Communicating enthusiasm can improve outcomes in many contexts, including negotiations, sales, job-searching, and teaching and learning. Learn why enthusiasm is so impactful and how to communicate it through your body language, your tone and your words.
What is Enthusiasm
Enthusiasm is an intense expression of interest, enjoyment, or approval. Think of it as communicating how keen you are.
- It’s intense, high energy.
- It’s an expression – it’s not necessarily what you’re feeling, it is what you’re communicating or signalling.
- It’s positive. Positive as in interest, enjoyment, and/or approval
The Impact of Enthusiasm
Research shows that demonstrating enthusiasm has a positive effect in a variety of contexts, including negotiations, sales, learning, and job searching. Here are 3 reasons enthusiasm is so impactful:
1️⃣ People are looking for cues or signals about whether something is worth their attention If someone else is enthusiastic about something, then maybe you should be too.
2️⃣ Mirroring and contagion. You’ve likely heard that actions like smiling, frowning, and yawning are contagious. Guess what? Enthusiasm is also contagious. We mirror others.
- Researchers call this “emotional synchrony.” We seek emotional synchrony with others.
- This is even more important for you if you’re a leader – people are looking to you as a leader for queues and they will mirror your enthusiasm or lack of it!
3️⃣ Internally, we can reinforce positivity or enthusiasm to ourselves. We listen to our own body, looking for queues not just from others but even from ourselves.
How to Communicate Enthusiasm
- Be prompt!
- Be enthusiastic early in communication, be it a meeting, a presentation, an email, or anytime you introduce yourself. First impressions are big impressions.
- Your body language: You can cultivate enthusiasm before you even open your mouth. Face the person. Be big, be expansive. Not small and hiding. Look the other person in the eyes, and smile.
- Your tone: Go for faster, louder, and happier. If you’re writing, add an exclamation mark
- Your words. Words may be the most direct way to express enthusiasm: amazing, awesome, fantastic, incredible, unbelievable. But don’t overdo it! You might even be perfectly explicit: I’m enthusiastic about this project. Use the word itself: enthusiastic!
- Talk About Talk episode on “Emotional Expressions” with Dr. Tatiana Astray – https://www.talkabouttalk.com/50-emotions-podcast/
- Dr. Tatiana Astray’s paper on emotions on negotiations – https://bit.ly/3Q7ZopL
- Talk About Talk episode on “How to Introduce Yourself” – https://www.talkabouttalk.com/86-introductions-introduce-yourself/
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I am so excited about this week’s episode! I am so happy you’re here. This is a short episode where you’re going to learn about the significant impact that enthusiasm can have on your communication. Are you ready?
Did you see what I did there? By the way, my enthusiasm is completely genuine. Of course, I am glad you’re here and I’m excited to share with you some insights that will help you improve your communication effectiveness.
Welcome to Talk about Talk episode #108, where we’re focusing on enthusiasm. What it is, how it impacts us, and how to communicate it.
I’m your executive communication coach, Dr. Andrea Wojnicki (please call me Andrea!). I‘m so delighted you’re here! Whether you’re an ambitious executive, or perhaps you have a growth mindset. Or perhaps both? If this sounds like you, then you’re in the right place If you go to the TAT.com website, you’ll find online courses, corporate workshops, one-on-one coaching, the archive of this bi-weekly podcast, AND, I really hope you’ll sign up for the free weekly communication skills training newsletter.
You’ll also find the shownotes on the TalkAboutTalk.com website. These shownotes are like your cheat sheets for every episode. In other words, you don’t need to take notes.. So just sit back and relax, or keep doing whatever you’re doing, driving, walking, working out,… you know the drill. You listen, I take notes… Then you access the summary in the shownotes later – on the talkabouttalk.com website.
Are you ready?
Oh I love your enthusiasm. OK, let’s get into this.
I was first introduced to the power of enthusiasm by my friend Dr. Tatiana Astray. Tatiana is a negotiations & emotions expert who focused her dissertation research on the impact of emotional expressions on negotiations. Cool topic, right? If you listen to TAT episode #50, you’ll hear my interview with Tatiana there. And of course there’s a link to that episode in the shownotes for this episode too.
I want to start by saying a big enthusiastic THANK YOU to Tatiana for introducing me to this topic. Since then I’ve done more reading on the impact of enthusiasm and I’ve shared these insights with many executives in workshops and coaching calls. And this topic gets lots of traction, it’s SO impactful. And that’s why I thought I would focus on that topic here in this episode.
WHAT IS ENTHUSIASM?
According to the dictionary definition, enthusiasm is an intense expression of interest, enjoyment, or approval. Think of it as communicating how keen you are.
There are three things to unpack here – 1 is the intensity. Enthusiasm is intense. It’s high energy. 2. It’s an expression – it’s not necessarily what you’re feeling, it’s what you’re communicating or signaling. And 3. Enthusiasm is positive. Positive as in interested (as opposed to uninterested), Positive as in enjoyment (as opposed to boredom) and Positive as in approval (as opposed to disapproval). So enthusiasm is intense, it’s an expression, and it’s positive.
The Q is, what is the impact of communicating or signaling enthusiasm? Why is it important – so important that Andrea’s dedicating a whole TAT episode to it?
THE IMPACT OF ENTHUSIASM
Well, research shows that demonstrating enthusiasm has a positive effect in a variety of contexts, including negotiations, sales, learning, and even job offers.
In other words, if you focus on demonstrating enthusiasm, you might be more successful. Just consider these contexts.
Let’s start with negotiations. This was Tatiana’s research. Signaling enthusiasm can have a positive impact on the outcome and even on the other parties’ willingness to negotiate with you again in the future. Good to know, right?
In a sales context, being enthusiastic may help you close the sale. In a teaching context, there’s all sorts of research out there on how when teachers demonstrate enthusiasm, their students learn. Of course! And when you’re applying for or interviewing for a job, guess what? The enthusiastic candidate is more likely to get the job.
Why does this work? Why is it that enthusiasm has such a positive impact in these and other contexts? There are at least 3 reasons:
1. People looking for queues. Think about it – consciously and non-consciously, you’re constantly looking for signals in terms of whether something is worth your time and attention, and whether it can help you. If someone else is enthusiastic bot something, then maybe you should be too.
Another reason why enthusiasm has such a significant impact is
2. Mirroring and contagion. You’ve likely heard that things like smiling, frowning, and even yawning! Are contagious. Guess what? Enthusiasm is also contagious. We mirror others. Researchers call this “emotional synchrony” as in synchronicity , We seek emotional synchrony with others. And this is even more important for you if you’re a leader – people are looking to you for queues and they will mirror your enthusiasm, or lack of it!
3. The 3rd reason why enthusiasm is so impactful is more internal. We can reinforce positivity or enthusiasm to ourselves. Your own emotional experiences change based on the non-verbal signals of emotion that you communicate. In other words, we listen to our own body, looking for queues not just from others but even from ourselves.
So if you weren’t already convinced of the magical power of enthusiasm, I hope you are now! Research shows that expressions of enthusiasm can help you be more successful in a variety of contexts, including negotiations, sales, teaching and learning, and job seeking. And this is be cause we are constantly looking for queues or signals in others, because we mirror these signals, and because we internals our own queues.
Now – how can we get some traction on this big insight?
HOW TO COMMUNICATE YOUR ENTHUSIASM
One way to express your enthusiasm, say for a work project, is how promptly you respond. Whether it’s an email or a phone call or a request for something, even your timing in terms of when you show up for a meeting – we equate promptness and enthusiasm. If you want to demonstrate enthusiasm, be prompt.
How else might you communicate your enthusiasm? Well, first-things-first . Really. As in – early on in any interaction is when you’ll likely make the biggest impression. So make it enthusiastic, right out of the gates.
For example, when I’m leading a meeting or creating an outline for a workshop, I encourage engagement by personally demonstrating enthusiasm. You could do the same for the other scenarios I mentioned – a negotiation, a sales pitch, when you’re teaching, when you’re applying for a job, and so on.
You can also do this when you’re introducing yourself. In Talk About Talk episode #86, I talk about a 3 point framework for how to effectively introduce yourself. This is still the #1 most downloaded episode, BTW. The last point of this framework is to make a future oriented statement. And if you recall, it’s ideally a positive expression of enthusiasm. As in Hi Im andrea, Blah blah blah – and I’m really excited to get to know you all better.” Bam.
Now, these positive expressions of enthusiasm can be verbally, but the same thing applies when you’re writing an email. Again – first things first – At the top of an email, I’ll often say something like “I’ve been looking forward to working with you on this project.” And of course, I mean it, it’s genuine.
How else can you communicate enthusiasm? Consider your body language, your tone, and your words.
Body language: You can cultivate enthusiasm before you even open your mouth. Face the person. Be big, be expansive. Not small and hiding. Look the other person in the eyes, and smile. Your face can definitely express enthusiasm. So body language. But also
Your Tone: Go for faster, louder, and happier. If you’re writing, add an exclamation mark (yes, I’ve been known to use more than a few exclamations marks in my writing, But again, it is genuine.)
Your words. Words like amazing, awesome, fantastic, incredible and unbelievable. Don’t overdo it, of course, but words may be the most direct way to express enthusiasm. You could say
- I’m looking forward to working with you
- I’m excited to work with you…
- Or you might even be perfectly explicit: I’m enthusiastic about this project. Use the word itself: enthusiastic!
Alright, that’s it! I hope you’re enlightened, and dare I say enthusiastic about communicating your enthusiasm. Let me know how it goes or if you have any Qs. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can go to the talk about talk.com website and send me a message there.
Again, while you’re on the website, I really hope you’ll sign up for the Talk About Talk newsletter! This is your chance to get free communication skills coaching from me every week in a simple-to-digest weekly email. Just go to talk abouttalk.com to sign up or email me directly and I’ll add you to the list. You can email me anytime at Andrea@TalkAboutTalk.com.
This is my big enthusiastic THANK YOU.
THANKS for LISTENING. Talk soon!
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