Are you using a brain-based communication approach?
If you are starting to feel like your communication isn’t making the impact you want and messages are falling flat, then it’s time to think differently about your team’s communication approach.
We all get to that stage when communication feels like it’s falling on deaf ears. You might be on a Zoom presenting, everyone is off camera, and you get nothing back – no questions, no interaction or you might be lucky for a nod and a thumbs up. We’ve all been there.
We know that leaders have a lot to communicate about and are just trying to do the right thing, but given we are so time poor and have a lot on our plates, perhaps we need to re-think our approach and use some brain-based strategies. With a few tweaks, you’ll notice a world of difference.
Why do we communicate?
To provide certainty, build trust, engage, empower, provide clarity, help people understand what’s happening and what they need to do – really the list is endless. Overall, we want to increase clarity and focus and reduce anxiety. This is especially true in this Covid world when we are not in the one environment and working from home is a reality.
Why is thinking about your audience so important?
I think this is obvious, however, when we are under pressure, we push ahead and don’t think about:
- What is the outcome I need?
- Who is my audience and is the outcome I need important to them?
- If not, how can I help them to understand why?
- Is my expectation realistic?
- Am I pushing communication into an already overwhelmed team?
Here are some of my quick rules:
1. Get your people involved in solving this communication challenge. They are your audience and their feedback counts.
2. Review your communication cadence – look at the meetings you are having and ask yourself and others, are these working? Is the agenda defined? Is the time being used effectively? Are the right people involved? There is nothing worse than being in a meeting you have no interest in. Chances are you have something better to do.
3. Computers and phones should be unwelcome accessories. If you have your computer open and you are typing away – you are probably doing something else and not focusing on the conversation in play. Oh, and p.s., your brain is hardwired to focus on one-thing-at-once!
4. Also, Zoom meetings, with Camera’s off is a no-no for small meetings. If you are in the meeting, your camera should be on. The same rules of face-to-face meeting etiquette should apply here. Remember, body language also conveys a huge part of your message and your response.
5. Structure email communication with headings and the subject line should be appropriate. If an action is required and a deadline has been set – put it in the subject line as well.
6. Bring humour and emotion to your discussions we are human beings and love to laugh and engage on a personal basis. It shows we care.
Right now, I’m loving John Medina’s Brain Rules, and I’m thinking about how I relate this to organisational communication and just doing things a little differently in our teams. John talks about 12 brain rules, but I’m only going to focus on a few.
- Walking meetings or group exercise – our brains love exercise. Surely this is a great way to catch up, share ideas, solve problems whilst also getting the benefit of movement and Vitamin D (obviously it’s not raining in this scenario).
- Early morning and late evening meetings/zooms – need to go. They are impacting on sleep and time with loved ones. What we are seeing and hearing more and more is that Covid has increased uncertainty, overwhelm and anxiety. Give some time back, your teams will appreciate it.
- Take more time to think about how interesting your communication is – we don’t pay attention to boring things
- If as John Media says, “Vision trumps all senses” is true, then PowerPoint presentations need to be amazing or not used.
- Also, Zoom meetings, with Camera’s off is a no-no for small meetings. If you are talking, your camera should be on. Remember, body language also conveys a huge part of your message.
It doesn’t matter how we look on a zoom (put on a filter and a background), it matters what we say, how we engage and whether our body language matches someone who gives a crap.