Putting theory into practice for more effective learning
Throwing our participants in at the deep end, is how we open our Communicating Compelling Messages workshop. They are invited to speak, unprepared, in front of their peers. The group, and the facilitator, respond with immediate feedback.
Despite some nerves and protestations, most participants agree this experience is hugely valuable. Rather than talk about what makes a compelling (or not) communicator, they experience it.
In this month’s blog, Creative Coaching’s programme director Melissa Mehta, explores why this type of experience is particularly effective for developing human skills in the senior leaders with whom we work.
“The only way to learn is to live” is the key message from Matt Haig’s exceptional book The Midnight Library. The protagonist, Nora Seed, explores alternative futures by going back in time to make ‘better’ decisions, with the hope of improving her life story. The outcomes are not what she anticipates.
For those of us who like to think our way through life, with a preference for working everything out before dipping a toe in the water, it’s a valuable lesson.
We work with senior and experienced leaders. They are (often) hired for their big brains, and their ability to assimilate and analyse information. Relying on their mental capacity and intellect is natural for them. Many want to think themselves better at human skills such as communication and leadership. This can be to the detriment of their development (not to mention their heart, soul and gut).
We encourage them to notice what’s going in their bodies, below the neck, as well as above. They discover their value transcends the contents of their heads, and by connecting with their whole selves they become more compelling. This is why experiential learning is so powerful!
Communicating anything - even the most valuable, technical insights - is more persuasive once we understand that we’re more than a brain transferring data to another brain. Once we experience this vital, emotional component of communication, in our bodies, we can better harness these human skills.
By engaging in and reflecting on visceral communication experiences, participants in our workshop see things (of themselves and in others) they cannot unsee:
· Our body language and tone of voice can drown out the words we say.
· How we mentally rank ourselves in the pecking order effects how others hear us.
· If we gather our facts into a well-structured story, we can effect more change.
· How we listen has an impact on how compelling (or not) we are as leaders.
The impact of the workshop is transformational. And while some of the skills need practice, the fundamental shifts in perception around communication are a natural side effect of experiencing the workshop. There’s no need to practise that.
What’s your learning edge at the moment? How much time are you spending working it out, reading books, discussing it with people? And to what degree are you learning by doing?
Posted on Sun, April 23, 2023 in General Leadership Personal Development
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