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Rein in runaway enthusiasm

When too much passion works against you

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in Office Management

You’ve always heard that your enthusiasm is a winning trait. So you unleash your high energy, thinking it’ll enhance your image.

Problem: Too much enthusiasm can undermine your credibility.

Use these guidelines to ensure you don’t drown others in excitement:

Do others feed off your enthusiasm? At its best, enthusiasm is contagious. Your audience’s faces light up as your passion sweeps them off their feet. But if you’re raving about a new product in a roomful of morose skeptics, you may want to tone it down. Tame your delivery so that you don’t react to a dead audience by becoming more exuberant.

Are you spouting at the table? Well-timed enthusiasm gives you an edge. But if you start gesturing wildly at a business lunch, you might spill wine on the CEO or eat and talk at the same time. When dining, don’t use your excitement as an excuse to disregard your table manners.

Are you forgetting to listen? When you’re enthusiastic, you talk. A lot.

That’s fine when others are eager to hear more. But if you make it hard for someone to chime in, your enthusiasm may block communication.

What’s your enthusiasm based on? If you’re thrilled because of a triumphant product launch or record profits for your unit, your listeners will hardly question the source of your excitement. But if you’re carrying on over some minor matter, you may lead others to doubt your maturity.

Does your passion cause pain? Beware of saving your enthusiasm for others’ defeats. If your excitement comes at the expense of someone else—even a rival firm—your audience may frown on your gloating.

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