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Jacky Sherman

Northampton & Milton Keynes' Referral Marketing Specialist

07970 638857


I'm Just So Passionate About My Business!

Erm, so what if you are?



I had to smile yesterday when John, one of my clients, recounted his negative experience at a networking event he went to earlier that week. He is an engineer by profession and an extremely analytical thinker and communicator ...

If she uses the word 'passionate' again I'm going to ... oh no, she said it ... zZZxZZzzzzZZZ

If she uses the word 'passionate' again I'm going to ... oh no, she said it ... zZZxZZzzzzZZZ


He works with me because he knows he needs to improve his networking skills as his business relies on referrals. He is honest enough to admit that many businesspeople he meets at networking events drive him to distraction.

"His frustration was with those who keep telling him that they are 'passionate' about their services!"

One particular person he met at this networking event had spent a full ten minutes saying this over and over until all John could see was the red mist descending.

I smiled because I had just finished reading Ivan Misner's latest blog post where he reminded us that passion for your business was key to success. Maybe this person had read it too?

Now, I know that John is very passionate about his business, As a consultant engineer he would say "making things is in my blood". So what is it about the expression 'passionate' that makes him react so negatively?

It is really just a matter of behavioural styles (the subject of another of my blog posts) and how that can influence both how we put our message across and how receptive we are to receive it.

John is an analytical thinker (measured paced and focused on the task at hand rather than the people). So he would have been interested in the facts and evidence about how this woman delivers excellent service and what is the outcome for her clients.

His consultancy is all about systems and processes so he would have listened patiently and joined in a discussion about how organised her services are. Just hearing her repeat over and over about how she feels about her business (passionate!) was what got to him.

I'm a different kettle of fish (does anyone still use that expression except me?). I'm also quite measured in my style, but opposite John in that, for me, the people and their feelings far outweigh the task.

If she had met me and launched into a discussion of her systems and processes, my eyes would have glazed over and I'd be desperately looking around for somewhere to escape. As it was, her repeated assertion that she was passionate about her services would have grated on me for another reason.

"It was all about her!"

I would rather she talked about her clients' issues and how she resolved them. I would also like her to have had the courtesy to pause long enough for me to make an input to the conversation and guide it toward the things I wanted to know.

Now, there is a third behavioural style that may have found this annoying too. Fast-paced, task orientated people. These people focus on results and get straight to the point. They also say what they are thinking.

I suspect, at best, they would have just walked away with impatience at all the 'fluffy talk', at worst they would have been downright rude to her. What they would have wanted to know was what results she gets for her clients and then given them time to talk about their business too.

The fourth style is the one this women prefers: fast-paced and people orientated. These people use extravagant emotional phrases. They love passion! If she had been talking to someone from this style, they would have had a long and animated discussion about why they are both passionate. On the other hand, there might have been a bit of a battle as each tried to outdo the other with how much they loved their business!

"So you might be passionate about your business, but for three-quarters of your audience, that's not what they want to know!"

You might be completely putting them off, just as John was put off by his encounter. Prepare and practice some alternative methods of getting across why others should want to know more about you and your business.

When you meet people, listen to what they talk about and how they say it. Then in your turn adapt your style to match them. Whatever you do, avoid the word 'passionate'. You might be talking to John!

Until next time ...


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More about Jacky Sherman ...

I help people build and maintain productive working relationships both with their work colleagues and with a wider network to win more business. I do this by combining my skills in coaching, mediation and training with my extensive experience in senior management.

What I love most about my work is when my clients get those a-ha moments because I know they have seen for themselves the way that they want to move forward. Then they will achieve their ambitions.

Helping people who are having challenges with their working relationships gives me enormous pleasure. It was my privilege when working in health care to see how people working together can make the impossible seem easy and accomplish miracles as a result.

So helping people build or restore strong relationship with their colleagues makes even the hardest work easier, alleviates distress for the individual and reduces problems for the whole organisation.

In all this work trust is an essential ingredient to winning business so most of my work comes through referrals. Referrals come through strong business relationships so it was a natural extension for me to work with Ascentiv and train others in how to get consistent and predictable referrals from their network.

What a fantastic way to earn a living!


07970 638857