Emotional Safety Allows Creative Expression

Tim Brown, CEO of Ideo, gave a talk about the relationship of play to creativity.  Among his main points he stressed that adults are embarrassed to share their most creative ideas with peers because they are sensitive to critical opinions from others.  As a result, most adults only offer their most conservative ideas.  In order for adults to express their most creative ideas, they must feel safe.  Adults who feel safe are more willing to take risks, be playful and offer up creative ideas. 

It seems to me that companies often say they want their people to be creative and to offer unique solutions to business problems.  But so often, the business environment is stiff and heady where everyone feels they have to be cautious in expressing who they are for fear of being perceived as inappropriate.  To facilitate creativity, companies must create an environment that feels playful and emotionally safe for employees.  If they don’t, they surely lose enormous creative potential as employees withhold their wildest ideas.

Likewise, if companies want their people to present to clients creatively, so as to engage and connect with clients and prospective clients, why not offer programs that make people feel safe to be themselves in front of others? It is time for standard, mechanical presentation training to be gone. Let’s learn that presentations don’t have to be perfect, they have to engage and excite listeners.  To achieve real engagement, presenters must feel safe to be authentic.

Watch the Video of Tim Brown’s talk.

To consider a different kind of presentation training that encourages employees to be genuine and speak from their hearts, check out Presentation, Persuasion & Leadership Presence.