How Do People Feel Around You

We are all influencers in our world. Whether we are selling, working with colleagues or dealing with our children we are influencing. And often times it is not overt. Sometimes it is just our presence that has an impact. What’s yours?

A colleague shared this with me. She was called into to help a firm establish a sales plan for the coming year. The team had put together some projections based on historical events, they targeted some large accounts to focus on and they laid out some broad strategies to review with the CEO. Conservatively they had a plan to grow the business by 40% in the coming year.

The CEO walked in and said, “I hate Power Point, this doesn’t mean anything” (He actually used more colorful language. And then he proceeded to complain about how he felt the firm was not good enough.


How do you think the sales team responded to that? Do you think they were full of confidence to go out and conquer the market and chase the competition? If the CEO thinks the firm isn’t good enough how is the sales team going to feel?

Often it is not this overt. Sometimes the leaders come in and they are scowling and having lots of meetings behind closed doors. Imagine that they are sitting in your meeting and they are not present, they obviously have their attention elsewhere. How are you feeling? Are you on top of your game?

I was at a men’s group meeting a few weeks back. My wife and I had had a serious discussion about finances prior to the meeting. And the weight of that discussion was still with me. One of the men quickly identified that something was off in my demeanor (not obvious) and called me on it. I was trying not to bring my “stuff” to the group. It showed up anyway. So does yours.

Even if you are not overtly expressing your intentions or your feelings you are broadcasting them. You do it:

  • Through a smile – research shows that smiles reduce stress and improve connection.
  • Your confidence – Your posture, stance and bearing communicate how you are feeling and your team is taking their cues from you.
  • Your tone – Again research has shown that more than the words the tone with which the words are delivered carry more meaning.
  • And through your internal dialog. People feel what you are feeling. If you are angry they will feel it. If you are inspired they will feel it.

We are all going to encounter difficult times in our business the question is will your people still want to follow you? A lot will depend on you make them feel.


  1. John, totally agree with you that the “not so overt” communication has a tremendous impact on how you occur to a group or a person. Sometimes someone is observant enough to call you on it though far more often you simply don’t connect with those you’re speaking to. Authenticity and appropriate vulnerability are two keys I’ve found to overcome this and connect deeply. Thanks for the article. Good stuff.

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