by Edith Barnard, Barnard Communications

“What I do best is share my enthusiasm.” —Bill Gates

Sharing your enthusiasm will make work more fun for you, and more inspiring for your clients and coworkers. Enthusiasm is the easiest of communication skills to see, but can be among the more difficult to achieve.

The things that enthuse us in our childhood often inspire our life’s work. When I was growing up, my Aunt Betty ignited my lifelong passion for singing and speaking. She was a beautician and piano player. Whenever we got together on my grandparents’ backyard swing, we would sing songs like “Blue Moon” and “Side by Side.” She delighted in hearing me recite my latest original poem, and in giving me loving suggestions to improve my delivery. Even now as I recall those warm southern Illinois evenings, I think of Aunt Betty as my voice coach.

The root of the word enthusiasm is the ancient Greek “entheos,” meaning “the fire of the gods.” Your inspired flame can light up those around you: Cheerleaders excite the crowd during a game. An animated instructor engages students. An exuberant manager motivates a team.

Even if you don’t feel all that excited about a task at hand, you can drum up the spirit in yourself and others. Recall Tom Sawyer’s “enthusiasm” for painting a fence and how it launched fence painting fever among his friends. Practice using words that express enthusiasm: fantastic, tremendous, awesome, wow, great, spectacular and fabulous. Write them on a card and carry it with you, or hang it on your bathroom mirror so you’ll be reminded to use them.

It is not just the words you use, but the way you express yourself. If you describe to someone the most exciting thing in your life, notice how you sound… and start using that voice and body language. If you act enthusiastic, you’ll become enthusiastic! iBi