Welcome to this issue of "Dr. T's Timely Tips" by Dr. Tony Alessandra. Please send your feedback to info@alessandra.com!

Sustain your good image with Pausitiveness

For a sustained good image, master emotional self-control. "Those who command themselves," goes an old saying, "command others." That is true, and it means being disciplined enough to put your personal feelings on hold even when tempted to blow your stack.

If you otherwise make a great first impression, yet allow yourself to be pushed over the edge to rant and rave and to say and do things that you later regret, that is the "you" that will be remembered. Your hard-won image of positiveness or enthusiasm can be shattered in an instant. It will take much damage control to undo even one such outburst.

One executive, whom I'll call Harry, seeks to project himself as fair, sensitive, highly knowledgeable, a good listener, and, above all, tranquil under fire. However, his volcanic temper is never far from exploding. Moreover, when it does erupt in an outpouring of vitriol, no one is safe. After his emotional eruptions, no one looks him squarely in the eye for quite some time as he tries to resume his role as good ol' Harry, the wise, imperturbable leader.

What Harry needs is what I call pausitiveness: the ability to pause and refrain from giving immediate feedback. Many an argument can be avoided if one side refuses to be defensive. That is because feedback, while generally a good idea, can be like throwing gasoline on a fire if you misunderstand the intent of the other person's message.

Another example: I once was at the home of some friends and was chatting with the wife when her husband, who was running a little late, burst into the room in an apparent huff. Pointing at his shirt collar, he demanded loudly, harshly, "Where did you get this shirt cleaned?" Many spouses, fearing a rebuke, might have counterattacked. However, this woman, in a calm voice without disturbing body language, just named the dry cleaner and said evenly, "Why do you ask?" The husband said it was the first time any cleaner had done his shirt properly and he would like all his shirts done there from now on.

Therefore, clearly, there are times when it is best just to pause, bite your tongue, and restrain your body language and gestures in the face of an implied threat or criticism until the smoke has cleared. Maybe, as it sometimes turns out, there is no crisis at all, or perhaps you wrongly inferred that the other person was being critical. In any event, by remaining calm, you may defuse the situation and, at the very worst, you will not aggravate it.

Remember: People will always believe that what you say in your worst moments is closer to your true beliefs than what you more carefully tailor for their consumption in calmer times.

Here's to more personal insight,


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Sometimes it's best to say nothing. That's when you need to read the nonverbals.

Nonverbal Communication is a key element in any interaction. Nonverbal Communication is appearance, body language, and the tone and pace of a voice. While you take the time to practice pausitiveness, that's when you need to understand the Nonverbal Communication going on between you and the other person.

Nonverbal Communication is an eReport that will help you create powerful nonverbal messages that support your verbal content. You will learn how to interpret and use body language to deliver the message you intend and how to project a vocal quality that matches your message.

Nonverbal Communication includes:

- Five body language gestures
- Interpreting twelve gesture clusters
- Various ways to use body language
- Seven major vocal qualities
- Twelve common emotions communicated in voice qualities
- Five ways to develop an assured voice

Awareness of the subtle nuances nonverbal communication provides is critical if you want to be more attuned to what you're communicating, as well as what other people are telling you when you take the time for pausitiveness.

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