4 Things To Quell The Passion And Build Individual Rapport

collge picI facilitated a workshop the other day.  I love facilitating workshops.  I always ask the attendees what they hope to get out of it so I can tailor the presentation to their needs.  This means that it is not scripted and often that much more unique.


I also warn the attendees of a few things:


  1. I talk really fast when I get excited or passionate about something.  Feel free to tell me to slow down.
  2. I get very passionate and excited when I talk about resumes, LinkedIn, job searching, networking – the whole experience.
  3. I am sarcastic, I engage the audience and we are going to have fun.


Whether they like it or not.


Sometimes they do not like it.  I had an attendee who did not like it.  It might have been my style, the information, the “humor” or the fact that I didn’t have handouts.


I don’t like handouts or slides or PowerPoint presentations.  They are distracting.  People look through or gaze at them while the presentation is going on and they will miss something.  I move fast, I pack in the information and I want to make sure everyone is there in the moment getting the most out of it.


Anyway, immediately following the presentation I was really bothered by having an attendee not find value or enjoy the workshop.  Oh, and the reason I know they did not was because they were on their phone almost the entire time.


I have boys – I learn to tune things out and ignore people.


So first I was upset that he was disrespectful, then it was a matter of what could I have done differently to engage him; how could I have changed my style or presentation to have better engagement.


But then I realized 1 out of 20 really isn’t bad.  It was a very diverse audience so being able to keep everyone else engaged and up to speed wasn’t bad.  So then of course I was getting a little huffy in that I know I did well, he was just being rude.


There was a lot of debating in my head yesterday – a lot.


Then I remembered something I told a client once: passion does not always translate well.  You may be passionate about something but someone else may not.  They may take it as immaturity, overzealousness or just plain annoying.


For me I represent my company.  When you see me in a workshop or on a one-on-one situation that is who I am; straightforward, a bit of sarcasm, humor, and rapid fire approach.  But I know what I am doing and I can help lead you to where you need to be in a way that empowers you and that you may actually enjoy the trip along the way.


In a group setting I am a little more intense.  I do tone it down on a one-on-one so I don’t make the other person’s head explode.


It is necessary in order to build rapport without overpowering the person across the table.  A one-on-one situation needs to be calmer.  If you got to the interview they know you have the skills, now they want to know if you are going to fit in.


A few things you can do to take it down a notch are:


1. Take a breath before you answer any questions.


Not a quick gasp breath, just a slow two count.  This makes your brain pause and give the impression that you are thinking about your answer before you say anything.


2. Actually think about your answer before you answer.  Don’t immediately begin with your prepared answer – actually think about what they asked you.


3. If you don’t understand – ask.  If the question could be taken two different ways then tell them, “I could interpret this as A or B – which were you thinking?”  Sometimes they don’t realize they threw you a curveball and when you answer with the wrong path they look at you like you have three heads.


4. Talk lower the octave one level of your normal voice and speak more slowly.  Concentrating on your speech patterns being a little slower will calm the passion and keep it from being hyper.  The octave lower will help make sure that you are speaking more clearly and loud enough to be heard.  Also, woman have a tendency to raise their voices as we get excited so it will help prevent you women from shrilling.


Use these few tips to help quell the enthusiasm and it will help you build a stronger rapport with the individual across the table.  When you get in the front door then you can start showing the passion and flourish.



Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW

Career Coach-Strategist

Certified Professional Resume Writer

Career Polish, Inc.



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