Archive for the 'Emotion' Category

Stroke of normality

I have often said the most powerful idea today is a conversation. Conversation can change the way people see the world, break down barriers, generate new solutions, help people understand themselves better, etc. Today I’ve spent my day having conversations with interesting people.

I mentioned the book I’m reading – A Whole New Mind- and the challenges of convincing strongly rational managers of the merit of emotion. In essence it’s the perennial challenge of influence – how do you get people from where they are to where you want them to be! Lester coined the term ‘the stroke of normality’. An over-focus on the rational is normal but ignores one half of your brain. It’s like suffering from a stroke. Except, the victim doesn’t acknowledge that there has been a stroke!

It clarified and reminded me of the confusion between starts and ends. Although it’s always great to have an end in mind, often we make the mistake of starting to influence at the end. By talking about where we want to end – eg. the case for using emotion. As opposed to starting at the start – eg ‘were you aware you’d had a stroke?’

All influence starts with your audience’s acceptance of the problem.


Six senses

I’m enjoying Daniel Pink’s “A Whole New Mind” book at the moment. He’s boldly claiming right-brainers will rule the future. Rationality is necessary, but no longer sufficient. He argues for a high-concept, high-touch future and outlines six senses to be successful in that future.

  1. Design  – combining utility with significance.
  2. Story –  the fundamental instrument of thought.
  3. Symphony – seeing the ‘big picture’.
  4. Empathy – the ability to stand in others’ shoes.
  5. Play – enjoying yourself!
  6. Meaning – purpose

The book has a useful list of actions to develop these six senses.

Interestingly, there is a strong emotional theme that runs through each of the six senses.

Influence and temperature!

This year’s New York Times magazine issue covering the ideas of 2008 is an interesting read. The story on Cold Shoulder Science, is particularly interesting! Check it out on the link below.

When you take a new colleague or client out for a coffee, make sure you have a hot drink!!

The first time

I’ve been talking with some people this week about love. I told a story to start a workshop on Winning Submissions (winning business). The story I told as about the first time I fell in love (with Janice as it turns out). Do you remember the first time you fell in love? I’m sure that for most of us it’s such a potent experience that we never forget. But what did we learn? If it was so potent not only would we remember it – but what happened would have shaped us. It would have contributed to our perspective on the world, shaped our beliefs and values. Influenced our behaviours.

Unfortunately my story is a sad one. My love was not returned. Janice only had eyes for Richard. I had been rejected and I didn’t like it. I was only  eight ( I started young!!) and it felt bad, but I learnt somethings.

What did you learn from the first time you fell in love?

Tales of Passion

Here’s a great example of the power of emotion. Author and activist Isabel Allende delivers  tales of passion. What I love about this is that Isabel has you laughing one moment and sad the next. The video runs for 17 minutes, but you’ll see what I mean by 5 minutes 02. It’s quite a performance.

Also I think we need more NZ’s that meet her requirements for good characters – mavericks, dissidents, outsiders, adventurers and rebels. Those with a passionate heart.

NZ’s Barack Obama

Watching our leaders debate last night made me think about Barack Obama! The leaders of our two biggest parties seem tired, boring and self-interested. Their shortcomings highlighted by any comparison with BO. They may both be effective managers, but even before this current global melt-down, I think NZ needed more than just effective management. Both Clarke and Keys fail to convey any sense of engaging emotion. They just say it.

For Helen, she’s saying “trust me”. OK, well the more you say that the more I begin to wonder. Someone please tell Helen that saying ‘you can trust me” doesn’t  doesn’t mean people will trust you. While she is credible and reliable as I leader, she doesn’t connect emotionally and she and John look self-interested in just winning the election. They don’t seem authentic or principled. They will say what it takes to win.

On winning.

If I was John, I’d try and use Labour’s  trust-me message against them. For instance say “Helen is asking NZ to trust her to make decisions for them – I and National, trust NZ to make the right decisions for themselves”.

As for Keys. He wants NZ to be more aspirational. Well, he could start with one himself. What is his aspiration for NZ? Beyond the platitudes about crime, the OECD ladder, etc. If I was Helen, I’d be articulating a compelling vision. I suspect they have one but don’t communicate it well.

So where’s NZ’s BO? I suspect he/she is more likely to come from the Maori or Green parties. Many of their leaders seem real and principled. Will these parties one day challenge the dominance of Labour and National?

Lessons from humour

Here is an old (1958) recording of a speech by Gerard Hoffnung to the Oxford Union. Listen to the bricklayer story about a third of the way in.

I heard it again on the radio over the weekend. It’s very funny for two reasons.

  1. Timing is the essence of comedy. He get’s it perfectly. The power is in the pause.
  2. Gerard paints a picture in your mind before he says what happens. You know exactly what’s going to happen before he says it! And it seems doubly funny.

Make your communication more impactful by using pause and by painting pictures in your ausiences’ mind.

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