Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Emotion Reverse Engineering - Azara Feroz Sayed

Emotional Intelligence, Empathy are being used increasingly to perceive, assess, and manage self emotions and emotions of others. For some reasons, I wasn't introduced to Emotional Intelligence, as an area of pyschological research, till Feroz took it up as his research.

I liked the idea of Emotion Reverse Engineering that the article (http://www.cnn.com/2008/LIVING/personal/02/13/o.have.a.heart/index.html - refer section Exercise Two) mentions.

To assess emotions of others, by imitating the other person's communication (body language, tone, words).

We know, Empathy is about being in other person's shoes - this technique is about using the other person's communication as a tool for being in the person's shoes.

Wouldn't it be good too - to try this in one of the sessions on Communication Skills or NLP or in our teams just for fun!! Can you see the traits of a wife of a corporate trainer here. Feroz does corporate training - Didn't I promise you will hear lot about Feroz!! To have a role play with two people using a pre-scripted talk on a topic. Each of the role player, gets their part of the script and emotional background for the role play. Having the audience replay the two people's communication and guess what their emotional backgroud was should be exciting and Fun!! Remember the Tigger!!. This would help us know the effectiveness of this technique and also a beautiful reminder - to keep Empathy alive in us!!

I tried the technique suggested by the below article. I added one more step, relating with my emotions - the other persons emotions that I am imitating. Trying to relate in the past when I experienced similar emotions. What was going on with me when I felt the same emotions. In my case it was easier to know the answer.

I would let you all try this and share your experience. Wouldn't the earth be a better place to live - even by a small atom of it - if we did this exercise - if not always - sometimes while we are looking for a break from our routine - wouldn't this help us manage our relationships better - what say?

Quote from the article
Some mechanical engineers spend their time disassembling machines to see how they were originally put together. You can use a similar technique to develop empathy, by working backward from the observable effects of emotion to the emotion itself.

Think of someone you'd like to understand -- your enigmatic boss, your distant mother, the romantic interest who may or may not return your affections. Remember a recent interaction you had with this person -- especially one that left you baffled as to how they were really feeling.

Now imitate, as closely as you can, the physical posture, facial expression, exact words, and vocal inflection they used during that encounter. Notice what emotions arise within you. What you feel will probably be very close to whatever the other person was going through. For example, when I "reverse engineer" the behavior of people I experience as critical or aloof, I usually find myself flooded with feelings of shyness, shame, or fear. It's a lesson that has saved me no end of worry and defensiveness.

I train life coaches to use reverse engineering in real time by subtly matching clients' body language, vocal tone, even breathing rate. It's so effective that clients often think the coach must be psychic -- how else could anyone "get them" so quickly and completely? Elementary, my dear Watson. The body shapes itself in response to emotion, and shaping one's own body to match someone else's is a quick ticket to empathy.


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