Want the best results from your client meeting, your staff meeting, or the upcoming performance review you are holding? Be intentional about how you communicate to both minds - the conscious/intellectual mind and the subconscious/emotional mind - to get the best outcome.
The intellectual mind gathers information. Our emotional mind gathers feelings. This is oversimplifying it but you get the idea. We have limited storage in our conscious mind, which is why we write things down, send follow up emails, take meeting minutes. It's easy to forget what people said. Our subconscious mind, on the other hand, has unlimited storage to remember experiences and feelings.
This is why you can be in a meeting where you can't quite remember all the next steps (good thing you took notes and that someone is sending the to-do email) but you definitely remember how you felt leaving the meeting (inspired, annoyed, ho-hum). It's these feelings will drive how effectively you take action on what was said, your notes, the follow up email...
When you are hosting a meeting, a call, or giving a presentation ask yourself beforehand:
What do you want people to KNOW?
How do you want people to FEEL?
SO they will go and DO the right things with the right attitude.
Can you give directions or constructive feedback in a way that motivates people to take action and DO what you want them to do on the project, in their job, for the firm? Absolutely. But it takes practice, being honest with yourself about your communication style, and being open to making changes, including modelling these changes with your team.
Imagine you get to a meeting with your team, right after a challenging call with a client who surprised you with a budget cut. The energy you are bringing into your team meeting won't be constructive or supportive until you consciously shift it. It doesn't matter if you say all the 'right words', people will pick up on your angry/worried/stressed energy, and your body language and tone will further send these messages. Your team may know what to do but they will be confused, worried, and far from inspired.
Imagine now that you have the tools and the self awareness to notice and shift your energy in the few minutes between the challenging call and your team meeting. Or, if you still haven't quite shifted and snap or use a 'tone', and so you say to the team:
"Wait, that wasn't quite right. I'm just come from a tough call and haven't quite reset myself for this meeting. *Pause. Breathe. Shift* Let's try that again. John, when you submit that report..."
It may feel strange at first to say and do things like this but you are being a role model for your team - you are human, you make mistakes, you acknowledge and take responsibility for your mistakes, you make improvements, and you keep moving forward. What a contrast to a leader who can't shift and blows through the meeting throwing emotional daggers around the room, or storms out because the problems raised by the team crashed into the emotional wreckage that was still brewing from the challenging call.
Fast forward to the end of the team meeting led by self-aware, in control, super communicator you. You've discussed what needs to be done in a clear and concise way. People have tasks, next steps, action items - intellectually they are ready to go. You've discussed it in a way that is open, constructive, may even have passionate debate, and where the subconscious /emotional messages are in alignment with the intellectual ones. People feel heard, motivated to act, and a part of something exciting. Both minds are on the same page with the same message and people's body language shows that they are calm and confident as they leave the meeting.
In both business, and in life, decide to become better at communication and your relationships and your results will improve. You may think people heard what you said, you may even say it louder, or again, but that doesn't mean that anyone will DO anything, or BE inspired.
"The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that is has taken place" George Bernard Shaw
Take responsibility for effective communication and how YOU can improve by learning how to communicate well intellectually and emotionally on any topic. Align YOUR intellectual and emotional minds and your messages will match up with the ones others receive for inspired actions all around.
Easy? Not always. Worth it? Always.
About the Author: Lisa Hardess is an accomplished coach and consultant who has worked with adults, children, business and office teams, and communities to support the transformation of their professional and personal lives using a combination of critical mind shifts and strategic action planning. Communication for Connection and Communication 2.0: Challenging Conversations are two of her favourite coaching topics. Lisa has worked with people in groups, workshops, and one-on-one for over 15 years. She has a Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Education, a Master of Science in Planning and Development. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org