As my husband watched his professional women’s basketball team at their shooting practice, he was troubled.

The energy in the gym was coming from just a few people. The others were just going through the motions, like passengers along for the ride.

He knew the others were capable of more, but the question was how to get them to bring more energy. Yelling wasn’t going to work. In fact, that negative energy might crush the existing positive energy. 

That’s when he realized if he was going to ask others to do more, then he should ask it of himself first. Otherwise, he was just along for the ride too.

So how could he be an energy source? How was he helping to further the cause?

Whether you’re the team leader or a team member, there will be times you need to raise the energy level and motivation in the group. And just as my husband discovered, the behavior of each person in the group can make an impact on the overall energy of the team.

When you find yourself needing to raise the level of positive energy in yourself or your team, here are three things you can do. Best of all, you can do this on your own without anyone else’s permission.

  1. Check Your Demeanor
  2. Use Your Voice
  3. Set Your Intention

Let’s start with the first.

Your demeanor speaks loudest

Your demeanor is your body language and facial expression. It’s the way you show up visually. Imagine someone is watching a video of you with the sound off. What they see is not just what you’re doing, but the way you’re going about it. That’s your demeanor.

In the case of my husband’s players, some were moving sluggishly, others were expressionless or frowning, and there were some slumped shoulders.

How about you? What would that video look like for you?

For so many of us, it’s as though we’re still toddlers who think that when they cover their own eyes that no one else can see them either. So even though you can’t see what you look like, use your imagination – is your demeanor what you want others to see? Does it represent you well?

And on video, it’s even more important to be aware of your demeanor because it’s easy for your body language and facial expression to be misinterpreted as negative. On camera or on the phone, there are fewer clues for people to rely on than when you’re in person.

So you really need to bring positive energy more deliberately on video calls.

Which brings us to the next point.

Use your voice to convey your energy

Voice is about your tone, your choice of words, and whether or not you’re speaking up at all.

On the basketball court, one way to bring the energy is by talking. And it’s pretty obvious when only a couple of people are talking because sounds (or lack of them) are amplified in a high-ceilinged gym.

The same is true for us at work, whether it’s the uncomfortable silence of tension in a meeting room or the dead silence on the other end of the phone line after you’ve proposed an idea.

So the first thing is to participate actively. If you’re never contributing, then people are missing out on your energy in the room, and you might give the impression that you’re not motivated or interested.

Plus, work and life are so much more fun when you’re actively engaged, and part of being engaged is to speak up and contribute your ideas.

When you don’t use your voice, you’re just a passenger. And being passive won’t be energizing for you or the people around you. It doesn't have to be an earth-shattering comment. Start with the things you have an excuse to say like a powerful “thank you {name}!” if someone holds the door open for you or asking how someone's project is going.

Second, think about what you choose to say and how you say it. When I was a constantly complaining teenager, my father finally challenged me to “use positive words only”. Not only did that stop me from complaining, it also improved my mood. After all, it’s hard to sound and feel negative if you’re using only positive words!

If you take up that challenge too, you’ll soon find that your ideas will find more receptive ears and your influence will grow.

For example, instead of “that’s the worst idea I’ve ever heard!” the positive words only version could be “I wonder how that would support our team’s mission?”.

So instead of contributing more negative energy to the room, think about how you could use your voice to redirect the conversation and bring positive energy instead.

And this brings us to the third point.

Set your intention before you enter the (virtual) room

At the foundation of bringing positive energy is your intention.

That’s because your mindset affects your behavior which affects your results. And your mindset determines the kind of energy you bring into an interaction, whether it’s face-to-face, on video or in writing.

That’s why it’s so crucial to mentally prepare yourself before you enter a conversation, meeting or basketball practice. And better yet, set your intention before you embark on your day.

Just as each player had their own troubles preoccupying them, you’ll have stresses you’re dealing with too. In this environment, there’s plenty of concerns to go around.

That’s why it’s more important than ever to set your intention for the day and even each interaction you’re about to go into. Once you choose your intention, everything else will be easier because your intention is the foundation for your demeanor and voice. What’s going on for you inside can’t help but show up on the outside.

But what if you’re surrounded by energy “vampires”?

We all know people who suck the energy out of a room. Those are energy “vampires”. If you’re surrounded by them, there are three things to consider. First, see if you can spend less time with them and more time with positively motivated people.

Second, you can “sweeten them up”, which is my mother’s term for bringing your positivity and letting it rub off on them. For example, starting off with a warm welcome and genuine compliment. Or reminding them of a happy memory you have of them.

And third, you can have a conversation with them to see if everything is alright, and then see if there’s an opening to let them know how they’re coming across. It could be a blind spot that’s holding them back from greater success but be careful how you let them know.

Just don’t make the mistake of going into your day or meeting “cold”

When you just let the day wash over you, that puts you at the whim and mercy of everyone else’s agenda. But if you’re intentional about the way you want to conduct yourself and react to things, you’ll have a far better chance of staying on a positive, even keel.

So when you’re in need of a boost to your motivation or your team is in the doldrums, remember to bring the positive energy and motivation through:

  1. Your Demeanor – what do your body language and facial expressions convey about you? Do they represent you at your best?
  2. Your Voice – to what extent are you contributing your energy and ideas by speaking up in a positive, constructive way?
  3. Your Intention – what could you do to proactively set your intention for the day and ahead of each interaction? And how would that bring positive energy and motivation to yourself and the people around you?

As for my husband, he got up and started rebounding for one of his players and giving words of encouragement to the others. And at the end of the session, he shared a message to set them up for a higher energy session the next time.

Just as my husband helped raise the energy in the gym by bringing his own engagement and energy levels up, the same can be true for you.

Remember, you have a choice for how you show up and the kind of day you’re going to have. No matter what happens around you, the energy you bring is a choice you make. And it just might raise the energy and motivation for everyone around you too.

So which of these would most help you increase the positive energy for you and your team?

Leave me a comment – I’d love to know!