Calming Presence
  • Maintaining proper composure and perspective, even when the stakes are high
  • Offering a steady and consistent approach in the midst of stressful circumstances
  • Reducing the stress in others while staying collected, despite external agitation


This is Peppermint.


Peppermint is the dog that lives in my house. In this picture, Peppermint is laying on top of a table. (Something she is not supposed to do.) Peppermint is the first dog that I have ever lived with. One thing that I have learned living with her is that tone of voice really impacts how she responds. Because she doesn’t understand English (as far as I can tell), how I say things to her makes much more of an impact than what I say. 9 times out of 10, my tone of voice is going to be the deciding factor as to what Peppermint does (or doesn’t) do.


Sometimes I have to give information that is “bad news.” Or I have to tell someone feedback about poor outcomes/poor performance. Here are two questions that I ask myself when I am communicating with someone:

  • What is the core message that I need to convey?
  • How can I give that message the best chance of being heard and communicated effectively?

When having difficult conversations, it has been my experience that maintaining a calm demeanor almost always increases the chances that the information I need to share will be heard. Yelling, panicking, cursing and/or falling apart usually doesn’t increase the odds of getting the message across.


Back to my dog, Peppermint. Because she doesn’t speak my language, it’s easy to see how important it is to use the proper tone. The same holds true for all of my communications. Of course, most of the time I am talking with humans, and English-speaking humans at that! Nevertheless, the tone I use will impact their ability to reason what I am communicating to them. And, ultimately, my tone will impact their response.

Keep calm.


Key words and phrases

Steady and collected; Not agitated or disturbed; Steadiness of mind under stress; Composed; Peaceful; Cause to be calm; Collected; Abate stress

Opposite terms

Agitation; Commotion; Disturb; Stir up


GuideMarks – Distinguishing Characteristics of FFL E-rate Guides

Copyright © 2012 Funds For Learning, LLC. About the Funds For Learning GuideMarks.

Previous GuideMarks