If you’re just joining us in the conversation, the question is how do anger and anxiety effect your communication skills and in particular, your persuasiveness?
My theory on this? Negatively for many reasons.
Why? Your communications skills become limited by anger and anxiety. You are less creative and less flexible. Anger shows this and transmits some level of fear within you to those around you. And flexibility, creativity, and calm are really strongly correlated to charisma, competence, leadership, and persuasion.
And, if you accept my conclusion, then you want to know what to do about it. “OK. I buy that. But how can I reduce or convert anger and/or anxiety? Don’t they just happen?”
That is the problem with so much self help literature.
It tells us what to do, but never how to do it.
Here, in the persuasion blog, I try to figure out both parts of that equation.
I am constantly asking myself what do we do to improve and then how does science, philosophy, or higher and more illuminated thought tell us to act – what do we DO to solve the problem or to get the desired result?
For each suggestion, I try to find you one or two strategies and tactics as well as a mind hack or two to get the thing done. I am always looking for the way to implement the change that you desire.
If anger or anxiety negatively effect persuasiveness, then how do we control or convert these emotions into something that enhances our charisma and persuasiveness?
Again, I turn to my recent experience with Sir Richard Branson and his Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. Now those are two very different men. And yet, their suggestions on these issues were remarkably similar and useful.
Branson said that he was blessed with being the type of person who has trouble remembering his own problems. Once he recognized a problem he said he spent only a few minutes or hours of reflection, trying to get the lesson and then he forgot about it. He moved on. He couldn’t even remember problems from a few days before.
What to do? Focus on our problems only long enough to develop a solution that makes things radically better. Then, forget about the problem, the revenge, the anxiety. Although Richard harbored some sentiments of revenge against British Airways, even there he came to terms with it for himself. He focused the revenge on building something way better than his attackers.
How to do it? Most of us cannot just will ourselves to forget the bad. In fact, we have to push it from our awareness by contemplating other things. Our minds are amazing, but cannot focus on more than a few items at a time. We have to focus on the new thoughts, desires, and plans. And, when the old and negative things appear, we just say “stop” and for most people it is useful to add “I do not know why I think of these things. Forgive me. Help me and thank you.” For more on this check out my friend Joe Vitale’s new book and podcast on these techniques.
Many experts in cultivating this new mindfulness and awareness of the changes that we want rather than of the old patterns also add – “I Love You.” Why? The expression of love, even in the abstract, seems to have the effect of creating compassion for those around us and a calming effect on our own neurotransmitter mix.
And you need to use the mind’s natural desire to create and to maintain consistency of behavior by making new habits. Instead of falling into the habit of dwelling on fear, anger, and anxiety, your new habit is to interrupt those thoughts and to replace them with more relevant and empowering ideas. The human mind is really incapable of focusing on both.
It turns out, that compassion is good for us not just those to whom we are expressing it.
That is where the Dalai Lama comes in. His remarks reminded us that anger and anxiety are bad for us. They make you sick. They spread that negative effect to those around us which can have a strange way of coming back to reinfect us later that day, week, month, or year. When those around us are unhappy, we are likely to reap another round of unhappiness ourselves.
What to do? Be less angry and more calm and compassionate.
How to do it? When asked that specific question, the Dalai Lama said that he made an image of another self. That new self would watch him in his angry state. From this perspective, as another person, he could see the effects of his own anger and was strangely more able to control it and to allow it to moderate and pass.
Modern psychology of course would say that he was using disassociation.
Yes. Why remain fully associated with the anger? Why allow it to control you, hurt you and those around you, and to diminish your effectiveness and your persuasive skills?
Try this technique. As soon as you notice the anger rising, imagine that you are another version of you. A calm and collected version watching yourself become angry. Suddenly, the anger or anxiety has less power.
Click here if you want another technique to give you more power over the negative emotions of fear, anger, and anxiety.
And as that happens you automatically become more versatile, more competent, and more flexible and persuasive.
So try these mind hacks. Find the quiet and compassion from which flexibility and greater persuasiveness flow. Let me know what you think in the comments below.
Photo Credit: Gianmaria™