Cry if you need to – why we shouldn’t be scared to show emotion in business

Article by Dr. Diana Theodores, executive performance coach, speaker and Director of Theatre4Business.

Mental HealthCrying and showing emotion in business can work in your favour and be positively inspiring.

Of course, there are a few situations where it might not serve you or your audience well (responding to feedback, interviews, or critical conversations about the next steps in your career), but in key situations, showing emotion can boost your career.

Presenting, giving motivational talks, pitching your vision as a leader, or coping with huge disappointment or failure all help to demonstrate the intensity of your passion or pain, and helps to create trust and share humanity.

In recent politics, we have seen a lot of emotional vulnerability. Labour MP Rosie Duffield cried as she spoke on domestic abuse in parliament, Theresa May broke down in her resignation speech, and MEP’s said goodbye to one another and cried in Brussels – all showing where emotion can create a powerful and touching situation. Barack Obama is an often-cited example of someone who uses emotion in his politics brilliantly. The more his eyes well up with tears, the more he is perceived as a powerful leader and orator.

Touching a core of vulnerability for a moment doesn’t mean you are having a meltdown! Showing your emotions, welling up, or even shedding some tears is a gift of compassion to yourself and to others. When you experience a moment of real fear about ‘losing control’ stop, breathe and take a moment to get centered – literally feel your feet connect to the ground, stand tall and make your exhalation twice as long as your inhalation.

Stop ‘obeying’ role models who believe vulnerability is off-limits in the boardroom and start getting your inspiration from those who model their full humanity. Drop your corporate mask, allow yourself to express emotion rather than damping it down, share your vulnerability rather than blockading it, and harness your animated, passionate, energised self.

Diana TheodoresAbout the author

As Director of Theatre 4 Business, international performance coach, author, and speaker, Diana Theodores applies her years of experience in professional dance, theatre directing and writing on the arts, to the principles of ‘great performance’ on the business stage. Working with clients worldwide across diverse industries, from energy to entertainment, sports to finance, and retail to government, her dynamic and embodied approach has offered a transformational experience to thousands of women and men, connecting them with their unique voice, presence and authentic impact. Her new book Performing As You: How to have authentic impact in every role you play is out now. To find out more go to:

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