Successful leaders learn to not only have a poker face but they also have a poker voice.
What does that mean?
It means that when they speak, they have learned to control the tone of their voice, the pace of their voice, and the content of their remarks so that it is difficult to gauge what they are thinking. This gives them a distinct advantage because others cannot anticipate their actions or reactions. It makes them appear more powerful and superior to ordinary people.
This is a critical skill for work and home: watch your body language. Make sure it is consistent with your words.
After body language, watch your tone. Try to keep it neutral at all times. In the bestseller, The Forty-Eight Laws of Power, the authors assert that “An emotional response to a situation is the single greatest barrier to power, a mistake that will cost you a lot more than any temporary satisfaction you might gain by expressing your feelings.”
All of know at least one drama queen or drama king. They love to yell and make a scene when they’re offended. While all of that screaming might make them feel better in the short term, in the long term it does nothing for their careers or their relationships. I mean, how often can you give someone a piece of your mind before you run out of brain?
Dr. Richard Carlson makes a suggestion that I have found extremely helpful in dealing with difficult situations. He says, “Before becoming defensive, take note of what is being said…Reacting in a defensive manner usually involves a knee-jerk or instantaneous reaction to something that is being said. Someone makes a comment and you feel hurt.
Pause a moment and ask yourself these questions before you react. “Does the comment make sense? Is there an element of truth in it? Can you learn something here? Or is the person simply being a jerk?” (Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff at Work, Hyperion 1998, p. 203-204)
If there’s something you can use, take it and run with it!