Christine Comaford is the author of Rules for Renegades, which might make you think that her advice would center around self-expression and breaking the rules. While breaking the rules is certainly one of her favorite themes, during her Social Capitalist Interview she shared some interesting perspective on why being a chameleon and adapting to what others want to see can be an act of generosity and service.
“It’s service-oriented. It really is. So just like in rapport, we step out of ourself then we say, ‘What does that person need to see?’ So Monday for instance, I’ll be in New York City. I’ll be in a room of 40 CEOs of mid-market companies. Forget me, OK? I’m not relevant. What’s relevant is what can come through me. What do those guys need to see? What they need to see, based on talking to the folks who are sponsoring the event and just listening, is someone who’s conservative, someone’s who’s got some really good answers to what is happening in the world right now and how they should manage change. Someone who’s going to help them walk away with like five tips so they can manage the radical amount of change in their organization today. So yes, I don’t like wearing conservative suits, but I will wear one. That will make them feel safe. Rapport tools help us step out of ourselves.
So I always look at ‘What does that person need to see and hear to receive my message?’ Then yes, I chameleon into that for the purpose of my interaction with them so they can feel safety, belonging, and the feeling that they matter.
I use the terms that make them feel safe. I wear an outfit that makes them feel safe. I use rapport techniques that make them feel safe. All this so I can be of greater service. Because the rest of the time, I just want to wear jeans and a t-shirt, OK? To be totally authentic in Christine-ness, I would be wearing jeans and a t-shirt. But it’s not about me. It’s about serving them and I think we forget that. We think that to be authentic, we’ve got to always be saying, ‘Here I am, here I am.’ But in the world of service, if you really seriously want to serve, my friends, it’s about asking what the person needs to see, hear, and feel in order to receive whatever your gift is.
We’re being authentic to our purpose, not to our favorite fashion statement. That’s all transitory anyway. If your purpose really is be of service, then do it. Be of service. That means be who they need you to be so they can receive the gift that you want to give.”
Get more unexpected advice and tips in the full transcript of Christine’s Social Capitalist Interview here: Social Capitalist – Christine Comaford.