Emotional & Conversational AgilityMay 26, 2020
Last Thursday, I delivered a very important internal webinar for a new client. One hundred of the most senior leaders were in the virtual room. I was talking about Emotional Agility and Conversational Intelligence as a way of gaining personal resilience. I was prepared and pumped up to deliver a talk for the ages. Midway into the session at the 54th minute, I got a message from the organizer and was informed that I was being asked to stop and close. The leader of the team did not like my talk. I was asked to stop and leave the virtual room. I noticed a flood of emotion inside me—shock, confusion, disappointment, anger, frustration, and sadness.
After fifteen minutes of practicing my own internal process of down-regulation (what I was supposed to teach that day), I realized, I was starting to see the upsides of what just happened to me. I observed that I was starting to smile. Immediately, I engaged my wife and sons in a conversation about what just happened. I am blessed to have these people around me since not only did they comfort me, but they also engaged me in productive and intelligent post-mortem. Despite the extremely unpleasant setback, I was able to practice what I preach and gain back agency. I hope this does not sound disrespectful to the audience that I disappointed, but that harsh feedback was the best thing that could have possibly happened to me at this point in time. (Can you imagine the quality of experience that all future audiences will have from this “upgraded” version of me?) I requested from the organizers a copy of the recording so I could watch myself and make the important changes and tweaks that would benefit my future webinar audience.
As I played the recording, I felt nauseous and observed that I was getting a sinking feeling. I paused the video and closed my laptop; I could not watch myself. In Emotional Agility and Conversational Intelligence, we are taught how to Show Up! To reframe, refocus, and redirect when we encounter adversity and fear. Boy, how I really understood what that meant now. I realized how critical that was to the process of resilience. It was vital that I watch my failed show and learn from it. And without any drama, I watched the video again. I was not that bad, but I was not that great either. I discovered some important technical flaws in how I delivered. I eventually saw more areas for improvement. A dozen, in fact. I am adding these learnings to the material I now am constantly innovating as I teach leaders to connect effectively and authentically to their teams amidst the new ways of working online. I am sharing this with all of you, especially all my friends and colleagues around the world not to vent, but to be a testimony to Emotional & Conversational Agility–THEY WORK!
We have the power to choose how we respond to life and our experience, and it is in this power that we can determine the quality of the future experience. I choose to grow and learn and enrich others better!
P.S. I delivered a similar subject matter yesterday, to a smaller group with contrasting demographics. I tweaked my delivery based on what I learned. The feedback I received was awesome and full of love! A huge shout out to my wife and sons, my peers and coaches! All of you made my transition faster and richer. SALAMAT!