Workshop: “Dance Meditation: An Experiential Workshop for Exploring Dance As Mindfulness Practice” (Academy of Management)

This Professional Development Workshop was given at the Academy of Management Annual Meeting (AOM) 2019 in Boston (MA), which is the world’s largest management conference. The experiential workshop invites you to explore dance as a mindfulness practice and to re-connect with your body and yourself. No previous experience is needed and everyone is welcome to join the inclusive space held by the facilitators. You could bring a water bottle and an extra T-shirt if you feel for it.

Mindfulness has lately been booming as a management practice as well as an interdisciplinary field of research. Kabat-Zinn (1994) suggests that “mindfulness practice means that we commit fully in each moment to being present. There is no ‘performance’. There is just this moment. We are not trying to improve or to get anywhere else. We are not even running after special insights or visions. Nor are we forcing ourselves to be non-judgmental, calm, or relaxed.” We usually think about mindfulness practice as silent sitting, but there is no limit to what activities we can bring mindful presence.

This workshop is a moment to fully turn your attention inwards as there is no choreography to remember and nothing to achieve. While we move our bodies to the rhythms of tunes from all over the world, we simply observe thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations from moment to moment without reacting and without judging.

The meditation begins with a warm-up that seamlessly guides you into a mindful dance. The meditation ends in stillness with an invitation to just witness what arise and pass away in the dance’s aftermath. Finally, there will be room for sharing experiences after the meditation.

Thanks to my co-facilitators who were part of the team: Catarina Ahlvik, Judi Neal, Jody Fry, and Ymke Kleissen.

Workshop: “How does Emotional Intelligence Feel? (International Association of Management Spirituality and Religion)

This workshop was presented at the Internaltional Association of Management, Spirituality, and Religion conference in Fayetteville, AR (USA) 18-20 May 2017.


Emotional intelligence, as made popular by Goleman (1998, 2006), has become a well-known concept in leadership education and practice. Building on findings in neuroscience and clinical psychology, the concept is perceived as “scientific” and thus easy to relate to for students and practicing managers. Emotional intelligence is, however, a practice-based skill that needs to be developed through experience. One needs to feel emotional intelligence, rather than understanding it with the mind.

In this workshop, I introduce a simple structure for integrating the conceptual ideas of emotional intelligence – especially self-awareness, self-regulation, and empathy – with straightforward exercises that makes it easy for students develop an embodied understanding of the concepts. The bridge between theory and practice builds on Marshal Rosenberg’s (2004)ideas about non-violent communication. In this workshop, I use two particular decks of playing cards to help participants connect with their feelings and needs in the exercises.

For several years, this workshop has been given in management courses at the Stockholm School of Economics as a way to connect emotional intelligence to the students’ practical group work in other courses. Thus, it offers an appreciated entry point to integrate the teachings on emotional intelligence with group dynamics in general (e.g. Runsten & Werr, 2015).

Intended audience

People who are interested in facilitating processes that integrate spirituality-based concepts with the everyday practices of management and leadership, especially emotional intelligence, empathy, non-violent communication, and group dynamics.


Many potentially powerful concepts are currently flourishing in the field of management spirituality, but the students need to develop their own experience of these concepts (Zajonc & Palmer). Thus, we need to develop and share methods in which an embodied understanding of these can be experienced. In other words, the traditional teaching approaches needs to be integrated with contemplative practices aimed at opening and connecting to participants’ inner world (Barbezat & Bush, 2013). This workshop contributes to the development of this kinds of practices.


In this workshop, we will go back and forth between practical exercises and conceptual frameworks. I will also discuss how the workshop have been applied in the context of a master program in management with the purpose facilitating group work and personal development over time.


The takeaways are threefold. First, the workshop will help participants to further develop their own emotional skills. Secondly, they will learn a method for teaching embodied emotional intelligence to students and/or to managers. Thirdly, a general understanding of how this type of work may link into the larger context of a program will be acquired.


Barbezat, D. P., & Bush, M. (2013). Contemplative practices in higher education: Powerful methods to transform teaching and learning: John Wiley & Sons.

Goleman, D. (1998). What Makes a Leader? Harvard business review, 76(6), 93-102.

Goleman, D. (2006). Emotional intelligence: Random House LLC.

Rosenberg, M. B. (2004). Nonviolent communication: Sounds True.

Runsten, P., & Werr, A. (2015). Kunskapsintegration. Om kollektiv intelligens i organisationer [Knowledge integration. On collective intelligence in organizations]. Lund, Sweden: Studentlitteratur.

Zajonc, A., & Palmer, P. The heart of higher education.