10 Ways to Display Passion

Many years ago I was turned down for a job at a company that I really wanted to work for.  I was surprised when the interviewer told me that he did not think I wanted the job.  He could not have been more wrong about that.  I was puzzled by his conclusion even after he explained that I had not shown enthusiasm for the job during the interview and that is how he came to his decision.  The DISC behavioral assessment helped me to understand his comment.

Some people are naturally passionate about everything they do.  Others have a style that is dispassionate and often unreadable. I’ve learned now that my natural style is often unreadable by others. There is no right or wrong style to be.  Having a very passionate team member can often be annoying to a team trying to view all sides in making a decision.  During a sales presentation or a job interview being passionate is a positive however. Enthusiasm is contagious!  While it is difficult to fake passion it was possible for me to learn to show my feelings more openly.  If expressing passion is hard for you here are some tips on stepping it up a bit.

  1. Prepare mentally and physically.  You want to be well rested and in good shape so that you are energetic and enthusiastic about your topic. Your body posture shows excitement. You stay totally present and give everyone a warm confident greeting.
  2. Use stories to engage your feelings. Tell stories that inspire you and the people you are talking to.  Use the stories to illustrate a point or make something abstract more concrete.  The stories could be about accomplishments that you are proud of or memorable events in your life.  In talking about yourself you will recapture your own passionate feeling and communicate the feeling to the listeners.
  3. Move to display physical energy. Use gestures when you talk.  If appropriate move while you speak.
  4. Connect with what you love.  Passion comes from within you.  Practice accessing it by learning what triggers it for you and then using it appropriately.
  5. Have gleaming eyes.  Hard to fake this one but here are some suggestions.  Put eye drops in your eyes just before the meeting. Avoid anything that would make your eyes red such as allergies or lack of sleep.  Maintain eye contact with person or audience.  Stay aware of the passion within (#4).  The glow of passion does come from inside.
  6. Smile as you speak.  Look for joy in whatever you are doing or talking about. Then show the pleasure and happiness you feel by smiling. Sometimes initiating the smile brings the joy with it.
  7. Find a topic that intrigues you. Get absorbed in what you are speaking about so that delivering your message really consumes you.  This demonstrates your passion to the listeners
  8. Use variety in pace and an overall upbeat tempo. Keep your speech pace upbeat speaking slower for emphasis and then faster with energy and excitement.
  9. Keep the volume of your voice up. You want everyone to hear you. This also helps you to realize the importance of what you are saying.
  10. Vary the pitch of your voice.  It is important to avoid being a monotone.  Passionate people are excited and so their voice naturally goes up and down.

Managers should remember that not all jobs require a person who is noticeably enthusiastic .  It is important to know the behavioral style the job requires and then look for a person who has that style.  I recommend all hiring managers use the DISC and Workplace Motivators for candidates and the Job Benchmarking tool for the job itself.  Remember no one style is “the best”.  For a flyer about these assessments please send me an email asparker@asparker.com.



4 Responses to “10 Ways to Display Passion

  • Thanks for the comments shurtleff and jkersh!

    shurtleff, you are right enthusiasm is contagious and will help a person to get hired. Connecting to one’s passion helps the undemonstrative display that passion.
    Oh and by the way I love the eye story!!

    J kersh, let us know how your performance went. I think for performers showing passion is extremely important. As shurtleff says, it is contagious and you will get back from the audience the enthusiasm you give out. As a Gospel singer I love it when the audience claps and dances. It energizes the choir.

  • I was feeling a little puzzled today wondering why things are slow with my correspondence.

    I just happened on your description about how we communicate our feelings and I started to put two and two together.

    I think I am also dispassionate about how I express. Sometimes after a dialogue with someone I find myself not responding and I will kick myself wondering why I acted like that.

    I have to give a piano engagement on Saturday at a retirement facility in Niagara-on-the Lake. I will definitely be thinking about your comments. What other supplement could be as simple straight forward for a common characteristic.?
    Thanks for your info..

  • shurtleff
    14 years ago

    have gleaming eyes????

    i have great difficulty with this one. eyedrops? my advice is simply to look people in the eye, but not for too long. as long as you’re smiling and enthusiastic [but not strident], things should be ok.

    you can only do so much at this point to change how you come across. for most people, it’s just too much to think about more than one thing at a time. i would say concentrate on smiling and stay focussed on what you’re so enthusiastic about. enthusiasm and its corollary energy shine through the most horrible of otherwise fatal flaws. i remember hiring the nerdiest engineer i’d ever met, even though i thought that his communication skills were approximately zero. but his enthusiasm was infectious, and despite his inarticulate speech, the troops seemed to rally round him in working out some pretty tough technical solutions.

    back to the eyes: otoh, in my senior year at MIT, i arrived at my apartment to find my apartment-mate barry in front of the the bathroom mirror holding his eyes wide open, then nearly shut, essentially experimenting with his eye-appeal. i asked barry [a great looking red-haired guy, 6′-2″ tall, big broad shoulders] what he was doing. he was convinced that my success with women was due to my ‘eyes that laugh on cue.’ more likely that i was genuinely interested in the girl and what made her tick, i told him. years later, one of the three very serious girlfriends in my life told me that it WAS my eyes that attracted her. go figure.

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