I had a woman in one of my Charisma classes a few weeks ago who is a very intelligent well rounded southern woman. She is a high level manager that is in the technology field and works with numerous men. She’s been stumped by the fact that while she’s one of the smartest people in the field, she continually runs into the problem of being ignored in many social and work situations. She has the power in her position, yet people just run over her in conversation or completely pay no attention to her.

She asked me for individual help with the issue.

When I asked her to describe the exact situations of when she was ignored, she tilted her head at a fairly severe angle and as I spoke, she bobbed her head up and down in agreement as if she knew exactly the information that she needed to deliver to me to make me happy.

As soon as she did that, I said to her, Michelle, you are sweet. You are sincere. And you are very agreeable and likeable. “You are like a puppy.. lick, lick, lick. I like you…… love you.. and I want you to love me back” I said, “ you are lovable, but you aren’t powerful”.

You are a living Bobble Head doll.

Oh my gosh. I knew it right then that I sounded like Simon Cowell from American Idol. I felt the blood rush to my face because I was just going on instinct and with my gut and that’s what came out. Sometimes I have learned that going with the gut can hurt a person, so I immediately tempered what I said by adding, “but, with one change, you’ll be able to get a completely different response from people.. and you’ll like it.”

I explained to her that men would never be as agreeable as she was being with people. So, I forced her to look at me straight on with no tilt to her head. I practiced with her in polite conversation where she was not allowed to move her head. I had her practice SLOW movements that were controlled.

Low and behold, Michelle came back to class the next week with an unbelievable report! She told us she conducted a meeting with another senior manager in the room who NEVER pays attention. During the meeting, when he was looking down, not paying attention and doodling, she stopped and waited for his attention. She never wavered. She never looked too agreeable. And she never bobbled.

She got the attention. Not only of that manager who never pays attention, but she got the attention of everyone in the room who asked her afterwards what she did to get HIS attention. Now they were ALL curious!

She never did confide in them about the tiny little change that she made. But when she shared that success with the class I literally screamed for joy. I knew that she had a major breakthrough and that she’d never again be rolled over by people accepting her friendliness as weakness.

For me, the coach, I felt like a proud mama who saw her child win a race for the first time. And that’s why I do this job. It’s the little things like that, that can make the difference!