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How to increase your influence by being grounded

This column is part of Globe Careers' Leadership Lab series, where executives and experts share their views and advice about leadership and management. Follow us at @Globe_Careers. Find all Leadership Lab stories at tgam.ca/leadershiplab.

The word

Grounded: Well balanced and sensible. An electrical circuit that is connected to the earth.

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The insight

You increase influence and make others feel safe when you embody a grounded energy.

The first question

How do you visualize the feeling of being grounded?

The story

Bob Babinski told me about his airport experiment, and I leaned in to hear more. He's been practising a subtle technique that influences the behaviour of strangers. On my flight home, I tried the method. It works, and you should try it, too.

Babinski is a performance trainer preparing me to be a special analyst to cover the Rio Olympic games this August. I feel lucky to have him as a resource to build my storytelling abilities, increase my presence on live video broadcasts, and develop my journalistic skills.

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Being a better journalist, I've concluded, is being a better person. When I think of the best journalists who have interviewed me, they have been heart-centred, generous, sharp-witted and present. These same qualities are not exclusive to better journalists. They also make us better parents, sales professionals, engineers and electricians.

The technique that makes us better? Grounding.

Take time to notice, and you will see that the best people are grounded. Coaches teach athletes grounding techniques to prepare them for competition. Yogis teach similar techniques to increase physical and emotional balance. Psychologists and counselors bolster the strength of their clients using similar techniques.

Science is only beginning to understand how this ancient concept works. Recent studies have shown that touching your skin to the electron-enriched earth causes an improved balance between your two driving energy systems – fight or flight (sympathetic) and rest and digest (parasympathetic). Some reports show a marked change in biological parameters after about 20 to 30 minutes, others in several days, and a few others show a drastic change within seconds of grounding. Electrodes placed on the body show immediate and profound changes to the individual's state.

When you are in a grounded state, you hold greater influence over others nearby. This is the airport experiment: be grounded, and then observe the small actions of others nearby.

When you are grounded, notice how nearby people fidget less and their breathing becomes slightly deeper. Subconsciously, your peers enter a deeper state of presence. This allows you to be noble. You are a monarch. You are one step higher than a leader. When you are grounded and powerful, people around you will begin to feel more comfortable and relaxed.

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With noble groundedness, you create and feel a form of psychological safety. Psychological safety has recently been proven to be a key element in workforce productivity and creativity. When you are grounded, your followers feel safe. Your children feel safe. Your staff feels safe. The people in your political riding feel safe.

Be like Bob Babinski. Be present. Be confident. Be safe. Be grounded.

The visualization

Grounding connects us with deep energy and a higher power. Grounding allows us to connect with others. Grounding makes everybody feel safer.

Practice your grounding as you read this piece. Feel the exchange of energy. Feel an energized calmness.

1. Picture a flood of energy exchange flowing between our massive planet and your charged body. Energy is leaving your body and entering the earth. Energy is leaving the earth and entering your body.

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2. Picture an anointment of energy from above hitting your body from above. This can be from the sky, from God, outer space, the great spirit or your ancestors.

3. Picture the same flow of energy occurring in all the people around you. You are connected to their flow, and they are connected to yours.

4. Feeling grounded is calming, purposeful, strong, safe and peaceful. Explore and appreciate this energizing, relaxed state.

Be sure to try this grounding technique in bare feet – at the beach, in the forest or sitting at your desk. Bare feet are not socially acceptable in many circumstances, and even without direct skin to dirt contact, we can visualize the balance and presence that grounding delivers. You will better embody a state of grounding when you have felt the power of direct-to-earth grounding.

Where can you be more grounded?

When and where can you next practice this grounding technique? Bring your grounding into presentations, conversations and interviews. Notice how your grounded presence makes others react.

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The final question

How can your presence make others feel safe and energized?

An Olympic gold medallist as part of the Canadian men's eight rowing crew at the 2008 Beijing Games, Adam Kreek delivers speeches, workshops and seminars, writes a workplace-related column in tandem with the Canadian Men's Health Foundation and CBC Sports, and as an engineer with a degree fom Stanford University, chairs the board of directors of Victoria-based start-up, Greasecycle.

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