Your Emotions … Your Perception

They are linked so be aware …

“ONE WHO fears the future, who fears failure, limits his activities. Failure is only the opportunity more intelligently to begin again. Fear blocks every avenue of business – it makes man afraid of competition, of changing his methods, of doing anything which might change his condition. Henry Ford 

  1.  Acknowledge emotions – they permeate every business.
  2. See emotions as a caution sign rather than a call to action.
  3. Deconstruct the situation, reappraise it: What does it mean, how did I decide that, and what else could it mean?”  
  4. Reframe it: Anything less than totally perfect offers the possibility of learning from mistakes. How is this an opportunity for developing resiliency, flexibility and a sense of humor? 

“OUR STUDY shows that when in a positive mood, our visual cortex takes in more information, while negative moods result in tunnel vision. The up side of this (positive moods) is that we can see things from a more global, or integrative perspective. Taylor Schmitz, University of Toronto Study ‘People Who Wear Rose Coloured Glasses See More,’ 2009

Advertisements

Making 2010 your best year yet

There is still time.  So what has to happen?  The last post focused on recognizing  hidden opportunities. This one follows up with a thought provoking question.  Questions can be a powerful tool for activating your internal GPS, your Global Positioning System for achieving success.

  • The first question sets your destination. 
  • The rest lock-in the most direct path, providing detailed directions,
  • and just like using the GPS in your vehicle, questions provide ongoing feedback, a way of checking and adjusting your course from time to time.

So the question is …
What has to happen for 2010 to be your best year yet?

When was the last time you asked yourself a question like that and then thought deeply about your answer?

We may set goals, measure certain activities, even block time for specific tasks. Yet few of us take the time for deep thought about what it will take to get there. (Deep thought is the hallmark of experts.)

If you can, take a minute now and think about how you would answer the question. What comes to mind?  Write your answer down. Seeing it on paper is often an easier way of discovering the deeper meaning behind your words.

  • Is what has to happen something you’ll do, an activity or behaviour?
  • Is it a feeling or quality, like having more confidence, more energy or less stress?
  • Is there a hidden belief in what you wrote? About yourself, the people in your life or your business environment?
  • Is what has to happen within your own control? Something you can ‘do, or not do’ as Yoda would say.
  • If not, can you break it into smaller bites or contributing elements that you can control.
  • When and where will this be happening? How often? Is it something you’ll do every day? Once or twice a week? Monthly?

When you think about it logically and rationally, you probably already have the knowledge, skills and experience required. You know what to do and how to do it, right? And you may even know people who’ve achieved the results you want with less knowledge, fewer skills?

So … what are your sticking points?
What could possibly prevent you from doing what you know?

  • Distractions, lack of focus?
  • Lack of confidence during critical activities?
  • Competing priorities and time pressures?
  • Feeling overwhelmed?

‘Sticking points’ whatever you call them, drain your energy.

It’s like driving with one foot on the accelerator and one foot on the brake.  It can feel like you’re spinning your wheels, working longer and harder just to stay in place.

So the question is, what can you do starting now, that will begin moving you through those sticking points and towards your best year yet?

You can clear some sticking points using conscious, logical left brain thinking. For more see the note below.1

What about your deeper power?
There is another option, a quicker and some would say easier way of clear sticking points – by harnessing the power of your unconscious mind and right brain processing.

It’s also more fun. Because your unconscious mind is a wizard at handling competing priorities, reducing stress and handling hot button situations that can hijack your emotions and behaviour.

So if the idea of harnessing the power of your own mind sounds interesting, check out the NLP trainers in your area or look for someone offering Performance Breakthrough Coaching process. 

1 Neuroscience has demonstrated that as much as 95% of our decisions, our emotions and what we do, is controlled by the unconscious mind,  that we simply use our conscious mind to justify decisions made outside of conscious awareness.

A thought from that perennial font of wisdom …
“The road to success is dotted with many tempting parking places.” Anon

And one more …
“It has taken a long time for us to reach the understanding that much of what we do is not under conscious control, even though we thought that it was.”
Michael Gazzaniga, neuroscientist and author of Human: The Science Behind What Makes Us Different

Achieving Goals With Help From Your Mind’s Eye

The February issue of Fast Company has a piece on the role visualizing plays in goal achievement. If you found the two posts on Beliefs, Wishes and Goals useful, then Make Goals Not Resolutions may be worth a look.  The second page has a simple but powerful example of the process in action and the benefits. 

Neuro-linguistics offers some excellent techniques for fine tuning the qualities of your mental images. Qualities or visual distinctions you can use to support new behaviours, change beliefs about your own capabilities, and strengthen your confidence and other resources. 

The same qualities or distinctions can also be used to render those unhealthy foods we find way too tempting into something less attractive. Think of dressing up your favorite food, perhaps chocolate, so that it becomes as compelling as liver. Hummm … perhaps not. What about seeing it as something you can enjoy, just in small quantities.  Better!

Unconscious Communication And Job Fit – Part 5

Difference ways of relating at work
In part 4 of this series we looked at Sam’s perceptual filters for tackling tasks and getting things done at work – his need for procedures, tangible things and details. 

Now let’s decode the filters Sam’s boss Roger uses to achieve results at work – his passion for options and preference for working with general concepts rather than concrete details.  Once again think of decoding the subtext of language and other unconscious behaviours. (See part 4.) 
 

Decoding non-verbal behaviour
Roger usually drives with one hand on the steering wheel and a blackberry device in the other. At the same time he’ll be carrying on a conversation using one of his manycell phones.  Hands-free, of course.  On the scale of his career, he’s the consummate multi-tasker!  Juggling several projects at once gives him the variety he craves and the freedom to enjoy it. And that’s a clue signaling Roger’s passion for spontaneity and creating options, choices, alternatives.

Another tip off
Taking Roger through a methodical discussion leading to a final decision is impossible. He jumps from topic to seemingly unconnected topic, interrupting the flow of conversation. Making leaps of logic and generally racing ahead to insightful conclusions.

No decision is ever final. He can change his mind and his plans in an instant, and numerous times. Yet Roger intuitively knows when ideas will jell. He makes brilliant connections because he thinks in not just big, but huge pictures.  

In addition to options, those behaviour patterns signal a resistance to procedural activities and a preference for thinking in very general terms.  (And Roger does prefer leaving the details to others.)
 

Decoding language – structure and process
The words Roger uses reveal more.   He peppers his language with phrases like ‘creating alternatives,’ using ‘multiple approaches,’ having ‘the freedom to choose’ and keeping his ‘options open.’ He talks of ideas and concepts like ‘taking advantage of opportunities,’ ‘getting people on board’ and ‘high impact results.’ Intangible and general terms rather than concrete ‘things,’ you can see, hear, do and measure. And the details are conspicuous by their absence.

A mis-match of filters 
Roger and Sam are polar opposites in the way they filter information and function at work. So it’s little wonder they find it less than easy to communicate. It also explains why Sam is struggling to fit the role Roger expects him to fill. 

While there is no one right or best way to filter information, the key to motivation and productivity is to match people with jobs where core competencies and essential tasks fit their natural way of filtering information. They in turn will be able to function in ways that meet your criteria for success.

Unconscious and Non-Verbal Communications

For clarity
If you’ve been following the series on Decoding Non-verbal Communications (five parts so far) it has been renamed Unconscious Communications And Job Fit. The intention is to reduce any confusion between language and non-verbal cues. Both are unconscious communications.

Non-verbal  communications broadly refers to observable changes in physiology and voice tonality. There is a non-verbal component to language in the structure and process implied.  To reduce ambiguity, that aspect of language will be classified as unconscious communication.

The retitled series will continue. Your comments and feedback are appreciated. See the space below. 

Unconscious Communication And Job Fit – Part 3

Did I mention this was Practitioner season? After the first of three ‘Thursday to Sunday’ Practitioner Certification weekends, followed by two Breakthrough Coaching Sessions, I went directly to toasted … totally toasted! 

So apologies if you’ve been looking for the follow-up to this decoding exercise and now … back to Sam and Roger. And while there is bound to be a little lost in my translation of their stories, there are enough clues and insights to make the exercise worthwhile. 

The words Sam and Roger used during our conversations provided enough unconscious clues to predict their default behaviours while working.

Sam speaks of being confused, struggling, hands on, concrete, stuck, frustrated; his comfort with things and tangible tasks; and discomfort with ambiguity. 

This language is a pretty good indication that he focuses on things rather than people or ideas, learns by doing and hands-on experience, and is currently in an unresourceful state (into his feelings) because of the absence of sensory based data. 

Sam also talks about managing processes, but not knowing how to get started, says show him what to do and he’ll do it. My notes from our conversation included “needing to see my development, progress, completion of a project.”

The subtext of these words indicates that Sam will be good at maintaining processes and procedures, but when an existing process stops working or a new procedure is called for, it’s unlikely he will be able to develop one on his own.

Rogertalks about being an idea man, creating opportunities and concepts, juggling totally different projects, language that indicates he will use his ability to create options and alternatives, is someone who will challenge the status quo, change the system, change his mind frequently and will resist following procedures.  

He also talks of being impatient with the detail needed to bring intangeble ideas into concrete form, preferring to have others guide that process.  And says he wants an assistant who is comfortable with ambiguities and can create and follow processes that will identify the best opportunities and move them forward.

What Roger is saying here, is the key to finding an assistant with the best fit for the job. This person must be flexible enough to see the big picture and deal with detail. As well, they will be good at developing procedures as needed, and managing multiple projects through an evaluation process. Then letting go … seeing the best turned over to others for execution.  

Roger
is brilliant at creating ideas and concepts. He will need an assistant who is equally brilliant at seeing the potential of his ideas and bringing order and process to the party so that those ideas are realized.

Unconscious Communications And Job Fit – Part 1

Right person wrong job
Several weeks ago I was asked if I could help a new employee and his boss work more effectively together.  What fell out of the coaching process was that the real issue was job-fit.  

We all want the satisfaction of feeling like we’re contributing, being appreciated and valued for our personal qualities. So when our default settings for how we function – approach tasks, process information, what we notice and focus on and how we interact with others – are unsuited to the job, motivation plummets along with our sense of self worth. Low productivity and high stress levels follow. 

In this case the employee and his boss were both doing all they could to make the relationship work.  Now you may be wondering what this has to do with decoding non-verbal communications, but stay with me and we’ll get to that. (The following details have been altered just enough to preserve the privacy of all parties.)   


Sam
had been in his new job less than three weeks, but there were already cracks showing in the relationship with his boss. It was decided I would observe a series of out of town meetings Sam and his boss Roger were attending. Managing sales teams for a number of years taught me how valuable ‘drive time’ can be for discussing sensitive issues, so I arranged to travel with Sam.

During the drive to the meetings it became clear that Sam was confused about what was expected of him and struggling to please the man he worked for. Not a pleasant place to be! The reasons for his discomfort also began to surface.

What unconscious communication revealed …
Sam came from a industry where the job focus was on producing products. A few questions revealed that he functions best with things, concrete facts and tangible results. He is not comfortable with concepts and ideas, intangibles and ambiguity.

While good at managing processes, Sam is not good at developing them. Show him what needs to be done and he’ll do it. Ask him to figure out a new way and chances are unless he has a previous frame of reference, he won’t know how to get started. He’ll literally be stuck. And frustrated. 

To function well, Sam needs to be able to see, hear and have tangible sensory experiences of the work he does. Sensory based evidence is how he knows what is working and what needs improvement. 

Sam’s boss, a man I’ll call Roger, was also feeling the strain of having to explain what he saw as a straight forward request several times. I already knew Roger quite well and his communication style is anything but straight forward. He has unique needs.   Up next, Roger’s needs and the decoding that resolved this relationship.

Oh By The Way … Learning NLP

Why does it take so long?
So I was having lunch with a friend yesterday and he asked why the Innergize NLP Practitioner Certification was a full 12 days.  And that’s a $64,000 question.

After all, we live in an on-demand world. Information is available instantly on the web. Multi-tasking is a badge of honour and our attention spans shorten year by year. Or does it just seem that way to me?
 

How You’ll Learn NLP
 So … why 12 days?

  1. There is a lot of content, a lot of essential details that do make a difference. Digesting the information over many days means more nights to sleep on in. When you sleep, information you were exposed to during the day moves from short term memory into long term memory. (Well documented by research in accelerated learning.)
  2. I’ll be sharing NLP secrets with you, nuances usually only trainers know, because they are often the difference that makes the difference in challenging situations. Like succeeding with the people in your life who will want to challenge your new skills.
  3. You’ll learn NLP five ways, from 5 different perspectives. These are the keys to integrating NLP into your everyday behaviour, because it takes more that intellectual knowing to get results with NLP. After your first weekend with Innergize you will be using it. Even your friends will notice.

And here’s why
Perhaps you’ve read some books, listened to tapes, CDs, even taken a short workshop. Or you know someone who has. And noticed that some things work, make sense, others don’t. So what gives?

Five ways, 5 perspectives
To really use NLP I’ve found you need to experience it on five levels.

  1. You need to learn the content consciously. What you’re doing and how to layer in each element for maximum impact.
  2. Your unconscious mind needs the information too. In a format that is easily taken into your mental programming, in a way that respects you and your unique personality.  Now, you’re ready for experience.  You’ll practice the skills in small chunks layering in more and more pieces over time.
  3. You’ll learn by practicing the skills with a partner. Try them on and observe the effect, test your results and use feedback to adjust your technique.
  4. You’ll learn by experiencing the effect of the techniques, how it feels when they’re working and when they’re out of sync.  
  5. You’ll learn by observering others practice. You’ll see the effects, noticing what’s working from moment-by-moment. Bonus!! (Okay, I forgot one.)
  6. You’ll learn by sharing your experience and asking questions after each practice session.  What worked well, what needs fine tuning. Questions  about applying the techniques in situations in your own life.

And did I mention the coaching? Small class size means you’ll receive individual attention from the trainer.  Read all about the fall 2008 NLP Practitioner Training Certification Program.

Why Non-verbal Communications Are Critical In Sales

Just finished writing a promotional article for Foran Financial Institute.  Foran provides excellent exam preparation courses for financial services professionals as well as hosting Innergize workshops on accelerated learning and communications.  The article happened to be on influencing motivation—techniques for sales and marketing.  And it reminded me how much we risk when we take take non-verbal communications for granted. 

Take a challenge
Ask your sales people to rate their skill with non-verbal communications.  Have them use a scale of 1 to 10, where 10 is excellent and 1 is ‘you want me to rate what?’  I can almost guarantee you’ll get nothing lower than 7 as an answer.  It’s way too easy to over simplify, assuming that because we earn our living selling that means we must be excellent in all forms of communications.  

During workshops, sales people may even be tempted to brush off the practice exercises for non-verbals “because we already know that.” Yet, like everything else we choose to practice or not, there is a risk and a reward.  

The following insights on consumer behaviour while not new news, are worth considering if you’re working in sales.  And my belief is that we all sell whether we like it or not, products, services, or simply our ideas.

Grounded in Research
First, remember that decisions are based on feelings and then justified with rational conscious thought. And neuroscience suggests that up to 95% of our emotions, decisions and behaviour are a result of unconscious processing.

Three things you may not have considered

  1. When asked about product choices, if people don’t know consciously, they will make up salient, plausible and socially acceptable reasons for what they do. (1) In other words, customers will tell you what they think they should want, based on social influences. (A tendency that has led to some costly miss-takes in consumer research.)
  2. While features and benefits supply the rational reasons to justify a decision once it is made, the unconscious sensory elements of an experience have far greater influence (positive or negative) on emotions, buying decisions and loyalty. (1)
  3. Non-verbal cues and linguistic markers provide the most accurate information about what people want and intend to do, because they are largely unconscious.(2)

Unlocking unconscious communication 
Three skills worth learning:

  • How to dig deeper for the real reasons people will buy.
  • How to use specific process words and other non-verbal behaviour to communicate your value.  
  • How to read the critical non-verbal cues that reveal more than customers can or will tell you. 

Learn more about unlocking unconscious and non-verbal communications

(1) J. Le Doux, Center for Neural Science, NYU, 1998.
(2) J. Kagan, Harvard Mind: Brain: Behaviour Initiative, 2002

A Quick Note: For Unconscious Mind Fans

If you’re already certified in NLP, you’re aware of the role the unconscious mind plays in running your emotions, decisions and behaviour.  So you may enjoy the interesting tidbits of new research I found at http://nationaladd.blogspot.com/ in the August 26, 2007 posting.  Priming the unconscious is a facinating subject, especially for those working in sales. We prime our customers’ minds in so many ways and not always in the direction we’d like.