I was waiting for a meeting at a client’s office. I was inside the office area, among the work cubicles.
A hardworking employee rushed past me, barely having time to say “good morning” to me. She raced past me, obviously with a mission – and looking frazzled. Soon after, she whizzed past me again. And yes, she looked frazzled again.
Her frenetic movement was causing a ripple effect of stress to those around her. I was feeling stressed for her just watching as she rushed by.
As she raced past me one more time I stopped her.
“Donna.” (the name has been masked to protect the innocent!) I said. “Do you have a moment?” She stopped dead in her tracks and was now in front of me.
I told her that the way that she moved around made it look as if she did not have things under control. “Frazzled” is not a good personal brand to have!
I asked her how did she feel when I sang (as I did) a waltz. She said that she felt calm. I then said, “Now how do you feel when I sing this song.” and I started to sing my best version of a head-thumping heavy metal song. She said that she felt stressed at the rhythm of this song.
“And that is how it should be when you walk through the office,” I said. “You should glide across the office like a swan. You may be paddling really hard underneath, but make it appear like you are gliding like a swan.”
I explained that, despite the fact that she had a lot on her mind, by gliding like a swan, she would not seem frazzled and stressed. And in so doing, she would not stress out those around her.
“In just a few seconds, I have learned an important lesson from you,” she said with a wide and warm smile.
We parted company as my meeting was about to start.
When the meeting finished an hour later, Donna happened to be in the corridor. “Let me walk you out,” she said.
And so we glided across the room, heads held high, like two swans, with their lives totally under control. And, yes, we were paddling as fast as we could underneath!
The message for you is simple: your personal demeanour sends signals to others whether you have things under control.
Little things make a big difference. If you want to build confidence in you among those around you, make sure that you glide like a swan
Try it and let me know what happens.