In The Trenches

Your feelings are contagious

Published on June 1, 2015 Back to blog

A few weeks ago, I was too lazy to change the batteries on the TV remote in the room where I exercise (yes, I see the irony) and found myself watching the best of SNL. While watching the “More Cowbell” skit for perhaps the 100th time in my life, I couldn’t help but laugh out loud. Again.

Maybe it was the seriousness of Christopher Walken as he demanded more cowbell, or Will Farrel’s intense passion (and outfit) as he played it. But, who really got me laughing was Jimmy Fallon, as he couldn’t control his own laughter during the scene.

This skit reminded me how contagious our feelings can be. Whether it be laughter, sadness, satisfaction or upset, we somehow feel what those around us are feeling. Recognizing this affect is important as it can have positive and negative impact at home and the workplace.

Here’s a few places where this reminder can come in handy.

1. Get others excited about your work
Before most every presentation, I remind my team to express their passion and excitement for the work they did. When they show it, people in the room generally follow.

2.  Prevent frustration at the office
When you are frustrated, everyone around you feels it. Rather than cause an entire environment of frustration, get it out quickly so you can all move on.

3.  Light up a dim room
It’s amazing how quickly a room can change when someone walks in with a smile on their face and few kind words. Try it sometime.

4.  Help others to open up
If you know me well, you know that I wear my heart on my sleeve (and tears come easily). I used to be embarrassed about this, but have learned that this “vulnerability” causes others to be comfortable sharing their true feelings with me as well.

5.  Gain respect of those around you
The best way to gain respect and trust of others is to show feelings of trust and respect toward them. It’s really that easy.

WARNING: Be careful with how you use this advice. Feelings are contagious only when they are authentic. Inauthenticity can be spotted a mile away – and can have the opposite effect.

Please share your thoughts and feedback – and if you have any other examples of emotions being contagious, please share them as well.

As always, thanks for reading. Now, smile and have a great day!

Jeff Freedman
CEO/Managing Partner
Small Army | Finn Partners