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Podcast Episode 083: The secrets of listening for emotions in the workplace

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Marc Brackett is the Founder and Director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence  a Professor in the Child Study Center of Yale University.  

He is the lead developer of RULER, an evidence-based approach to social and emotional learning that has been adopted by nearly 2,000 pre-K through high schools across the United States and in other countries.  He is developed a companion application called Mood Meter which I’ve been using since preparing for this interview.

As a researcher for over 20 years, Marc has focused on the role of emotions and emotional intelligence in learning, decision making, creativity, relationships, health, and performance. He has published 125 scholarly articles and received numerous awards.  

Most recently he published Permission to Feel: Unlocking the Power of Emotions to Help Our Kids, Ourselves, and Our Society Thrive. 

Marc mission is to educate the world about the value of emotions and the skills associated with using them wisely. “I want everyone to become an emotion scientist”, he says. “We need to be curious explorers of our own and others’ emotions so they can help us achieve our goals and improve our lives.” and then they are carefully listening to then support people in understanding what they might be feeling based on what the speaker shared.

Listening for emotions is more important than ever, I am consistently encouraging the leaders I am working with to check-in with their teams with unscheduled phone calls as well as during the team meetings .

Transcript

Podcast Episode 083 – The secrets of listening for emotions in the workplace

Marc Brackett: 

I don’t like the listener to label. I like the listener to help the speaker be reflective, to discover how they’re actually feeling. Now that for young children may take building their emotional vocabulary, but that means that you have to really understand the definitions of emotions. Because parents get it wrong all the time like, why are you so angry? Well, I’m actually disappointed, right? Anger is about injustice, disappointment is about unmet expectations. Why are you so stressed out all the time? Well, actually I’m not stressed out, I’m anxious because I have no clue about what I’m getting myself into. 

Marc Brackett: 

They’re very different. Being stressed out is when you have too many demands and not enough resources. Anxiety is about uncertainty about the future. So here’s the only way I’ll be happy, if the listener labels, is if they become astute emotion scientists who really understand emotions and language, and then they are carefully listening to then support people in understanding what they might be feeling based on what the speaker shared. 

Oscar Trimboli: 

Deep Listening: Impact Beyond Words. Hi, I’m Oscar Trimboli, and this is the Apple award-winning podcast, Deep Listening, designed to move you from a distracted listener to a deep and impactful leader. Did you know you spend 55% of your day listening, yet only 2% of people have ever been taught how? In each episode, we explore the five levels of listening. Communication is 50% speaking and 50% listening, yet as a leader, you’re taught only the importance of communication from the perspective of how to speak. It’s critical you start to build some muscles for the next phase in how to listen. The cost of not listening it’s confusion, it’s conflict, it’s projects running over schedule, it’s lost customers. Its great employees that leave before they want to. When you implement the strategies, the tips and tactics that you’ll hear, you’ll get four hours a week back in your schedule. I wonder what you could do with an extra four hours a week. 

Oscar Trimboli: 

Mack Brackett is the Founder and Director of the Yale Centre for Emotional Intelligence and professor in the Child Study Centre at Yale University. He’s the lead developer of RULER, an evidence-based approach to social and emotional learning that has been adopted by nearly 2,000 schools across the United States and many other countries including, Australia. He’s developed a companion application called Mood Metre, which I’ve been using since preparing for this interview. It’s a great tool to help you create a language around listening for emotion. 

Oscar Trimboli: 

As a researcher for nearly 20 years, Marc has focused on the role of emotion and emotional intelligence in learning, decision-making, creativity, health, and performance. With over 125 scholarly articles published, they’ve won numerous awards. Recently, he’s published the book, Permission to Feel: Unlocking the Power of Emotions to Help Our Kids, Ourselves, and our Society Thrive. Marc’s on a mission to educate the world about the value of emotions and the skill associated in using them wisely. Marc says, “I want everybody to become an emotion scientist.” Let’s listen to Marc as he explains the role and the impact you can have when you help the speaker listen for their own emotions. Let’s listen to Marc. 

Oscar Trimboli: 

I’m curious what frustrates you when other people don’t listen to you. 

Marc Brackett: 

I think what frustrates me is that I am someone who has a lot of attention problems. I get bored really fast in meetings. My brain typically is like in three meetings ahead of the meeting I’m in right then and there. And so I think it’s like, what frustrates me is something a little strange is that I see myself in, I just see myself as that person. And then I go through a weird psychology, well, it’s okay when I do it, but it’s not okay when everybody else does it, which is probably not very healthy. 

Oscar Trimboli: 

What do you say the cost of not listening in those environments? 

Marc Brackett: 

You know, many years ago, I have a mentor who is a well-known investment banker. He has helped me to build our centre. He’s helped me with my career. And he told me in a meeting years ago, “You know, the person who is leading is listening and not talking.” And that image of him saying that to me, pops up in my head all the time. It just like all the time, because I, as a professor, you’re in the position of knower and I really have to catch myself, especially with my students or my researchers not being in the knower mode and just letting other people shine, letting other people tell their stories, letting other people share what they know. The non-listener is actually not leading. 

Marc Brackett: 

I’ve worked with a lot of anxious people. I’m one of those people. So sometimes you get caught up in that piece of it. Sometime it’s insecurity, when you feel inferior and you want to prove yourself and you just keep talking and talking and talking to try to prove your point. I did that a lot early in my career. It’s challenging to be with people who are always on and who are not reflective. Listening puts you in a place of reflection where you can process information. So for me, when I think about this, the leader is a listener, not the knower, it’s that when I’m working with people and I’m at a meeting and everyone, I give everyone else the opportunity to share their thoughts and feelings. It gives me the opportunity to synthesise, to make meaning out of the experiences. 

Oscar Trimboli: 

Talk us through the role of synthesis and meaning making. 

Marc Brackett: 

I’m co-creating something and I need to say just something because like people that co-creating it with might listen, no pun intended. And everybody’s a knower. And so everybody wants their idea, everybody wants their process, everybody wants their creativity to be the thing. And it’s hard to be around that all the time. And I think it’s sometimes easier, right, if you take a step back and you just say, you know what, I’d love to hear what everybody has to say, what are your thoughts? And everybody gets their ideas out. Then you as the leader, right, get to do that synthesis. And then you can say, well, here’s what I saw. Let’s put this together, let’s hear your idea here, let’s synthesise this, let’s put that together here. And then in many ways you get to be the person who in many ways gets the outcome that you want because you were listening and everyone was heard, which is a big deal. But yet people respect you as a leader. They feel included. 

Oscar Trimboli: 

Is that the outcome you want? Or is it the outcome that the group needs in that context? 

Marc Brackett: 

As a director of a Centre for Emotional Intelligence and as a creator, co-creator of an approach that’s in now thousands of schools across the world, many in Australia, and England, and Spain and Italy. Sometimes you have a vision and that’s okay, by the way, I think it’s important to be someone who has a vision and you can really see it, then you can feel it, but you’ve got a lot of people on your bus or on your boat that are co-creating that vision. But in the end, if it fails, guess what, it’s my reputation. I bring that up only because I think for certain tasks, it’s a group decision. And for other tasks, it’s the person whose vision it is, it’s very clear. And I think that’s really actually quite important in an organisation to create boundaries, to create expectations so that people feel heard, but they recognise that in the end, someone has to make the ultimate decision for certain things. 

Marc Brackett: 

We have something in our programme called an Emotional Intelligence Charter, which is about how people want to feel in the organisation. It’s an agreement or a credo. It’s not my job to be, to have the final word. That is the group’s job. The worst thing I could do is be like, no, we’re not going to feel that way. I want you to feel this way. Like that doesn’t make any sense. Things that are organisational or about culture, climate, or other things make sense. Everybody’s voice is included and heard and part of, and then other times, it’s about soliciting feedback on the idea that you have. Like writing my book, it’s my book, it’s not your book. So the book’s got to feel like it’s mine, right? Now I’m really open to feedback and I asked dozens of people to read every chapter, but in the end I made the final decision. So I listened, but then I synthesised to create what I think is the best product. 

Oscar Trimboli: 

In group workshops, in fact, this happened yesterday it was quite interesting. And this is a virtual session. We’ve got 30 people in there and a group of ideas were shared. And I said to the group, “Wow, there’s some really big ideas we haven’t heard from so far.” Now in my mind, I have no idea what the big ideas we haven’t heard from so far. And then the group kind of thinks a bit more and they go, “Oh yeah, we haven’t discussed this, this and this.” What do you think the role of listening to what’s not said in a group is, specifically as it comes to the role of the leader to curate that and extract that out? 

Marc Brackett: 

Well, it’s interesting because it’s one of my struggles as a leader of a research centre, because when someone presents, for example, like we have a guest speaker, I literally have 3,000 questions for them. And I’m like, what about this? And did you do this? And did you consider this? And the list goes on. Because I’m like, I love that aspect of taking what someone presents and applying it to my research or my experiences and asking questions to help clarify. And I oftentimes find my team and other groups, they’re quite reticent. And I think to myself, how is it possible that you don’t have questions for this person? I don’t get it. Were you listening? Are you processing? Are you trying to synthesise? I’ve struggled with that. And I would like to make it a requirement. To be a scientist or a research assistant in our centre, you’ve got to listen to someone’s presentation really carefully and come up with like three really good questions to help clarify a concept or consider its relevance for something else. 

Oscar Trimboli: 

Have you seen skillful leaders do that effectively where they’re deliberately, consciously, consistently extracting the views that aren’t heard in the room? 

Marc Brackett: 

It’s tricky these days, because you don’t want to put someone on the spot because some people, right, don’t necessarily want to share their perspective or they’re uncomfortable with that process or they need time to reflect. It’s just like in my relationship too, with my partner, like when we get into an argument, I’m like, “Let’s work this out now. I want to go to sleep at night. I want to dah, dah, dah.” And he’s very different. He is like, “I need to go for a walk for three hours and don’t even try texting me. I don’t want to talk to you.” And I’m like, “But why? Can’t we just solve it right now? Come on, come on, come on. I can’t sleep. I’m going to be worried about, you’re going to get hit by a car.” I feel like it’s important to respect people’s processing style. 

Oscar Trimboli: 

One of the things I’ve always done is get people to check into the room, whether that’s the virtual room or the physical room with how they’re feeling right now. Well, what have you noticed about the change in feelings when people are checking in right now and in group sessions that you might be part of? 

Marc Brackett: 

From my work, you really need to check in because emotions are the drivers of our attention, which is part of listening. If I don’t know how my group is feeling, I’m losing information in terms of, as a teacher, for example, if half my students come into my class, stressed out and overwhelmed and scared, I know as a researcher, how their brains are operating in that anxious state and it’s not in listening and learning mode, right? It’s in fight-flight-freeze-survival mode. And that’s an extreme example, which we’re experiencing right now. But even if it’s excitement, it’s not just negative emotions, by the way. 

Marc Brackett: 

You know, like when something like, I remember a teacher came up to me, she’s like, “I have this kid and his grandma picks up and he loves his grandma and he can’t stop talking about his grandma all day and it’s distracting. And everybody’s… I can’t get anything done because all he wants to do is talk about his grandmother.” It’s interesting because she was seeing it as a problem. And I said to this teacher, “Well, what’s a way that you can think of that he can just get the excitement out so that then he can go back to focusing and doing his work?” But that was an example of wanting to almost punish a child for experiencing excitement because it was seen as annoying. And so, we came up with ideas of like, he gets to do a little presentation about his grandma, and just allow that to come out. So that way maybe he can deactivate and be settled. 

Marc Brackett: 

But it works for all kinds of emotions, but everyone should be a curious emotion scientist as opposed to a critical emotion judge. And the emotion scientist is in learning mode, not in knower mode. The emotion scientist is open, not closed, curious, not critical. And I really try to work hard at that. It’s very hard for me because I’m a workaholic and I’m always stuck in my own ideas and want to be in creative mode, but about what I’m interested in. But I’ve learned that not only do I have better relationships when I’m that curious, compassionate emotion scientist, but I actually just feel better as a human being. 

Oscar Trimboli: 

I will now pose the question about how do people feel when they’re coming into the room and all [inaudible 00:16:05] how narrow the language set is. There’s so few words and yet the range of emotions that have been researched and documented are quite fast in contrast. In terms of a palette for speaking about emotions, what do you think is getting in people’s way? 

Marc Brackett: 

It’s knowledge, it’s experience, it’s culture, it’s upbringing. The title of my book is Permission to Feel. And I really don’t believe that in most cultures, in most families, in most schools, and in most workplaces that we give people the permission to feel, to be their full, true feeling selves. That we have to put on a face as a teacher, right? Everything’s fine, boys and girls, everything is fine. You can imagine a kindergarten teacher, right, not being that way? It’s almost like we’re so programmed to think of the happy-dappy kindergarten teacher. Meanwhile, inside she’s like crumbling from the divorce and her kids don’t talk to her anymore, but she’s like, “Good morning.” That discrepancy between the inner feeling life and that outward expression can be really damaging to your health and wellness. 

Marc Brackett: 

And I think for me as a kid, I was abused as a child by a neighbour, which was terrible and painful and scary, very young. And I was threatened that I could not express what’s happening to me and I didn’t. And so I was stuck with my shame and hatred and disgust and fear and lots of other feelings. I didn’t have language for it, but I felt it viscerally. And it certainly showed up in my behaviour somehow and other people didn’t notice that behaviour, or they noticed it and they didn’t know what to do about it, including my own parents. And I knew my parents love me, but here’s the problem. My parents had their own emotional challenges they were dealing with. 

Marc Brackett: 

So my mother had tremendous anxiety. She was in survival mode and my father had just a lot of anger and resentment. They’re in their own survival mode. How much energy do they have to like really look at my facial expression and my body language, really pause and ask those open-ended questions. You know, Hey honey, how’s it going? Or I’m noticing a shift in your facial expression today. What’s going on? Let’s talk about it. That takes a lot of skill as an adult who’s raising or teaching a kid. 

Marc Brackett: 

And I don’t think that we have not valued that in our education system. So no one knows it. There’s a difference. When I was being bullied as a middle school, and my mother would say, “Don’t worry, your mother loves you.” I’m like, okay, I’m going to tell the bully that my mother loves me. I don’t know, this doesn’t seem to be a skill or a strategy. And even as an adult, I’ve had a lot of therapy, but I didn’t learn skills. I didn’t really learn strategies until I was much older. I didn’t know what emotion management wasn’t until I was in graduate school. So we have not placed enough emphasis on the development of people’s emotional lives, period. 

Oscar Trimboli: 

You’ve developed two fairly of the frameworks to explain this. If you could outline both the RULER framework and the Mood Metre and how they’re connected. 

Marc Brackett: 

RULER is an acronym for the five skills of emotional intelligence. It starts with the first R, which is recognising emotion. How am I feeling? How are you feeling? What’s going on in my body? What’s going on in my brain? How am I appraising the world around me? And it’s the first signal that something has changed in your life and your environment. And in other people, we do this through observing their facial expressions, their body language, their vocal tone, their behaviour. Understanding emotion is about knowing what makes us have these feelings, like what’s the difference between an experience of anger or disappointment. Right now with everyone being so “stressed out,” like are you stressed out or are you anxious or are you overwhelmed or are you under too much pressure because there are differences. 

Marc Brackett: 

And that leads to labelling emotions. You know, if it’s anger, well, is it a little bit of anger? Are you peeved or irritated or are you limited or in rage? If you’re anxious, are you uncomfortable and nervous or are you having a panic attack? For the positive emotions, are you happy or elated, ecstatic, or just content, pleased, tranquil or serene? So RUL, a RULER are the three skills that I argue, help us to identify our inner life and other people’s emotions. You need all three skills. Like when you wake up in the morning, you’re kind of not like you don’t wake up saying, I feel elated, right? You wake up saying like, Ugh, I don’t want to get up today. Or you wake up saying like, today’s going to be a great day. 

Marc Brackett: 

And then you have to kind of go through a series of questions of listening to yourself, so what’s going on? Like, what am I so excited about? Oh, I’m excited that I’m getting to do this podcast with Oscar. All right. So what’s the word that describes that? Is it excitement or is it something else? Or if I wake up and I’m like, ugh, I don’t want to get out of bed. Like what’s going on? Is it my sleep? Or is it that I’m dreading a meeting that I have to go into? 

Marc Brackett: 

E and the R of RULER have to do with what we do with our feelings. So I have to decide, do I share my feelings with you, Oscar? Do I feel like I have the permission to be my true self with you and express, or am I going to put on the mask or suppress or deny? And there are so many rules around that in society, around gender identity, around race, around power, cultural differences. We really have to become serious scientists to get it right. And then the last skill of regulating emotion, which is the master skill. The one that everybody calls us up for and says, “Please teach me strategies.” Parents say, “Teach my kid how to regulate.” 

Marc Brackett: 

I actually have a background in the martial arts, I used to teach a martial art called Hapkido, and I would have these huge classes of kids and parents would drop them, ‘Teach my kid how to regulate and have discipline.” And I used to tell these parents like, “You teach them how to regulate. You teach them discipline, I’ll teach them karate. I only got them one hour a week. Like, what are you expecting here?” With that said, the martial arts taught me a tremendous amount about the skills of emotional intelligence, but that regulation skill of managing my own feelings as a parent, as a friend, as a professor, as a husband, and then helping other people co-regulate and manage their feelings. 

Marc Brackett: 

So that’s RULER. And I just want to say one thing about it, which is that a lot of people say, well, “So you’ve mastered the RULER skills, right?” And I’m like, “You never master these skills.” It’s very different. Emotional intelligence is a different beast than other kinds of cognitive knowledge because it’s relationship dependent, it’s sleep dependent. It’s food dependent, it’s exercise dependent. It’s what happens in life dependent. So it’s life’s work to develop these skills. So RULER represents five skills recognising one’s own and other’s emotions, understanding their causes and consequences, labelling them with precise words, knowing how and when to express them and having strategies to regulate them. 

Oscar Trimboli: 

I’m curious how RULER became Mood Metre. 

Marc Brackett: 

The Mood Metre is a tool to help develop the RULER skills. And so the Mood Metre is a research-based tool that says that how we feel at any given moment can be a product of two dimensions. We call it pleasantness. Technically it’s balanced. Are you highly pleasant or are you highly unpleasant or are you somewhere in the middle? It’s just basically an appraisal of your experience. Like, when I said earlier, when you wake up, do you feel like approaching the day or avoiding the day? When you walk into a room and you look at people’s facial expressions, you say, I want to be there, or like, I’m not welcome here. And then the y-axis is energy or activation or arousal. So are you fully activated? And whether it be jittery or super pumped, or are you depleted and tired and exhausted. 

Marc Brackett: 

And basically the Mood Metre takes these two axes and creates four quadrants. The yellow, high energy and pleasant. So that’s all the emotions like happiness and excitement and optimism and hope. The red unpleasant, but high energy, the anger and the anxiety family. The blue unpleasant, low energy that bottom left-hand corner down, disappointed, sad, lonely depressed. And then the green pleasant, but low energy emotions, like calm content, tranquil, relaxed, et cetera. 

Oscar Trimboli: 

And the last part of Mood Metre, which was curious for me was this is your current state, where would you like to go? Talk me through the importance of that. 

Marc Brackett: 

So one of the things that a lot of people get wrong with the Mood Metre is they think they’re done once they’ve plotted their feeling. It drives me out of my mind actually, like I’m in the yellow. I’m like, okay, fabulous. What’s next? Like, do you want to be there? Is that helpful for what you’re going to be doing right now? Or do you need to shift to a different quadrant? And so all of the RULER skills can be developed through using the Mood Metre. Right. The first is you wake up in the morning or it’s the middle of the day, you’re going to go into a meeting. You’re like, all right, where am I? And you get this visceral kind of psychological sense, I’m kind of in the blue. I’m kind of like, I don’t know. I’m not feeling that great in my body’s kind of low energy. Okay. That’s the R. 

Marc Brackett: 

Then it’s like, all right, so what’s going on? Oh, I didn’t get no sleep last night. Or I got some disappointing news this morning. So now understanding why I’m in the blue. And I’m realising that I’m feeling disappointed or just tired. And then I’m like, okay, so how you hold yourself? Now I got to pick up the call to call a client or to I got to get up and do a webinar. And so is that a good place to be for the webinar? Probably not. So what do I want to feel? Well, I promised to try to get into the yellow, at least for the opening so people think I’m interested and excited. What’s your strategy, Marc? 

Marc Brackett: 

And so that’s the regulation piece. That’s the how I want to express and regulate. So maybe it’s going for a quick walk outside, maybe it’s drugs, like a cup of coffee. Maybe it’s listening to some music. Maybe it’s calling a friend of mine and say, can you please cheer me up? There are endless strategies, but what’s most important to me is the process. 

Oscar Trimboli: 

Have you been to the Deep Listening Community Page? Visit oscartrimboli.com/community. One of the benefits of being a member of the community is that you get access to the podcast seven days before it’s released. It’s a benefit and we feel that people in the Deep Listening Community deserve. We also ask in the community, given the guests that are coming up, what questions would you ask the guest? It’s an opportunity for me to listen to you and for you to have your question answered by the guest. When I announced that Professor Marc Brackett was a guest, the group lit up with comments and questions, and this is the question the group came up with. 

Oscar Trimboli: 

The question our group has posed is, Marc, what are the questions I can effectively explore to listen for emotion? 

Marc Brackett: 

Well, I think this is one of the most important things in being a good leader, parent, teacher, we often misperceive behaviour for emotion. We often based on our own feelings, attribute emotions to people when we have no idea how they’re actually feeling. So the first listening is listen for your biases and listen for your own attribution’s, which is a different kind of listening I think. Then you can ask the questions before because you haven’t made the assumptions. And so it might be, Oscar, tell me, how’s it going? Or I’m just curious, how was your walk to school today? Or how are you feeling about that project? You know, you said you were angry, but I’m hearing a little disappointment of there. You had an expectation that wasn’t met. Tell me more about that. What do you think it is? 

Marc Brackett: 

So it’s just asking more open-ended questions to gather data as an emotion scientist, so that then you help the person potentially accurately label their experience. Because I don’t believe that until you actually label it properly, that you can actually find the right strategy. 

Oscar Trimboli: 

Talk to me about the listener labelling the emotion versus the speaker labelling their own emotion. Is either productive? Is there risks in the listener labelling the emotion for the speaker or is that a helpful place for some people because they can’t label it? 

Marc Brackett: 

I don’t like the listener to label. I like the listener to help the speaker be reflective, to discover how they’re actually feeling. Now that for young children may take building their emotion to vocabulary, but that means that you have to really understand the definitions of emotions because parents get it wrong all the time. Like, why are you so angry? Well, I’m actually disappointed, right? Anger is about injustice. Disappointment is about unmet expectations. Why you’re so stressed out all the time? Well, actually I’m not stressed out. I’m anxious because I have no clue about what I’m getting myself into. 

Marc Brackett: 

They’re very different. Being stressed out is when you have too many demands and not enough resources. Anxiety is about uncertainty about the future. So here’s the only way I’ll be happy if the listener labels is if they become astute emotional scientists who really understand emotions and language, and then they are carefully listening to then support people in understanding what they might be feeling based on what the speaker shared. 

Oscar Trimboli: 

Yeah. And the prompt for that question was you in that project context, you actually put the labels on them. And I’m quite famous for saying labels are awesome on jars, but they’re not handy for people because it’s not- 

Marc Brackett: 

But they’re important for emotions. 

Oscar Trimboli: 

… Yeah. I guess the point I would make is the person as a whole, as opposed to the distinction about their emotion, because I have people walk into a room or, “Oscar, I’m always an introvert.” And I say, “Always?” I said, “In a room of accountants, I’m an extrovert yet in a room of actors, I’m an introvert. Talk me through what you mean by introvert.” And sometimes I worry that that labels unskillfully prescribed are counterproductive, I guess. 

Marc Brackett: 

With what you’re saying, I couldn’t agree more. It’s for a lot of reasons, right? One is it pigeonholes you into one thing, limits the way people might interact with you. Don’t call Oscar. He’s not going to want to go to the party. He’s an introvert. 

Oscar Trimboli: 

When you were talking about how do you feel about this project, and as the listener, you were labelling. 

Marc Brackett: 

So importantly, what I’m trying to do if I don’t think that you are clear about how you’re feeling is I offer you labels. I don’t label for you. I say it sounds like you might be disappointed because, does that make sense? That’s different than saying, why are you so disappointed or don’t be disappointed or, Oh, come on. You’re just disappointed. 

Marc Brackett: 

How do you deal with all the naysayers? There’s so many people who, I go to companies and people will say things like, “I don’t need these skills. Look at my office.” Big hedge fund or something like that, or an arrogant doctor. In my book, I hear a story, this is Yale. We produced Nobel laureates, not nice people. And I think to myself like, who raised you? Does anybody want to work with you? I can’t imagine anybody would want to work with you. And the truth is nobody does want to work with these people. 

Marc Brackett: 

We oftentimes see emotions as weak. They’re inferior to cognition. They don’t have equal weight. And that’s only because we’re naive about the science of emotion. Emotions are the drivers of our attention. They’re the drivers of our judgements. They’re the drivers of the quality of our relationships. They’re the drivers of our health and wellness. And they’re the drivers of our creativity. And they’re the drivers of whether or not we achieve our dreams in life. 

Marc Brackett: 

I work with a lot of really smart people. I teach a lot of people who have way higher test scores than I ever had, but yet, so many of them don’t achieve their dreams or they can’t get it out of their own way. And it’s not because of their cognitive ability. It’s because they don’t give themselves the permission to feel. It’s because they don’t want to learn strategies to support them in managing the discomfort around failure, the anger around the feedback or the frustration or the anxiety. 

Oscar Trimboli: 

Wow. What a masterclass in listening for emotion. Listening is the willingness to have your mind changed. And today, Marc changed my mind about the role labels play when it comes to describing an emotion, when it comes to helping make an invitation to the speaker to explore what emotion could possibly be, or maybe what it’s not. This has definitely changed my mind. I can see now that some labels can be productive when they’re labelling behaviour, rather than a person. I wonder what you took away from today’s Deep Listening podcast with Professor Marc Brackett. 

Oscar Trimboli: 

For me, the other one is the role of the check-in and check-out. Quick hat tip to Tim, a former client of mine. I was familiar with the process of a check-in but he taught me about the importance of the check-out as well. The check-out is helping the group notice what’s changed in the state of the group since the meeting began. If you do a check-out at the end of the meeting, you can notice the progress you have made or the progress that maybe you haven’t. It helps the group notice what’s similar and what’s distinctly different in the state of the group there. 

Oscar Trimboli: 

It’s a simple question to pose at about the 80% mark of the meeting. Don’t leave it till the last minute. Don’t make a rushed. If it’s a one-hour meeting, think about doing this at around the 45, 50-minute mark, and simply ask compared to the beginning of this meeting, where are you at right now? Use a word or a sentence to describe how you are. I think the check-out is a powerful way to help us notice, particularly right now in virtual meetings, the difference and the progress the group have made. You even get the group, the opportunity to start to listen to each other. And the biggest insight often comes not from listening to what you’ve said, but starting to notice what other people have said. 

Oscar Trimboli: 

I’ll be curious to notice what you’ve heard in this podcast episode. So please send me an email podcast@oscartrimboli.com. You’ll know I’ll be listening. I hope you got as much out of today as I did. My final thought is simply this, go to your app store, download Mood Metre. For me, it was transformational. I’ve been using the Mood Metre now for a while. And what it taught me to do, not only to label my current set of emotions and feelings, but notice the direction I want to take that for the rest of that. Download the Mood Metre app. That will be my big action. The difference between hearing and listening is the action you take. Thanks for listening. 

 

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