Mind and Body

Peter Lovatt on Good Moves from The School of Life on Vimeo.

You know the aphorism mens sana in corpore sano (Lat.from Greek philosopher Thales). A healthy or sound mind in a healthy body.

In sharing a link to learning resources on the Conversation Agent Facebook page, I added:

We spend a lot of time exercising the body, or talking about it, and comparatively little in exercising the mind.

The fascinating thing is that in Western societies we spend a lot of time mining the brain and little using the body in business.

It is fascinating, isn't it? One of my favorite talks from The School of Life is with professional dancer and psychologist Peter Lovatt on Good Moves.

The crux of his research and focus is this: we think with our bodies. This is why we should reconsider our position with regards to using the body more at work.

Yet, as Sir Ken Robinson also remarked in a TED Talk, especially in academic settings (I would add business as well), we use our bodies as transport systems for our heads.

Take it from a cerebral person like me — we can do better to involve the other half of us and increase our capacity to solve thinking puzzles and creative challenges. These are the kinds of situations we are facing today.

Whole body thinking — not just the brain. And isn't experience the best way to make a connection? What a nice benefit in addition to feeling more alive.


Here are three mind and body things I have done with my teams over the years.

1. John Travolta's Tuesday morning fever

Get everyone to stand up and do a disco dance to music before a meeting and you get the blood flowing and elevate the energy level in the room.

Have you not noticed how the best conversations at client meetings and user group conferences take place when people are moving around the room and there is some music playing?

BTW, disco is easier even for the shy ones (see the audience in the Lovatt video at the beginning). In Italy you'd probably want to tango. I watched as a skilled harmonica player got two people who did not know each other spontaneously drift into a short street performance a few weeks ago.

It made everyone around joyous and open to conversation.

2. Dancing with the stars

Another good way to break the ice especially before a workshop-like event where participants will be asked to do things in groups. All your clients get the star treatment without the individual judging.

Get everyone to move around to a theme song. Move heads and hands, too. It gets people in a good mood to meet each other and out of their chairs where they have been spending time or will be.

If it's Irish dancing or there is an opportunity to even sing and play together. Why save those high-engagement moments for the end of the day or the happy hour? We're in need of more social to do collaboration and even co-opetition better.

Take good care of the fun tavern waiter if you happen to be in Dublin.

3. A "no pressure" chorus line

Get the people in the room to learn a simple dance step together. This works especially well at networking events.

It's similar to what Lovett does in the video — and I love it. It's easy, everyone is on the same plane because chances are nobody is a professional dancer in your business circle (and if they are, they can help) and you show the steps and do it with them.

It puts everyone in the same dancing shoes. And it is fun to boot. 


How would you create an experience to help people think with their bodies?


PS: Do watch the talk and walk — you'll get a kick out of it. Promise.


Valeria is an experienced listener. She is also frequent speaker at conferences and companies on a variety of topics. To book her for a speaking engagement click here.

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