pianist, is playing either too fast or too slow. What they don’t realize, is that the accompanist, is far more advanced then they are, and is playing to the violinist’s pace, NOT setting the tempo.
In other words, the novice is setting the tempo and the accompanist is following along. Similarly, you are setting the pace for how people respond to you.
Remember the person with the strongest intention is the one who usually wins any kind of negotiation. Be that person.
If you want to be around optimistic people, be even more optimistic.
If you want to be perceived as an interesting person, be even more interested in others.
If you want to be magnetic in social situations, be the one who initiates conversation.
You are the mirror and what you see is the response to YOU.
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