If It Ain’t Got That Swing!

November 2, 2015

I am so over passion, aren’t you? Lately the term “passion” feels like just another buzzword tossed around to sell someone or something. In business, you could define passion as deep expertise combined with a fervent enthusiasm for the topic, the product and the people with whom you engage. But I think there might be more to it.

I love TED Talks and one of my favourite speakers is Benjamin Zander. He so obviously knows and loves his subject (classical music), and has an infectious passion for it. When he speaks, Zander lights up the room. He seems to genuinely believe the audience shares his love of classical music – they just may not know it yet. It’s a brave idea, and it works.

Where passion is concerned, there are two extremes to avoid. Lack of passion is of course as persuasive as a dead fish. On the other hand excessive passion — obsession, evangelism or zealotry — can be equally off-putting. People immediately sense when others are insincere or faking passion. Research tells us that audiences (particularly in Australia) have finely tuned bull s*** detectors!

So then, while passion is important, we have to learn not to bludgeon people with it. Passion on its own is an empty tin cup, but passion enriched with other qualities and values resonates like a temple bell. People buy heart, not hype, in the passion game.

Are you truly passionate about the topic, product, service or strategy you seek to influence people over? As Duke Ellington and Irving Mills would say, “It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing.

PS – If you are looking to find your passion, you might like Mark Manson’s provocative post here. Warning it’s a riveting read but not for the faint hearted. Did I just make it irresistible?

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