Exaggerate or Shrink
There's two things to do once you identify a thing that you want to address. You can either identify a behavior, like, for example, the one with this gentleman I mentioned, who is super friendly and talks a lot at the beginning of the meetings. I can choose to exaggerate that behavior, or I can choose to shrink that behavior. Now, all of these are super outside in. Meaning that I'm gonna have them do something, and then I'm gonna have them talk about what their experience is of it, and how it may have shift them internally. Because learning takes place in the body, we have to have them move differently to see themselves differently, and to experience themselves differently. So, I'm gonna have them exaggerate or shrink a particular behavior, in that case, I had him shrink it by saying, you don't get more than three sentences. In some cases, I would ask an example of exaggerating that behavior would be to say, great, now I want you to open this up as super friendly and exaggerated, you'r...
e smiling all the time, and it's just like, we've just come into your home for the favorite annual party you host every year. And then I'm gonna see if his version of an exaggeration was even very much more exaggerated than the one he started with. (laughs) And we're gonna have that conversation. See that? Sometimes, and I work with a lot of folks and see them giving feedback and suggestions on what to do that are too often a sprint to squelch a behavior, or make it small, or eradicate it, and sometimes a stronger awareness about the influence of that behavior on your overall presence, and your overall, sort of sense of yourself in the room, is more quickly, you can get to it more quickly, if you have them actually exaggerate it, instead of the other way around. I'd like you to just say out loud to me some things that you see in your work that your potential clients, whether they're peers or not, do that show up as, hard to take, or, yeah, like that. I mean, you prep folks all the time to do, what are some of the stuff that you have to end up coaching on all the time?
So I notice there's a lot of frustration and anger, which is why they're talking about these topics, and so it kind of gets in the way of the clarity of the message.
Like the moderator, so you prep moderators to have Q&A sessions, or to interview folks, right?
[Woman In Audience} Yes.
And their own frustration around the particular area or topic shows up in the way they interview?
Right, yeah. Because it's all in one sort of one related topic, so.
Uh huh, right. So, can you say more about that? How does that actually show up?
[Woman In Audience] Like health and environment. So they're very frustrated on lots of topics that go around health and environment.
So that's content, but what are the things that they do that, when you're watching it, you're just going oh, gosh. And you're cringing.
So they lead with so much emotion, that I feel like the question and the content kind of gets lost in their frustration.
Right, so the way they're showing up is louder than the content they're actually trying to bring forward.
[Woman In Audience] Sometimes, yeah.
Okay, that's cool. Anybody else? Yeah, right here.
I have kind of a similar example. And, side note, this isn't someone I coach, or will be coaching, I haven't had the opportunity to. But, the person was sharing strategic vision with a large department, so, quite a big audience, about 150, and, spent time, a good one to two minutes talking about how frustrated they were with the slide, verses just getting into it, and just a lot of mumbling under the breath, and like, a lot of nervousness was coming through, and it was just like. (breathes in)
Okay, like talking about what's going on, instead of just being in it?
When I work with some of my clients, I work with women who when they're talking, they do a lot of justs, and I think, and so they're minimizing themselves, so sometimes I'll coach them to show up in a more powerful way, in a very male-dominated workspace.
Mm-hmm, yeah, so, language inside of the content then undermines their point of view? Yeah, that's very interesting, and, so that's a great example of a thing that I would like, when you're gonna ask somebody to either exaggerate or shrink those kinds of, almost unconscious tics, awareness is everything. You're gonna ask your client in that moment, the intervention could be as simple, as simple as, listen for every time you say "just." Just listen. You don't have to count it. It doesn't help me as a client to have you count how many times I say "just," because then I'm not actually growing my awareness, I'm not actually embodying it, I'm outsourcing that awareness to you. And that's not actually helpful to me. So, you're going to ask me to just simply be aware of how many times I say "just," or "um," or "kinda," or any of those things, right. Now, in the class called Communicate Like A Boss, we'll talk a little bit about how simple things like that, although it feels very tactical can have a profound change in how someone is embodied in what they're saying. Like, actually present to what they're saying. It's not just about eradicating that behavior. It's present to what I'm doing and saying and being. Presence is everything. So, really really good. All these examples are totally true, and these are the kinds of things that you're going to end up coaching to. So, for this example of somebody being an interviewer on a particular subject matter, unpacking how do they get to show up as a facilitator of the conversation, not as an opinion maker, is a great conversation to have a coaching around. And then, also, what is the structure of the content, how do they actually pose their questions that help them do that, that help them take a backseat to the conversation, because they're there to facilitate one, not be in one. Yeah. This issue of talking about what's going on, instead of being present to the room, great thing to play with. Really good. So, we're gonna exaggerate or shrink that behavior. In this case, here are three really super common things that we see, whether I'm coaching somebody who's giving a pitch, or I'm working with someone who is having a crucial communications moment. This last year I worked with a woman who had to give some sort of a story, and a recommendation to a government body about how to use a big budget in journalism, and it was a big coming out moment for her as a thought leader in the area of journalism and technology, and we played mostly with the space in the middle, I think. The rushing is a thing that happens, you see it all the time. Rambling is a thing that you've probably seen me do 20 times so far today. (audience laughs) And lastly, apathy. This is where I get a call that says, I have somebody you need to come work with, because he's just, he or she is monotone, or, it's hard to listen for 40 minutes, because it all sounds the same, or there's not an enthusiasm there that keeps an audience. This is how it usually comes to me. I'd like you to come work with somebody who has a hard time keeping the room engaged. That just means he or she is apathetic in their affect as they present. So, I'm gonna take all three of these, and play with them, either from an exaggeration, or a shrinking approach. Either using frustration to design the intervention, or I'm gonna use support. So for rushing, I might ask somebody, I might record them for just a minute talking normally, and then I might stop and review it with them, and they'll notice how fast they talk. And then we'll record it again, and I'll say, this time, I'd like you to talk as fast as you possibly can. (audience laughs) Yeah. And then when we're done recording that, we'll look at it again, and notice how not different it was than the first time. I mean, in an ideal scenario, right. And then, after we've had a chance to exaggerate that behavior, then we'll go back and say, now, what happens if you speak painfully slow? What feels painfully slow to you, may actually feel to us, just like, ahhh. And we'll record that. And we'll look at it again, and they'll see the difference and recognize when they feel too slow for us it is perfect. So we can't actually start to get calibrated to the idea that can't actually use their own experience as a truth of what's going on. Right? The other thing that you'll find, the bigger conversation to have is, once you've gotten a delivery, like an empowered and an embodied delivery that you like, is what does that open up for your client? If I'm working with somebody who's rushing, and they finally get to go really slow, I'm gonna have the conversation with them around, what do you get when you go slow? What do you get when you go slow? Oh, I get time to think. I choose my words more carefully. I feel like twice my own physical size. And I hear this a lot, that I feel big, like I'm taking up lots of room. I say what I actually mean, and I only say it once. And that is where the power comes from. That's where people go from, out of body, to really holding onto presence when they're ready to speak in front of others. So, that's a place where I would exaggerate a behavior, and then shrink it. With your folks, I would say, great, now do this interview, let's just role play a little bit. Do this interview like you are so mad. Like, make sure everybody knows, by your tone, what your point of view is. Great. Now let's try it the other way. What happens now if you play the role of the guarded thoughtful interviewer, who is just full of presence, very astute, and in the background, but, everyone knows they're there. What would that person do? And then, see what that feels like. Yeah. Rambling. I mentioned earlier about this idea of over-talking something, you can ask them to reduce any idea that they wanna share, into three sentences. That's a great one to do. I'm gonna shrink that behavior, not exaggerate it, and then I'm gonna ask the question, what does that do for you when you only get three sentences? Apathy, oops, I didn't mean to go forward. Apathy, as well, this is one of my favorites. So I'll ask somebody if they are just a very monotone, monotone deliverer, straight off the bat, I'm gonna ask them to act out the heretic in their talk. I'm gonna ask them to be super exaggerated. I'm gonna ask them to go completely nuts on what they're talking about, in a way that feels so exaggerated and out there for them, that they're gonna barely be able to tolerate themselves. And then I'm gonna capture it on a recording device, I'm gonna show it back to them, and they're gonna be shocked at how normal it looks. (audience laughs) And then I'm gonna unpack for them, great, so what does it give you when you get to really kind of go there? Yeah. At the same time, I'll ask somebody who is already apathetic, or monotone, to stay as monotone as they possibly can. And then get the before and after, and they'll realize it's just two befores. And then ask when you're flatline, is this what you want? Is this what you want to show? How does that square itself with what you said you wanted at the beginning of our coaching? So, that's where establishing the field is super important, because then when you start to play around with exaggerating a behavior that you don't like, or shrinking a behavior that's not working for them, you can hold them accountable by reminding them what they wanted at the beginning of the coaching. Because it's gonna feel weird.