Archive for September, 2010

Conversational Aikido

Monday, September 6th, 2010

Michelle LaBrosse, PMP

As every project manager knows, communication is 99.995% of the job of a project manager.  Good conversational skills can also build better relationships – in both the personal and the professional parts of life.   I have been facilitating a mastermind group for the past two months.  One of the participants wanted me to teach the group active listening skills as she was not feeling “heard.”   I “heard” something a bit different though – LOL.

Over the past six months I have been studying how your emotions play themselves out in your body.   Your emotions start in your body – originating from the limbic part of your brain.   And THEN your higher level brain labels them.   HOWEVER, even if you try to hide your emotions, your body is still playing out their scripts.   And we all can read this whether the person is articulating it or not.   Say for example I am annoyed at you – but I don’t articulate it and instead try to smooth things out.   Your body will sense and intuit that I am in fact annoyed with you and will act accordingly.  Depending on how you see yourself with respect to me, your body will respond differently.   You might respond in your body by being annoyed back if you feel I have no right to be annoyed at you.  Or you might respond by being amused if you feel more powerful than me.  Or you might feel scared if you feel I am somehow more powerful than you.  Or you could be curious why I feel that way if you are living confident and comfortable in your own power.

I find the best way to build rapport is by the last feeling – one of openness and curiosity.   No matter what someone else is feeling, I have found that relaxing into my power enables me to interact with them from a place of compassion and caring.   I call this compassionate engagement.  The majority of people have positive intentions (as do I).   And it is in recognizing my own positive intentions, and operating from that perspective that I can create more positive interactions.   It also helps me to practice some of the skills that we teach in the Cheetah Communicating through Conflict and Negotiations courses as well.   The two skills that I use from these two course for Conversational Aikido are to state observable facts – this releases you from having to make judgements about people’s behaviors.  And to ask permission based questions – which stimulates buy in to a dialog.

Conversational Aikido - Harmonizing Relationships One Emotion At a Time

Conversational Aikido - Harmonizing Relationships One Emotion At a Time