The Etiquette of Enthusiasm

Have you ever had an idea so strong you felt like you could not wait to share it?

It seems most of us will agree, publicly at least, that we don’t like a “Donnie Downer” (surely you can appreciate the reason we don’t say “Debbie Downer”…), and yet very rarely do we think our enthusiasm may be “too much” or unwelcomed, or even “in bad form” from an etiquette perspective.

And yet, what we may perceive, and believe, to be passion but positive energy can be unwelcomed, or even unsettling, to some. 

While we are certainly empowered with interest and encouraged to be committed and supportive, is there an etiquette to conveying these emotion-packed ideas so they can be seen as leadership? 

When you have an idea that sparks your pursuit of having it heard, think of the following suggestions for effectively communicating your belief/idea:

• Watch your facial expressions and body language. At times when we want to share, we are often impatient and overly expressive. Instead, be direct in your purpose with smiles and awareness of what is happening. There is no point in phoniness or “acting.” Strength and kindness come from truly engaging with others positively.

• Be open, truly open. Listen to, and respect, others for their ideas and insights. You can learn from their perspective and the stories they share to demonstrate, or support, their views. By having an openness to situational emotions and people’s personal takes you will have a higher likeliness of others reciprocating.

• Know that you are a person and your audience are also people. We all tend to take things personally. Resist saying to anyone involved “You don’t understand,” “With all due respect” and/or “Since you don’t care, let me jump in.” In place of those thoughts, think about a position of gratitude. Say things like “Thanks for sharing” or “You may be right,” prior to your thoughts being vocalized.

• Keep your enthusiasm to enthusiasm, and do not let it rise to insistence. How you can do that is through writing, recording and drawing out ideas to demonstrate how your thought, or idea, would play out positively.

Sure, it can be challenging to keep good ideas percolating and that is not the point of the etiquette of enthusiasm. The purpose here is to think through a situation fully with emotional intelligence of self-awareness. 

If these tips for good, enthusiastic, etiquette sound similar to some of the guidelines for disagreements and/or difficult situations, they are. That’s because unbridled enthusiasm can feel like an attack on those who initially don’t know where you are going or disagree with your opinion, which can make people get defensive. Using the etiquette of enthusiasm allows you to direct that enthusiasm toward the outcome, and the impact you would like to evoke. So, share, share enthusiastically and share to get connected and get across your idea that you could not wait to share … yet did, with a process.

Debbie Lundberg is the founder and chief executive officer of the Florida-based firm Presenting Powerfully, where she delivers keynote speeches, facilitation, teaming and coaching. A 12-time published author, virtual presenter, life coach, leadership coach and image consultant, Lundberg co-hosts the Business Of Life Master Class Podcast. Her book, Remote Work Rockstar, is a guide for working and leading virtually. 

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