One of the biggest influences on the success of a conversation is the mindset that you bring into it. People can immediately tell what attitude that we bring into the room with us. In systems coaching, we call it creating the Emotional Field. When you are talking to someone, there is always an atmosphere or container that surrounds the conversation. Our greatest success will come with intentionally creating an Emotional Field that supports the topic and people involved.
The Emotional Field is created by the feelings and intentions that you bring into the conversation. For example, when I am facilitating a workshop in-person, I intentionally bring in some fun and curiosity. Light-hearted learning is easier and more enjoyable. Also, I want to make sure that I am willing to learn from the participants. If I’m not willing to learn from them, then they will likely not be willing to learn from me.
I also intentionally bring in the intention to be flexible and spontaneous. If the group begins to talk about something a bit off-topic that interests them, then I will follow that discussion. I’m willing to follow the group’s lead for a while.
A different facilitator might come in with seriousness and an intention to cover the material strictly as outlined. Participants’ experiences with that facilitator are going to be completely different than their experiences with me — even if we both use the exact same outline. We influence the experience and the outcome with the Emotional Field that we create.
I really can’t overstate the power of intentionally creating an atmosphere for a conversation. Let’s say that I’m going into a coaching situation in a workplace. I know that the person I’m going to talk with really does not receive feedback well. I am going to take their resistance to feedback into account and make sure that I bring some patience and understanding into the discussion. I want to create an Emotional Field that will help the employee hear the feedback and not feel threatened. If I come in with an adversarial attitude or a “let’s get this over with” mentality, I am not supporting a positive outcome for that conversation.
In most conversations, it’s useful to be willing to hear and consider different views and perspectives — bringing open-mindedness into the Emotional Field. Being defensive or combative rarely leads to a positive outcome. It’s important to remember that listening for understanding does not require us to then agree.
Likewise, different situations generally call for different mindsets. If you want romance, go with soft music, lighting, and tone of voice. If you want to party, play loud music and have high energy. Your chance of getting the outcome that you want is greatly increased if you bring in the appropriate qualities that fit the message and the outcome that you’re trying to get.
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