Emotional congruence – that’s a mouthful! It deserves to be because it serves a huge purpose when we speak.
I want you to imagine you’re listening to or watching a speaker who is telling you how excited he or she is about their topic, be that their latest product, service or idea. All the while, their voice is monotone. Their facial expression is lifeless. Their posture is slack. Do you believe them? Of course not. The reason? Their “emotionally energetic affect” is not congruent with their words. Their presence does not match their verbal content. What you expect to see is evidence of enthusiasm, happiness or wonder like smiling, open body posture and vocal variety!
Why is this a problem? As the audience, when we experience a lack of congruence, we believe the emotionally energetic message. The speaker may really be excited, but if their delivery doesn’t express that through their emotional energy, we won’t believe them. They lose credibility and therefore our trust.
So, of course, we want to be believable, credible and trustworthy, so we need to be emotionally congruent! Why else? Because by being emotionally congruent, we communicate clearly and give our audience permission to feel their emotions. We avoid confusion, which creates safety, and give our audience permission to be open, vulnerable, and sensitive. In other words, to be human.
This leads me to a strong conclusion: as speakers, even if our reason for being in front of an audience is to deliver information, one of our most significant functions is to give our audience permission to feel their humanity.
We create the opportunity for our audience to safely experience their emotions in response to our presentation. While our information may be vital, it comes to life for our audience when they can feel its vitality and be inspired by it.
This is what we experience when we watch a movie or go to the theater, or listen to music, or read a powerful novel or poem. We experience our emotions. We receive the impact of the artist and the art. Speakers live in this same universe no matter what our content. We serve our audiences at a deeper level than our words by serving up their humanity.
As individuals and as a culture, we are often taught that our emotional make-up is less valuable than our rational mind. Nothing could be further from the truth. The very stuff of life – the visions we hold for our lives and work, our relationships, and our intuitive power — all depend on our ability to connect with our emotional nature. For example, relationships are not “rational.” They are emotional, and it’s essential we have a healthy connection to our own emotional life so we can safely connect more deeply with others.
So as speakers, when we align our emotional energy with our words, we give our audience the opportunity to experience connection and compassion for themselves and for others. This our human birthright.
You are the messenger for more than your information. You are delivering an emotionally energetic experience that will have a deep impact on your audience.
Emotional congruence is essential when you speak. You want to make sure you’re delivering the message you want to give and allowing your audience the chance to literally “catch” the emotional energy you intend and experience their humanity. You have that power. I would love to support you! I can be reached at Andrea@AndreaBeaulieu.com.