Did you ever tell scary stories around a campfire? At first, everyone laughs at how ridiculous the story is. But then someone gets scared and, just like magic, the whole group follows suit. Don’t try to reason with them; it’s hopeless. The moment things calm down, a small noise sets them off again. It’s as if their behavior is contagious.
This situation is not unusual. It happens all the time. Just as you catch the sniffles from other people, moods, emotions, and attitudes can rub off as well.
If behavior is contagious, make sure to catch a blessing and not a burden.
You’re Contagious Whether You Know It or Not
Some folks have a very narrow view of how they influence others. It’s not just what you say, but what you do; when you speak up or when you turn a blind eye; when you’re friendly or when you give folks the cold shoulder; when you hold steadfast to your values or when you give in to temptation. You send messages continuously — even if you don’t intend to.
That said, do you have more highs and lows than a roller coaster or are you as predictable as the sunrise; do you light up the room with your personality or look like you’re shouldering the world’s burdens; do you have a can-do spirit or act like a Debbie Downer? Whichever path you choose, you’re conveying a message. Here are 14 ways you can convey a positive message to others.
Evaluate your nonverbal communication. Some folks think that official written communication or scheduled sit-downs are the only real forms of communication. Think again. You can communicate without even opening your mouth. For example:
- Priorities reveal what’s important to you.
- Your actions speak volumes.
- Doing nothing says everything.
- Silence says everything.
Remain even-keeled. Volatile mood swings are unnerving. It makes people feel uneasy — not knowing how you’ll act next.
Be predictable. Consistent conduct enables people to predict your behavior — one of the hallmarks of trust.
Be positive. Some people walk through the door and light up the room. They’re positive, energetic, and hopeful. Are you?
Show what you’re made of. It’s easy to be at your best when things go well. How do you react when times are tough?
Give this some thought. Some folks don’t have an original opinion of their own. They follow others because it’s popular. How about you?
Be a good role model. People watch every move that you make. Are you proud of the message that you’re sending?
Remain true to your values. Some folks blow with the wind because it’s convenient. What does that say about the strength of their beliefs? Does this describe you?
Be credible. Credibility says everything about you. It enhances your influence and makes your messages more impactful.
Tell the truth. Some people distort and exaggerate statements, present opinion as fact, and omit key details. Their word is meaningless. How honest are you?
Treat others with dignity and respect. When a friend is rude to others, it says you may be treated the same way tomorrow. (Ouch.) How do you treat others?
Lead by example. Some folks live one way in public but another in private; treat those in power differently than they treat underlings; make rules for others but fail to follow those rules themselves. Do you set a good example?
Make a (good) name for yourself. Your reputation tells the world who you are. What does your reputation say about you?
Live with honor. Do you honor your word or break your promises? Earn respect or demand it? Accept responsibility or blame others? Stand strong or bend to peer pressure? Build people up or tear them down? Do what you can or make excuses why you can’t? Raise the bar or tolerate mediocrity? Better yourself or try to change others? Make a difference in others’ lives or enrich your own?
People who look up to you watch every move that you make — so don’t let them down.
If Behavior Is Contagious, Is Yours Worth Catching?
Are you conscious of how your behavior affects others and how theirs impacts you? There are so many things you can do to build trust, generate kindness, foster respect, and promote integrity. It’s not a monumental undertaking to add cheer to someone’s day, to set a good example, and to bring out the best in others. It’s knowing that your behavior is contagious and using that power for good.
Ask yourself: What does my attitude say about me; am I proud of what I do and who I am; would I be proud if my kids followed my example; would I want to be friends with myself?
If your behavior is contagious, what will people catch?
Is Your Behavior Worth Catching?
Please leave a comment and tell us what you think or share it with someone who can benefit from the information.
Who’s Your Hero?
Live with Honor and Integrity
Being Generous Doesn’t Cost a Penny
Karma: Make Your Own Luck
What Does It Take to Show a Little Kindness?
16 Types of Toxic People
Do You Lead by Example?
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Lisa Sicard says
Frank, I love this one! People do influence others with their own behavior whether they know it or not. I sometimes show my attitude way too much on my sleeve so this post will remind me to keep a lower profile when around others when not in the best of moods. I don’t want to make anyone else feel miserable 🙁 .
Frank Sonnenberg says
We’re very similar. I once attended a meeting….An executive, sitting across the conference table, wrote a note on a napkin and passed it across to me. It said, “Don’t ever play poker.” I guess I didn’t like what the speaker was saying 🙂
Thanks for taking the time to write.
Lucy DelSarto says
Spot on once again Frank! Your words and wisdom are appreciated and I’ll be sharing this. Thank you!
Frank Sonnenberg says
My pleasure, Lucy. I’m so glad you like it.
Thanks for taking the time to write.