Applied Improvisation For Developing The Competencies of Emotional Intelligence - games, exercises and resources
Mayer, J.D. and Salovey, P "What Is Emotional Intelligence?" Development and Emotional Intelligence, New York: Basic Books: 1997
The process of developing Emotional Intelligence is exactly the same. By becoming
aware of the defenses and self-protections we employ to feel a sense of psychological safety we are more available to conscious, creative choices in response to the same conditions. In the capacity to self-regulate and choose our attitudes and behavior is a tremendous freedom.
Self-awareness is associated with emotional intelligence. Daniel Goleman, co-director of the Consortium for Research on Emotional Intelligence in Organizations and author of numerous books about Emotional Intelligence defines self-awareness as "the ability to monitor our inner world – our thoughts and feelings."
An article on Harvard Business Review’s website titled “For A More Flexible Workforce Hire Self-Aware People” links higher self-awareness to the capacity to be flexible and shift in response to changing situations. “Understanding that one has certain tendencies leads to recognition that those tendencies serve one better in some situations than others. That recognition in turn leads to a willingness to assess a situation and adjust one’s approach to it, if called for…Self-awareness is a millennia-old area of study – the aphorism “know thyself” dates back to at least to Socrates. Why is it important to organizational performance? According to Gary Yukl, a researcher on leadership “self-awareness makes it easier to understand one’s own needs and likely reactions if certain events occurred, thereby facilitating evaluation of alternative solutions.” He defines the concept as including “understanding of one’s own needs, emotions, abilities, and behavior,” indicating that a person able to identify his or her own strengths and weaknesses will be more effective.”
Use an object for something other than what it would normally be used and complete an action with it complete with an attitude and emotional tone, e.g. an umbrella becomes a bored policeman's nightstick, the world's largest pencil wielded by an eager student, orp a bouquet of roses carried on the arm of an emotional beauty queen. The group responds if appropriate, or can simply acknowledge their recognition of the new meaning assigned to the object. Pass the object around the circle or place in the center of the circle and everyone can pick it up when inspired to create something else out of the object. Best to use an object that has versatility, e.g. an umbrella with a long handle or a snow brush that can be extended or shortened.
The group is divided into small groups of 3. Each member of a small group is given a paper with an S for Star, an I for Interviewer or a P for Publicist. The Star then talks about a topic (e.g., tell a story about your name, talk about something you are proud of, talk about one of your strengths); the Interviewer asks questions to draw the Star out to share more; the Publicist heightens the emotional tone of what the Star is saying and highlights important details. Switch cards and do the exercise again with new roles and a new topic until everyone has played all 3 roles.
A pair of volunteers leave the room. Remaining group members invent a self-help group of some kind – e.g. people trying to overcome fear of windows, people overcoming fear of germs transmitted by elbows touching. When the team of volunteers enters, the group behaves in ways that communicate their dilemma and the volunteers work together to figure out what kind of self-help group this is.
Each volunteer then pulls an emotional adjective from the basket and begin to improvise that emotion having the same conversation as before.
Jude Treder-Wolff, LCSW, RMT, CGP is a trainer/consultant, writer/performer and host/creator of (mostly) TRUE THINGS, a monthly storytelling show.
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