Communication Magic – The Five Year Old Plan

Communication Magic

A recent trip to the supermarket with my 5 year old monkey princess and 2 year old b-bear provided a great demonstration of Covey’s first to Understand, then to be Understood Habit focused on how to influence others.  At the end of the day, that is what communication is all about, right?  You are trying to influence an outcome with others.  No matter what the form – email, body language, tone – it really is about influencing the actions/thoughts of others

To share: the Monkey Princess “abracadabra’ed” her little brother into a football whilst doing a grocery shop.

B Bear:”Mummy, the princess just turned me into a football”

Me: “Oh, B Bear, don’t be silly – if she had succeeded, you wouldn’t be able to talk”

Monkey Princess: “haha – Abracadabra, I’ll turn you back into a Bear”

What made this a successful communication by the Monkey Princess?

1. She has perceived power in her brothers eyes – as far as he is concerned, a credible expert in magic.

2. She backs this up by consistent imaginative communication – creating worlds in which to play validates a chosen communication method

3. Her delivery is confident, believable, to the point, and tailored to her audience (use of props in the form of a packet of spaghetti as a magic wand also assisted)

Because of the above combination, her brother instinctively trusts her actions as believable, responds to the communication as desired and as such becomes a talking, (yet disappointed) football!

So how does this translate to work?

1. Develop Self Awarenesswhat is your perceived power, not your positional power? Getting feedback can be tricky, but valuable. Think of how you would like to receive this, and what specifically, you want to develop. How are people currently responding – do they have too much or too little detail?

2. Adaptive Authenticity  If long boring emails aren’t getting the right response, change your approach! If you have a diverse audience, will a visual work better?  How can you bring your authentic self to the task, and be open to how you are being received.  Sometimes we need to dial up, or dial down our individual elements.

3. Practice the Magic Get an action plan to sharpen your communication talent.  This might include a speakers group, presentation course, or finding an honest (repeat honest) person to give constructive feedback on how you are being received.  If this is still an area that is challenging, look for someone in your team who always seems to know the right way to say things and think about delegating or outsourcing to an expert.

4. Close out the loop – watch for responses, or have some performance measures in mind that give you an indication as to whether your message was received as it was intended.

Communication definitely has magical powers when we get it right – actions are inspired, and change can be made…… if only it were as simple as abracadabra!


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