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Magnetic Speakers Engage in Flow

Magnetic Speakers Engage in Flow

| Tina Bakehouse

Glancing down at my Fitbit, I’m flabbergasted to see two hours have passed.

Buried in the rich study of “speaker presence” for my book Discovering Our Magnetic Speaker Within, I completely lose track of time.

My brain and body are fully focused on only one activity, attentive to the creative act of researching and writing. What I feel these two, fast hours: enjoyment.

What I experience? Flow.

What is your personal definition of “flow?”
Is it going with the flow?
Having a certain workflow?

Positive psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi has defined the state of flow to balancing the right amount of challenge and skill, enjoying the activity for its own sake, and receiving feedback from the activity.

To explore and understand flow and its impact on communication, I interview Dr. Gary Gute and Dr. Deanne Gute who are university flow and positive psychology educators and have collaborated with Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi on flow and creativity research for many years.

Dr. Deanne Gute defines flow this way, “Flow happens when someone is completely absorbed in an activity, physically and mentally. Their skills are stretched, and they balance these skills with ability—performing, feeling their best.

She explains flow can come afterward as in the runner’s high experience.

To achieve flow it takes clear, productive intention.

Deep work involves a certain cadence, intentionality, and a give and take in your schedule.

To produce great work takes intense focus and scheduling longer blocks of time.

Comedian Jerry Seinfeld crafts jokes through his daily ritual of “not breaking the chain.”

On a calendar, Seinfeld marks an “x” each day he writes. The “x’s” motivate him to make daily progress on tasks and increases his productivity to compose funnier jokes.