Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Talk softly, and make a big point

I really enjoyed this article by Scott Ginsbery, How to Give Yourself Away.  He suggests that to truly give yourself away, you believe that you are a gift to be given, and you do so without boasting or selling. I think there's a volume level to that.

It made me think of three conversations yesterday. The first was while at work. I was giving an update on a current project to a colleague. I started to talk loudly so that more people could hear. It was my chance to say "look how good I am at what I do!" But this wasn't the time. At this point, we were collaborating and I wanted to help him; to help him do his job better. When each of us does better, we perform better as a team.

The second episode was while coaching. I was one-on-one with a young girl, and realized that everything I saw can provide confidence. So my comments need to be girl-directed and in a soft voice. She needs to know that I understand and support her learning.

The third time was at dinner with my young daughter. We started to discuss something and I started to use a loud voice. Was I trying to sound like a "good Mommy," giving sound advice and encouragement? What I was giving, was myself to my daughter - genuine love, confidence and advice. It wasn't for anyone else and I shouldn't care who sees or hears. We went head to head (tete-a-tete) and continued.

For me, a good litmus test of my authenticity is the volume of my voice. If only the receiver can hear me, great - I'm giving. If I'm loud so that others can hear me - then I'm selling and not giving.