The Impact of Optimism


I’ve been working in Paris, France all week, leading a series of executive communication skills workshops for our largest client. The participants have come from all over Europe and the Middle East: France, England, Belgium, Spain, Italy, Saudi Arabia, Finland and India. It has been a fantastic opportunity to test ideas on a global scale and enhance our models to include a true world view. In the 2014 business, you will never regret having a broad world view.

Today, we discussed the power of optimism in your leadership communication, and how important it is. No matter where you were born, or what country you work in, leadership communication requires a sense of optimism. The organization will look to its leaders for clues on how to think and feel about things. Individuals will certainly have their own opinions as well, but those opinions will be informed, always, to some degree, by the tone and attitude of the leadership. No surprise there.

But there is a significant cultural impact here as well. Some cultures (like America, for example) are inherently optimistic. Leaders are expected to be optimistic, perhaps too much so. Some of this is sincere. We are a country that prides itself on its own sense of possibility. But some of it is contrived as well, and the veneer is easily recognized. Other cultures have a lower tolerance for unbridled optimism, and too much can be an absolute negative. This topic came up today, led by two executives from France. They too valued the power of optimism. But whereas the expectation for leadership optimism in the USA might be 10 (on a scale of 1-10), in France the expectation for leadership optimism might only be a 5. Any more than that might be “too much.” In the USA, anything less than a 10 might be “not nearly enough.”

So many aspects of effective business communication are situational, and “know your audience” comes up again and again and again. Culture, gender, generation, and work environment (among other things) all impact the tone of the required communication.

Every workshop we teach is an education… for us, as well as our clients. Not a day goes by where I don’t learn something from the people we work with.

Never forget the importance of situational communication. One size does not EVER fit all, when it comes to your business communication. And no matter where you come from or where you work, there is almost always room for a decent amount of optimism.

Good luck!

At The Latimer Group, our individual Coaching services are highly customized and designed to help you achieve your specific goals. Typical engagements focus on developing skill sets in Leadership Communications, Public Speaking, and Executive-Level Business Presentations. To learn more, e-mail us at

Photo by Joerl van Veen used under the following license.


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Dean Brenner

A book about change

The Latimer Group’s CEO Dean Brenner is a noted keynote speaker and author on the subject of persuasive communication. He has written three books, including Persuaded, in which he details how communication can transform organizations into highly effective, creative, transparent environments that succeed at every level.