lake in the forest with reflection


Four secrets anyone must have to have massive impact in the first 5 minutes

  • Be a master of the conversational Sleight-of-Hand –

    Communication: Be a master of the conversational Sleight-of-Hand

  • Learn how to be an “Emotional Conductor” (and become resistant/unreceptive to insults, criticism and mockery)
  • Adopt a Value-Delivering Mind-set (and let others praise you for it)
  • Become a Master Story Teller


Today is the second of four posts in which I will share tips on how to have massive impact in the first five minutes of walking into a room.


How do you deal with insults, criticism and mockery?

Have you ever been in a situation where you have maybe delivered a speech or a talk and had insults or criticism thrown at you? Maybe after the talk or speech while networking with the group you heard some negative comments/criticism about you or your talk or speech on the other side of the room?


How do you deal with insults, criticism and mockery? Do you act or react?


Learn how to be an “Emotional Conductor” (and become resistant/unreceptive to insults, criticism and mockery):

We all have to learn how to be strong in the face of criticism. Criticism gives you a chance to show what you are made of in the way you respond. This is possible when you have mastered the art of being an Emotional Conductor. It is especially great when facing intimidating and urgent scenarios in which you have to respond on your feet.


Being an Emotional Conductor means being able to be the emotional centre of any situation. It’s being the person who controls the mood, instead of simply reacting to it. It’s the ability to turn a negative into a positive, instead of meeting a negative with another negative and end up embarrassing yourself and losing control of the conversation.


People who don’t have impact are easily flustered and become emotional when they are attacked or when things go slightly wrong. They fall to pieces. They complain. They get upset, or worse, they respond in anger and end up looking like the nasty one themselves.


Being in control isn’t about avoiding these difficult or dangerous conflict situations, it’s about being calm and knowing how to deal with conflict, difficulties and criticism. One way to do this is by leading the energy in the room where you want it to go.


There is a Japanese martial art called Aikido which embodies this idea beautifully. Aikido is translated as “The Way of the Harmonious Spirit”, and its main philosophy is based on the idea that we must never meet force head-on, but instead re-direct the force of the attacker to where we want it to go. This means that Aikido requires very little strength. Instead it requires us to be more sophisticated and “lead” our opponents momentum and either turn it in another direction, turn it into something else, or dissolve it completely.


There are three ways to master this technique whenever you face criticism:

  1. Remain calm: If you panic, you lose impact. Whatever is thrown at you, remain calm and assured that you are able to deal with it in a reasonable way. This already makes you more powerful than anyone in the room.
  2. Decide your own mood: Choose your response and set the tone yourself. Never let other people’s moods influence your own energy. The more in control you are of your mood, the more others will be led by you.
  3. Re-direct criticism to something positive: Very few things in life warrant an angry or emotional response. Some better responses are to either (a) calmly explain why a criticism is incorrect, (b) laugh it off and take it in your stride, or (c) ignore it completely (because sometimes the strongest response is no response at all).


Now, when you are faced with tough questions you will look forward to them and enjoy those moments of tension. It becomes like taking a remote control into your hands and deciding how to play the situation any way you choose.


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