Sunday, November 08, 2020

USA on my mind - I am an Emotion Detective

We often celebrate the life of the 
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 
Dr. King was an iconic leader who used his passion to strategize an end to racial and economic inequality. 
And, whether he was aware of doing so or not, he used emotionally intelligent techniques to persuade and inspire people of all colors to join him.
As psychologists and educators affiliated with the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, we analyzed his "I Have A Dream" speech to see just how Dr. King used the tools of emotional intelligence to lay out the grievances of social injustice and rouse the nation to action.
We noticed that he used the language of strong emotions, including phrases like 
"We will not be satisfied until..." He chose high-energy, unpleasant feeling words like fierce, desolate, vicious, unspeakable, battered, despair, withering, and crippled. These kinds of feeling words activate and put the listener on notice.
It is a basic human need to be seen and understood, and Dr. King's empathy let his listeners "feel felt." 
He acknowledged their suffering by saying, for example, "Some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulation." And he named their experiences, acknowledging that they'd been jailed, discriminated against, blocked from the pursuit of happiness. 
He connected with his audience by naming the values they shared and their vision of the future. He felt, and transmitted, compassion.
Halfway through this most famous speech, the 
"I Have A Dream" address during the 1963 March On Washington, he abandoned his prepared remarks when Mahalia Jackson, off to the side, said, "Tell them about the dream, Martin!"

What he said next combined emotional intelligence and soaring rhetoric -- his talk gathered into a crescendo and went down in history. And the words we most remember were off the cuff. That is how skilled he was at working with his own, and the audience's, emotions.

I hope and trust that the new leadership in the USA will be strong in justice & follow in the steps of Dr King ................ I believe it will be a tough journey but trust in the new leadership.