Are You a Personable Person? (not a trick question!)

Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash

What is your relationship to life? 

I’m not sure there is a bigger question than this. It bears repeating: 

What – is – your relationship to life?

Eckhart Tolle

A couple of weeks ago I met with my client Hailey (names changed), who is responsible for mentoring several people at her financial firm. She talked with me about two managers. Each is hampered in the same areas:

  • Lack of self-awareness
  • Too harsh verbally / non-verbally

This pretty much is the definition of someone who is Emotionally Tone-Deaf.

Denisse, one of Hailey’s managers, reached out to me to explore coaching. She sounded aloof during our phone chat. She had minimal energy and asked questions in what I took to be a suspicious tone of voice. I had to make a concerted effort to be present with her in this conversation.

Denisse contacted me because of a recent meeting with a client that didn’t go well because of the poor impression she created (as reported by the client to Hailey).

Denisse told Hailey she’s introverted and has a hard time creating a comfortable rhythm with a client. 

I hear this a lot from professionals and since I’ve got a strong introverted streak running through my personality, I know the challenges. In many settings I have to generate energy that doesn’t come “naturally” to me. What I’ve learned, though, is this:

Relationships are ALL about energy

Recently a colleague with whom I collaborated on an event thanked me for being:

“personable, professional and flexible.”

I appreciated the compliment as I like being known for those three qualities BUT I got to thinking – what does it mean to be “personable”?

I thought about it and I now believe that a personable person is –

A person who knows they are a person dealing with another person!

A personable person realizes that “it” is ALL about relationship.

But there’s more. . .

Hailey told me that she thinks the managers struggle with client relationships because they are either unable or unwilling to self-reflect.

Hmm. . .maybe that’s the “secret” to being personable.

Personable people know how to self-reflect.

In my classes and workshops I give participants “whacks on the head” – prompts to get them thinking about themselves as communicators. Many don’t know how to answer the introspective questions I ask.

While there are various reasons for their struggles, I suspect it comes down to this:

Reflection demands time, patience and a willingness to ask, “Why?” 

Why do I do what I do and say what I say in the way in which I do and speak?

Asking “why?” invites you to understand who shaped you into the communicator you are today.

Understand the influencers in your life and you can choose how to present yourself to people – whether you are introverted or extroverted.

You no longer have to be held hostage by the mantra, “this is just me.”

The more aware you are of the mystery of YOU, the greater is your “chance” of becoming aware of the mystery of others.

And so, you more readily approach others with care and avoid being. . .

Too quick

Too biased

Too afraid

Too judgmental

Too harsh

. . .in your dealings with people.

So, here’s the thing – 

The year is almost over. The Hallmark Channel soon will be rolling out its Christmas movie premiers!

What do you want to do MORE OF beginning NOW and on through to the end of the year?

A few days ago, while writing this post, I heard back from Denisse – she’s decided the problem is not with her – that the problem is with her boss Hailey who doesn’t see what a great job she’s doing.

I told her that I think she’s making a mistake in not doing the challenging (and freeing) work of self-reflection. She was startled by my directness.

How about YOU? 

How about spending the remainder of 2022 becoming more “personable” by focusing on your professional and personal relationships: nurturing the ones that are healthy and tend to the ones that might be frayed, tense-filled or neglected.



To help get you thinking about YOU and people, here are Ten Questions to Generate Curiosity for People:  

  1. Why do you like people? Why don’t you like about people?  
  2. What is the best conversation you ever had with a stranger?
  3. What makes a person boring for you?
  4. What makes you boring to people?
  5. Do you want people to like you?  
  6. Do you have anything to give to people that would benefit them?
  7. In what ways is your life richer for “excluding” people? (yes, trick question)
  8. Who was the kindest person to you?
  9. Who was the nastiest?
  10. Who knew you the best – the kindest or the nastiest?

Let focusing on your relationships help you become MORE OF in the remaining weeks of this year. . .

  • more curious
  • more aware of self
  • more generous in de-complicating your life
  • more grateful
  • more adventuresome

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