This week’s Wednesday Wisdom is an excerpt from Tim Elmore’s email blog and my own thoughts about how we can be Thermometers or Thermostats….

A Thermometer tells you what the temperature is. A Thermostat sets the temperature.

Inside every thermostat is a thermometer. The thermometer is a smart device that diagnoses the current temperature. When a user sets the thermostat to a certain temperature, that internal thermometer registers whether to heat or cool the room.

We have the ability to be a thermometer or a thermostat – we can be a person who reflects the temperature of the room or a person who sets the temperature of the room.

However, it all starts with knowing the temperature. You have to know the temperature of the room before you can set the thermostat warmer or cooler – you wouldn’t want to make a room that was already 50 degrees colder any more than you would want to make a room that was 100 degrees warmer.

The lesson from this? Before you try to influence a group of people, get the temperature of the room and the people you are surrounded by. Read the room before you lead the room.

We often have a rehearsed script or prepared dialogue so ready to go…that we fail to read the room. We get asked a question and go right into our practiced response and we fail to recognize that what we are saying is having the opposite effect we intended. We’re heating up an already hot room – or cooling off an already cool room.

This week, let’s practice “reading the room before we lead the room.” Before speaking or taking action…stop and observe the temperature – is it cool and needs to be heated up? Or, is it hot and needs a calming presence? Or, is the temperature just right and no adjustment is needed? Then, set or reflect the temperature in your speech and actions.