How can you use body language to influence others? What are the best ways to manage stress at work as a project manager? Geoff Crane and me discuss all this, plus better listening and spreading!
If you’d like to learn more about the chat, there’s a transcript available below.
Elizabeth: Hello everyone! It’s Elizabeth here. Today, I’m at the PMO conference London with Geoff Crane, who’s just arrived from Canada.
Geoff: How’s it going so far?
Elizabeth: You’ve flown in essentially for this conference, aren’t you?
Geoff: That’s right.
Elizabeth: Have you been to two days of PMO workshops?
Elizabeth: Tell us about it.
Geoff: We’re basing our work on the work we do at my university lab. I run Adaptimist Insights. We are an organisation for emotional and social learning that is actually a commercial offshoot from Trent University’s Emotional and Health Research Laboratory. It gives us the best of both the university and our own business, so we can still be associated with it as much as we want. We have instruments, tools, and we can develop stuff in-house in an academic setting. However, when necessary, we can also be an external entity, our own separate entity, and can deliver programming to groups in the private sector and other places.
We’ve created a programme to teach PMOs emotional and social learning. This is the type of work we were doing. We spent the first day learning how to improve interpersonal interactions. Influence without authority is one of the biggest challenges that PMOs have to face.
We thought, “Well, let’s build that idea of influence from scratch.” We have modules on reflective listening as well as how to create meaningful dialogue and connections. All of this was built on the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Behavioural change stairway model. They have a model they understand. It’s like being a hostage negotiator in a situation where you have no other options but to use your phone and voice to make behavioural changes. This is exactly the same skill set that you need to be able affect specific behavioural change. The consequences aren’t quite as severe.
Elizabeth: What’s your top tip for body language? Your top tip for bodylanguage, or to influence without authority? What can you do tomorrow to make yourself more influential?
Geoff: Geoff, it’s like listening in the backseat. Listening is the first thing. You don’t need to talk. One of our exercises is to have two people tell a story to each other. The person listening must then raise their hand whenever they have a thought that is not related to what the speaker is saying. The hand keeps going up for 60 seconds.
Elizabeth: The story is so boring!
Geoff: It’s not because when we speak, we are fully engaged because it’s fun to hear ourselves talk. When we have to listen, it’s almost like the person starts speaking.
Elizabeth: What’s for dinner
Geoff: Maybe it’s what’s for dinner or something related. This reminds me of when your mind wanders and you think about something completely other, and you stop listening. Even though you may have broken for a fraction of second, you still miss things. The other thing is that even though you may be able to yo