The impact of non-verbal behaviour on presence is well recognized. In our programmes, we work intensively with participants to develop non-verbal strategies to impact conversations. In one such session, we were exploring the power dynamic through body language and use of space drawing on techniques from the movement arts. Flowing into other people’s personal space could be an expression of a desire for closeness. But it is also and is often read by the other person as a desire for control of the conversation. In the session, participants played with this dynamic and got feedback on specific things they could do to avoid deadlock traps in conversations.
One of the participants went home and tried these strategies with his seven year old son. Separating children from technology is challenging at any time, and when the child in question is mildly autistic, it can cause a lot of pain in the moment. By allowing space rather than flowing into the child’s space (physically and mentally), this individual was able to regulate the conversation, draw the child out and even get him away from his play station without fuss!
As the participant shared his story the next day, it was a deeply moving moment for us. We care a lot about bringing learning alive in the real life context, and moments like these reinforce our conviction in the power of the arts to inspire change. Leadership in action? We think so!!