I’m attending a three day course called Emotional Skills and Competencies. It’s run by DPG Plc, whom I came into contact with via Mr Mike Collins whom I met at the first L&D Connect unconference. This is my how I’ve found day one.
The course focuses on helping you to understand emotions in you and others. It is completely built on the work by Dr Paul Ekman. Followers of this blog will know I hold Dr Ekman in high regard in the field of psychology, body language and insight into human behaviours. That, for me, automatically puts this course a par above anything on emotional intelligence that is in the open market.
Essentially, Dr Ekman has provided us over 40 years of research and development into what emotions humans feel, how they are displayed facially and physiologically, and what process we automatically goes through whenever we feel an emotion. Dr Ekman has found there are seven universally recognised emotions – sadness, surprise, contempt, happy, anger, fear and disgust. When we feel one of these, there are distinct facial and physiological reactions that accompany each one. We’re hard wired to react in these ways, and we can’t escape it.
It’s been useful to spend today understanding these emotions, and how there are other descriptors which we may associate with each emotion. For example, With ‘fear’ we may also feel anxiety or apprehension, with ‘sadness’ we may feel gloomy or despair. Through understanding the emotions we are able to increase our self awareness, and recognise the ‘spark before the flash’.
We’re starting to learn that when working with others, before you can start to ‘read’ them using these techniques, you have to create a base line from which you understand what is ‘normal’ for that person. From that point, once you start to observe reactions from them, you are able to determine what change that person is going through, and how you should best respond to them. Ultimately, what this course is trying to help us to achieve is how to have more productive and constructive relationships.
As we’ve been going through the course, two things come to mind. This is a must attend course for anyone who deals with other people on a regular basis. Learning about emotional competencies in this way is a sure fire way of helping everyone to understand how to recognise emotional reactions they are feeling, others are feeling and therefore how to work better with others. This isn’t restricted to HR, L&D, OD, Coaching professionals. This is anyone in the business world who regularly has to present, influence, facilitate or lead others.
The second thing is this is proper learning and development. We’re getting first class training from Phil Willcox and Aaron Garner, who have been trained by Paul Ekman International. Where discussions are meandering into other realms of hearsay and myths, we’re being given quite clear guidance on what scientific research has proven and what it hasn’t.