Trina was telling me a story, explaining what she believed to be true for her. Her words were relatively confident, and yet as I listened a lump developed in my throat that I couldn’t identify. Rather than ignore it, I explained to Trina what was happening with me, and that I was curious about why. Trina went pale and then blurted ‘so have I and it’s because …’
My observation had made her consciously aware of what was going on for her. This gave her access to her real feelings and a deeper version of the truth that better served her.
I’m sure you can see that as a coach working one on one, or as a facilitator managing the energy of the group, being in touch with my audience is critical. This is also a vital skill for a leader.
In Gestalt thinking, this is refined to us ‘using your body as a communication instrument’. How often do you do this? Do you really know how?
Here are 7 steps to help you use your body as an antenna to create transformational interactions:
1. Notice your own emotional state before you begin. If you don’t know what is going on for you, how will you know what’s your stuff and what’s theirs?
2. Be present in this communication experience. Bring all of yourself and all of your awareness to right now.
3. Be curious about what’s going on in addition to the ‘words’ of the conversation.
4. Offer observation without attachment. ‘As you speak I feel my throat consticting and I am curious as to why.’ ‘I notice every time you mention the project analysis your voice quavers, and I wonder what that might mean.’
5. Resist the urge to fill the space. Author Susan Scott (‘Fierce conversations’) advices ‘Let the silence do the heavy lifting’.
6. Listen and engage in the response.
7. Let go lightly if your reflection doesn’t assist the other person.
How could your conversations be richer and your leadership more transformational by using your body as a communication instrument?
Try it out. I would be delighted to hear your experiences. Leave a comment below.
Have an Extraordinary day