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Sometimes our clients bring us up short, don’t they?

It happened to me the other day. I was riffing on using “directed energy” to connect with the people we talk to, whether that’s one person on the phone, a small group around a conference table, or a much bigger audience.

The perfectly reasonable response I got: “Uh, whaddya mean, ‘directed energy’?”

It’s a good question!

People have an experience of us based on what they see when they look at us, what they hear when we speak, and how they feel when they’re with us. It all has to do with the transfer of energy between us.

Remember when we used to talk about picking up on a “vibe” from somebody? There really are vibrations happening, and they shape our impression of that person and theirs of us.

You might like an individual right away, and you’re not even sure why. Or maybe they evoke suspicion or distrust—you find yourself pulling back from them without being able to pinpoint a specific reason for your reaction.

You just know another person is a push-over. Or a force to be reckoned with. Someone you want to know better. Or to tiptoe around. How do you know? It’s the energy they give off, maybe without even knowing it.

When we use our energy intentionally, we can create magic.

How do we generate that energy?

Not by thinking about it, that’s for sure. The energy is physical, so it has to come from the body. Or maybe I should say it has to come through the body. Here’s how:

  • Settle yourself in your chair with both feet planted firmly on the floor.
  • Make sure your weight is evenly balanced on both sit-bones; you’re not leaning on one hip or the other.
  • Straighten your spine.
  • Drop your shoulder blades back and down.
  • Open your chest.
  • Keep your hands apart, resting on your knees, the arms of your chair, or a table in front of you. (This is especially important for women—most of us learned early to fold our hands in our laps. That pulls the shoulders in and constricts our energy. And our voice.)
  • Let your neck be straight up and down so the weight of your head is balanced, your chin just slightly down. It might help to imagine a cord coming out of the crown of your head and attaching to the ceiling.
  • Breathe fully and deeply.
  • See if you can sense the energy center below your navel. The Japanese call it hara. In Chinese, it’s Dan Tian, the foundation of our energy system.
  • When you find it, let that energy move through your whole body.

Going through these adjustments, most of us notice that we’ve been off-center. Leaning to one side, thrusting our head forward or tilting it back, hiking one shoulder up higher than the other … we can settle into all kinds of habitual postures that block or stifle the energy.

When we get aligned, the energy can flow. And when the energy flows, the people around us pick up on it. We become magnetic.

So that’s the energy. What about the “directed” part?

States are contagious.

The people we speak with pick up our energy naturally. Without thinking about it, maybe without even noticing it, they begin to get on our wavelength, so to speak.

You’ve seen, say, a couple in a restaurant, or colleagues sitting across the desk from each other, mirror each other’s mannerisms. One leans toward the door and so does the other. One’s head tilts and the other matches it. One person lowers their voice, and the other’s volume drops too.

It’s natural, when we’re with someone, to mirror their behavior. It’s also natural to match their energy.

If I’m giving off a nervous, antsy, or frenetic vibe, pretty soon my audience (of one or many) will feel that way too. Truth be told, it doesn’t feel that good, and they associate the not-so-good feeling with me!

Then there’s this. When we notice someone wiggling or shuffling in their seat, maybe fiddling with their hair, clothing, or jewelry, what do we conclude about that person? They seem uncomfortable, right? Maybe even evasive. What are they hiding, anyway? Why are they so nervous? We start asking the kinds of questions we wouldn’t want people asking about us.

Nothing wrong with feeling anxious, edgy, or uncomfortable – our feelings are our feelings and they’re fine, whatever they are. (No point trying to make them not-fine, right? It’s not like we can wish them away.)

In fact, I encourage my clients to acknowledge what they feel. And to stay with the physical sensations, even uncomfortable ones. Not to try squelch them or run away from them.

If they feel nervous talking to higher-ups at a conference table, it’s okay to feel nervous. If they’re self-conscious about their resume, it’s okay to feel self-conscious. It they feel their face getting red or their palms sweating before a presentation? You guessed it – it’s okay to be red and sweaty.

The point is to allow the sensations, and to realize they’re energy – just energy. As we accept them and stay in the present moment, we can direct that energy to connect with our audience.

And that—that connection—is what people really want from us. More than a perfect performance or the exact right words or a stellar PowerPoint, they want the connection.

It’s our energy that makes that happen.

It’s your energy that makes that happen. Tell us in a comment what you’ve noticed about energetic connections with coworkers, clients, and others.