This method invites people to notice and identify their emotions around a specific topic. By having another person act out the emotion it becomes exter- nalized and knowable, creating mental space for collaboration and innovation
Participants work in pairs, acting out and mirroring specific emotions linked to a sustainability issue. The first person identifies an emotion that they are feeling and the second person acts it out. Seeing someone else perform the emotion can help externalize it. As “Emotional Agility” author David (2016) points out: “Dealing effectively with emotions is a key leadership skill. And naming our emotions — what psychologists call labeling — is an important first step in dealing with them effectively. But it’s harder than it sounds; many of us struggle to identify what exactly we are feeling, and often times the most obvious label isn’t actually the most accurate”.
Variation: If participants are comfortable with acting a little more “out of the box”, people can form triads, and the third person can make a sound that represents the emotion, following the same process.
A list of emotions is useful. For an example, see David (2016) in resources.
This exercise was shared with us by Mary Ann Gallagher of ParCenTra and is informed by the work of Susan David.
Managing yourself: David & Congleton (2013). Emotional Agility (In Harvard Business Review)
Communication: David (2016). 3 Ways to Better Understand Your Emotions (In Harvard Business Review)
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