Why does the client peer over her reading glasses when talking with you? Why does the Ph.D. want to be called “doctor”? Why are people more aggressive when using email than when talking with you face-to-face?
Psychologist Perry Buffington said such behavior is a “mask” effect. When people hide behind their masks, whether it’s their desk, glasses, title, or email, they are less compassionate and more likely to harm others. You’re an object to them and they can remain separate from you.
If you want to “connect” with others, go face-to-face. Be on a first name basis. Get out from behind your desk.
Learn a trick from great speakers: Shed the lectern when giving a presentation. Remove the “shield” between you and the audience. Show them you have no fear. You’ll earn their respect and be seen as being more open and honest.