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It is odd that one of the hottest summers on record in New Mexico would give rise to thoughts on optimism, but that's exactly what has happened. Lately, I have been thinking about optimism as it relates to communication styles and to business development. I have reached the conclusion that all three are closely related.

When we create and sustain optimism internally, our communication with ourselves and with others reflects it. Of course, the opposite is also true: if we are essentially negative and pessimistic, this will also be reflected in our communication. Given that business development is in large measure communicating something about ourselves and our firms, it makes sense that our perspective on life and how we communicate it is enormously influential in the business development process.

Martin Seligman, Ph.D. (author of Learned Optimism) and others have studied this area and determined that optimism is not necessarily innate. We can develop it ourselves, in part by changing how we view adversity. For example, if you believe you are not a good business developer and never will be, you can change your view to "I know I'm not great at business development today, but I am good at learning, and I can learn how to do this." Thinking this way will help you reframe your attitudes about yourself and allow you to progress as a business developer if you set your mind to it.

When you change your attitude about something, your communication about it will change, too. You will project more openness to new situations and eventually feel more confident. Confident (a word that describes every business developer I know) people are like magnets: their energy, outlook, and zest for living and working are extremely attractive to others. That's how they sell themselves and their firms so successfully.

If you are experiencing business development challenges, make a deal with yourself today to take the optimistic view. You might enjoy the change of scenery.

I recently created and presented a day-long seminar on optimism and communication. If your firm might benefit from this session, please contact me at info@melindamarkets.com or at 505.263.9460.

© Melinda Guillemette 2009