Generate Contagious Optimism
When people tell stories that others can relate to, a connection is created. A group’s culture is based on the stories members tell themselves. Positive stories about the challenges people have overcome promote a positive culture and positive behavior. The more a story spreads, the more people it influences. By going viral, a positive broadcaster can unlock his or her full potential. Those who want their messages to go viral should pay attention to the following six elements:
1. Activate the Hidden 31. In a survey of more than 600 professionals, more than 31 percent said they were positive but not expressive of it at work. Instead of working to change the minds of those who are negative, positive broadcasters should focus their energies on getting these “hidden broadcasters” to spread their messages.
2. Raise the broadcaster’s status. People naturally want to be “in the know.” Positive broadcasters should share smart, unique stories with others so that those individuals can share them with their circles and build social capital.
3. Communicate high emotion. Studies have shown that stories with high and positive emotion are more likely to go viral. Even if it is bad news, if the story is framed in a positive way, people are more inspired to share it or take action.
4. Make it practical. For a story to go viral and be effective, it must be practical. The story must be something that benefits the audience in some way. For example, a positive broadcaster might share an article on ways to avoid toddler tantrums with friends who have young children.
5. Lower the activation. When a story is easy to share, it is shared more often. This can be done through catchy headlines or infographics.
6. Operationalize the message. It is important to repeat the message, get others involved, and spur action.
When it comes to delivering bad news, positive broadcasters follow the four Cs:
1. Create social capital. When a person builds a social network of people willing to support his or her actions, it is easier to face challenges. This can be done by engaging in positive network-building activities or by simply greeting someone with a friendly smile. Positive broadcasters build social capital through the following:
*Shared activity. The best and easiest way to build social capital is to meet for drinks, play a sport, volunteer with others, etc.
*Celebrate publicly often. Praising others for their contributions builds goodwill.
*Take five. People who want to become positive broadcasters should have 5-minute conversations with others in their networks each day.
*Call someone out. A great way to build trust is to recognize another person’s character strengths and compliment them.
2. Give context. When delivering bad news, a person should offer details that show he or she understands the situation from the other person’s point of view. It is also a good idea to offer a rationale for the situation and specifics on the ramifications. Finally, positive broadcasters should be careful to avoid framing the news in a narrow (by only offering some facts) or binary (by casting the situation as win/lose) way.
3. Express compassion. The most important thing a person can do when delivering bad news is acknowledge another’s stress, suffering, or misfortunes.
4. Stay committed. Positive broadcasters back up their words with actions. Negative news is easier to accept when it is accompanied by a plan and actions to make things better.
Negativity can be contagious. Studies have shown that negative people affect others’ stress levels, health, and productivity at work. Positive broadcasters can improve communications with negative people by temporarily removing themselves from the situation. Positive broadcasters should follow three steps:
1. Retreat. Sometimes a conversation or situation is a lost battle. In the following instances, it is better for individuals to accept defeat and preserve resources for the future:
*Their defenses are down. Positive broadcasters should avoid negative people or situations when they are stressed, tired, or otherwise challenged.
*The other person is deeply entrenched. If the other person is too emotionally charged, it not the time to engage in a conversation.
*They are outnumbered. Sometimes it is the wrong time or place to engage with a negative person.
2. Regroup. Those who want to be positive broadcasters should create habits to increase positivity and reduce stress, such as sending thank-you emails or taking pictures.
3. Reenter. Positive broadcasters prepare themselves to face negative people or situations by:
*Knowing the terrain. It is important to find the best time and place for the interaction.
*Bringing reinforcements. Having other positive people around can diminish negative energy.
*Doing a two-minute drill. Positive broadcasters practice for interactions with negative people. They start with a power lead, keep the conversation short, and end on a good note