5 ways to dramatically advance your self-development with communication

communication

“The way we communicate with ourselves and others ultimately determines the quality of our lives.” – Tony Robbins 

Communication and self-development are two concepts inextricably linked to one another, you cannot improve one without improving the other.

Effective communication is your ability to clearly articulate information and ideas to yourself and others.

If you think about it, our entire lives are influenced by how effectively we can communicate concepts;

  • By effectively communicating to an interview panel we can advance our careers
  • By defining our personal goals, with clarity, we can construct efficient paths to success
  • If we properly and genuinely communicate with a significant other, we can have more meaningful and long-lasting relationships.

We cannot expect to advance our lives without mastering the art of communication. So, here are 5 ways to improve your communication and in turn enhance your self-development.

1. Communicate with intention

When you communicate, in any context, communicate with intention. Don’t just state facts to yourself or your audience, explain the relevance of why this information is important. For example, if your personal goal is to make X amount per month, always support this goal with your intention. This type of communication is far more influential than just listing points. It adds meaning and inspires action. Everything becomes clearer with a purpose.

2. Support your communication with emotion

If you want to inspire yourself, or anybody else in your life, you need to be emotive in your communications. This doesn’t mean become dramatic or overly enthusiastic but simply be true to your emotions. If a particular piece of information makes you feel excited, show it. If something you are communicating makes you feel sad, then don’t be afraid of showing vulnerability. “Stone-faced” communications are both boring and uninspiring. Further, when you allow yourself to connect your emotions, to external information, you are increasing your own self-awareness by understanding how you interact with the noisy world around you.

3. Relate communications to stories

By giving context to your communications, through stories, you can become a highly engaging communicator. The stories you rely upon should be real-life events and not fictional fairy tales. Stories help yourself, and others to comprehensively understand new information by relating it to similar past experiences. It gives your communications much-needed context and is also a bulletproof way for you and others to actually remember the information.

4. Be mindful of phrasing

The way your phrase communications has a powerful impact on your motivation. For example, when you are thinking about what you need to complete in a day, how often do you say “I have to do”, as opposed to “I get to do”, something? The people who’ve built the most fulfilling and successful lifestyles are those that spend the majority of their time in the “I get to” zone. This type of self-communication actually redefines how you perceive your life. If you spend more time in the “I get to” zone, you boost your self-confidence, morale, self-control and overall self-development. It’s a communication trick that increases your daily motivation.

5. Simply communicate

Injecting unnecessary big words into your communications only stands to make what you say, confusing. If you can’t explain something in a few sentences than, you haven’t grasped the concept and your audience won’t either. Intelligent and effective communication is about clarity. Express all communications, in their simplest form. If a complicated word is the only way to express a point, then, of course, use it but don’t bolster information with long words to simply show intelligence because, in fact, it communicates the contrary. Learning how to simplify concepts also helps you to understand what you want from your life. Goals might sound great on paper, but when broken down to their core concepts might not actually provide what you desire. Ensure you understand every concept within your career and personal goal sphere, by breaking it down to it’s simplest form.

If you are determined to enhance your communication skills there is no better way to do this than by hiring an experienced coaching or mentoring provider. Professional coaching providers will find a coach most suited to you and your personal needs. Find out more here.

Why internal communication is the secret to growth and innovation

internal communication

Joe Fredericks, founding director of PCA Law has helped to deliver communications training to over 150 clients since 2001, including over 30 leading global law firms and 20 FTSE 100 organizations.

In his recent keynote speech for Thomson Reuters, Elite Vantage NYC 2018, Fredericks revealed some key communications secrets helping top global firms to dominate their industries.

Fredericks explained, that “internal communication” is often overlooked by firms seeking to grow and innovate but it’s one of the biggest influencers impacting organizational growth. As such, those firms paying attention to internal communication can expect (and have seen) huge rewards.

On this note, Fredericks took his audience back to the “communications basics” and covered what many firms are lacking in their internal communication.

Internal communication – Why does it matter?

Great internal communication is at the heart of any successful organization. It’s a core component to employee engagement initiatives, internal work process, and motivated, unified teams across an organization.

If internal communication is functioning properly, organizations can expect to see the following benefits;

  • Team members feel more supported, have higher morals and are less at risk of burnout
  • Overall work productivity is higher (clearer delegation, fewer mistakes & more motivation)
  • With increased internal fluidity and less “hiccups” employees have more time to focus on client needs

All of these factors contribute to business growth and allow organizations to grow as they have the required internal structures to support innovation.

How to implement great internal communication

Fredericks explained two key equations, utilized by top firms to create effective internal communication.

The Trust Equation

One key ingredient to effective communication, especially in relation to business growth, is building trust.

Fredericks used the “trust equation” to show an individual’s thought process when considering whether to establish a relationship of trust.

Trust = Credibility + Reliability + Intimacy / Self-orientation

So, when seeking to establish trust in clients or colleagues one must score highly on credibility, reliability, and intimacy and have a low self-orientation score.

Commercial Application Equation

This equation supports organizational innovation.

In most cases, the word “failure” comes with a negative connotation, but Fredericks noted that one cannot innovate and grow without failing and added, that it is important to have conversations about why something went wrong within an organization. Avoiding failure is not conducive to growth. If employees do not feel like they can try something different, how can a business expect to innovate?

Fredericks used the Commercial Application Equation to explain how failure assists innovation.

Organization Confidence + Client Creativity + Productive Failure = Commercial Appreciation

“Productive failure” means to change how we see mistakes, it means embracing failure. Organizations should feel confident and empowered enough, to tell clients that they may not have been successful in the course of an initiative. In fact, Fredericks explains, the ability to embrace failure demonstrates organizational experience, in that it has grown and experimented with more effective ways of executing a task or developing innovation. Through failure, teams learn to improve and be better. The Commercial Application Equation is a useful tool for developing “the next big thing.“

Internal communications can positively transform organizations in terms of both growth and innovation. It drives organizational productivity and helps employees develop defining qualities to form deep relationships and engage in two-way conversations that eliminate bureaucracy. It is a win/win for any organization and a determinative factor for those firms seeking to remain competitive in today’s market.

To hear more from Joe Fredericks listen to his podcast interview where he discusses some of the challenges facing modern law firms and how they address them.  To listen, click here or to download and listen later, right-click

 

 

 

Habits of highly engaging communicators

engaging

When a conversation feels like a world of opportunity, instead of a burden, you’re likely speaking to a highly engaging communicator. You could listen to them for hours. The conversation is rewarding and you feel excited the entire time. Why can’t all conversations be like this? Well, they can be for you, if you pay attention to the habits of highly engaging communicators and inject them into your own conversations.

1. They go beyond small talk

They have a twinkle in their eye when you speak to them and you can just tell they are willing to take the conversation to a different place. They go a little deeper than the surface, how deep typically depending on the recipient. The most important point here is that engaging speakers, are not afraid to take conversations outside of the norm and that is what makes them so captivating.

2. They have energy

This is a mix between animation and charisma. It’s often difficult to articulate but when you speak with them you feel energized. They give you ideas, inspiration and will take your mind to new places. They are not overboard, or obnoxious but their gesticulations, make you excited and draw you into their words until you lose track of time.

3. They make it personal

They are not afraid of taking you into their personal life. They don’t play poker, they play honesty with a dash of vulnerability and this makes them incredibly engaging. We are far more likely to relate to people when they share personal stories. We are also more likely to remember these anecdotes because during the story we relate it back to ourselves. It’s an excellent method for leaving a footprint in the mind of your audience.

4. They illustrate why you should care

They don’t just spew their story and expect you to like it, they make a point of illustrating why they are telling you this particular story. They deliver everything with meaning. They give you context and ensure to explain what the point meant for them and what it can mean for you.

5. They ask questions

Conversations are not a one-way street and engaging communicators know this very well. They won’t speak for too long without asking for input from their audience. They don’t want to monopolize the conversation, so they make sure to ask questions. Conversations should be a win/win for all those involved, not a one-man show.

6. They tell stories

The most engaging communicators are also wonderful storytellers. Stories are not only entertaining but they also help to bring context and detail to descriptions that could otherwise feel intangible. They create 3D conversations. You start to attach images to the words you hear and even take yourself into the story. I have written extensively on the value of storytelling here and how to include it in your own communications.

7. They make eye contact

Eye contact builds fire. When someone stares into your eyes, you become more present. It’s no wonder that the most engaging communicators are well versed in the art of eye contact. Not too much, otherwise it’s intrusive but just the right amount of eye contact to make their recipient(s) feel engaged and almost, special. Eye contact demonstrates that the speaker is devoting their full attention to the conversation and usually, they can expect the same in return.

The two types of self awareness and why leaders need both

self-awareness

Self-awareness is the not so new leadership buzzword. Science suggests that when we are more self-aware we are more confident, innovative and empathetic, it even enhances our communication and decision-making abilities. All of these aforementioned qualities are the hallmarks of a good leader. Those with enhanced self-awareness are more effective leaders, fact. Bold statement but it’s reflective of decades of leadership research. So, how can you enhance your self-awareness? The first step is to understand the concept of self-awareness.

Self-awareness

There are two types of self-awareness. Whilst the definition of self-awareness is not set in stone, all schools of thought identify its internal and external characteristics. Self-awareness is the clarity in which we see ourselves “internal” and also our ability to perceive how others view us “external”.

It’s easy to assume that being high on one type of self-awareness would mean you are high on the other but, this is not the case. Research suggests that leaders tend to focus on internal self-awareness and this could be their biggest downfall. Leaders who practice external self-awareness and see themselves as their employees do have a better relationship with them, feel more satisfied with them, and typically execute more effective leadership over them.

Leaders must therefore actively work on both elements of self-awareness – seeing themselves clearly and getting feedback to understand how others see them.

The self-awareness traps

To ensure you don’t inhibit your self-awareness development here are some common traps, leaders have been shown to fall into;

1. Over-confidence

An interesting statistic shows that more-experienced managers are worse at assessing their self-awareness abilities in comparison to less experienced managers. This is the over-confidence trap that many leaders fall into. Believing you know everything closes your mind to new knowledge and increases your chance of mistakes. Don’t let yourself fall into this trap, regardless of your level of experience you can always learn more and be better.

2. Introspection is not the path to self-awareness

Contrary to popular belief, people who practice introspection – the examination of our own thoughts and feelings – are actually less self-aware than others and even report worse overall job satisfaction and well-being. Why? Research shows that we don’t have access to many of the unconscious thoughts, feelings and internal influencers we seek to find through introspection. So, much of the information surrounding self-awareness is trapped outside of our conscious and if we can’t find the answers we may invent answers that feel true but are often wrong – leading to false conclusions.

How to increase self-awareness

In her new book, Insight, organizational psychologist Tasha Eurich reveals her analysis of people that have drastically increased their self-awareness.

In a series of surveys, Eurich found that 95% of people think they’re self-aware, but only 10-15% truly are.

Eurich, thankfully for us, states to become more self-aware there only two points to address, each focusing on internal and external awareness;

1. Building internal self-awareness 

Eurich cautions against writing lengthy journal entries, these can force you to go deeper than required and attach meaning where you don’t have the answers. Instead, Eurich suggests a more practical approach of looking for themes and patterns in your work. Try to replace the “Why?” of introspection with the “What” of practicality. For example, at the end of every day, Eurich recommends asking yourself, “What went well today? What did I learn that I might do differently? Whose perspective can I get if I’m having a particular challenge?”

2. Building external self-awareness 

Eurich suggests finding a “loving critic” at work. Asking all your colleagues for feedback is overwhelming. Instead, find one person who wants you to succeed and is also unafraid to tell you the naked truth. Take them out to lunch, letting him or her know in advance what you’re looking for. To lead the conversation, Eurich suggests asking things like, “What do I do that adds the most value to our team? What’s the thing I do that’s detracting from our success?”

The self-awareness path isn’t easy but with your focus on the right things, you can be on your way incredibly effective leadership and higher overall work/life satisfaction.

 

If you are interested in finding out where you are on the self-awareness scale an incredibly useful test by Harvard Business Review can be found here.

What could your career look like without fear?

fear

Whilst typically understood as a negative emotion, fear has a purpose. It penetrates our thoughts for a reason and the more we ignore it, the more we are at risk of suffering from its undesired consequences.

Fear has become a great method of influence for many areas of society. We are continually faced with “fear ultimatums”. Politicians incite fear to win votes, governments use fear to keep society in check and parents use fear to discipline their children. Fear plays a big role in our lives.

In a career context, because we are so used to co-existing with fear we forget to monitor it. Fear-driven thoughts can sabotage our careers if left unchecked. This is because fear can alter our perceptions and reduce our desire to chase opportunities because we mistake them as “threats”- when in reality we are just scared.

Imagine what your career would look like without fear? Who could you be?  In order to break down your fear barriers, you must understand your particular fears and triggers.

Breakdown of common fears

Fear of success

Did you know that fear of success is just as common as fear of failure? Many of us have been conditioned to believe that success exists with risks such as disappointment, financial loss. competition or envy.These terms create a mental picture that success comes with negative baggage. Fear of success can lead you to unconsciously sabotage your goals. This type of fear is harder to identify than the fear of failure, mainly because it is less understood. Success is unknown territory, you might feel like you’re on a stage but you don’t know the script and that is scary. But when you really boil down your fears – fear of embarrassment, disappointment or even competition, is it really so scary? What’s the worst that can happen? Is it better to stay safe in your comfort zone, never making anything of yourself? Only you know the answer.

Fear of Failure 

This is the most commonly understood fear which inhibits the success of many. The fear of failing is often driven by perfectionism. A need to always have a perception of intelligence, control or beauty. The need to never come across as a human. The truth is that the energy spent worrying about what others think, is almost always a waste of our time. This fear prevents you from learning important lessons from mistakes, lessons that created our leaders of today. You can’t pay for this type of personal and professional growth – it’s invaluable – but your fear of failure can prevent you from paying attention. You can box yourself into being average if you decide your failure is a sign of incompetence. How you choose to react to failure will make or break your career. It can either be a lesson or a barrier, the outcome is your choice.

How to break away from fear in your career

  1. Identify every fear you have when you vision your ultimate success. Name each fear, for example, Nelson or Wilfred. Make your fears less intimidating, befriend them. Use their names to identify them when they show up, “Nelson’s back!” This will help you to consciously separate your fears from your mind when it matters most.
  2. Identify your triggers. Really dig deep and find out why you have these fears. Are you lacking in confidence? Did someone talk down to you and you let their words become your reality? Only when you face your fears, can you truly be free from them?

For more advice about how to break away from your career fears, read this useful blog @Forbes

How technology adds more hours to your day

technology

As technology evolves, so do the fears of it’s impact on our personal lives. Whilst it’s normal and at times, warranted to be nervous of how technology is going to effect our brains (and social skills) there is also another, more positive, side to the coin.

Technology can give us back some of our precious time so that we can have personal lives and a career. What if instead of viewing tech as the downfall of humanity, we considered it as a way to enhance our lives by helping us to make more time to spend with the people we love? Let’s face it, working days are not getting shorter but we can find ways, with the help of technology, to live and work without burning out.

Here are some of the ways tech can add more hours to our 24 hour day;

1. Organization

Apps like Evernote syncs all of your to-do lists, documents and reminders in one place. Helping you to never forget anything. It also gives you the freedom to write ideas and your to-do items in a safe place, where you will be reminded to execute them. Dropbox is another life-saver, keeping all your files, photos, docs, and videos in one place – you can share your files with anyone even if they don’t have an account and everything is automatically synced and backed up – it means you have access to your files, from anywhere and you don’t need to be chained to your desk when it matters most. Finally, if you’ve ever needed a personal assistant, the app 24me is for you. Your calendar, to-do lists, accounts, and documents are centralized in one place, and your errands can be completed by one tap. You can receive billing, event, and birthday reminders and even have the app pay your bills and/or send gifts to friends. The app goes as far as telling you when you should leave for your commitments based on current traffic.

2. Productivity

Ever wonder how many hours a day you waste doing nothing productive? Well, theres an app for that. Hours will track the time you spend on tasks versus the time you spend on distractions. At the end of the week it gives you a ROI of your time. This helps you see how you utilize your hours each day and eliminate any waste. For powering through your to-do list, Momentum is a focus app. It seeks to keep you focused on one task a time and if you deviate from your task, it reminds you of your working objective. It can be used for tasks, but crucially it helps you to form healthy habits for long term changes in your productivity.

3. Work/Life Balance

There are some great apps to help you strike the ideal balance between home and work, for example Way of Life helps you to eliminate bad habits that get in the way of your work/life balance such as, lack of sleep, poor diet and develop good ones instead. You create daily/weekly goals and track whether or not you are meeting them. Another golden gem is Cozi Family Organiser, the app allows you to manage and sync your families appointments and activities so that you never miss out on your child(s) special event or even story time. The app even allows you to collect memories such as favourite restaurants/recipes so that you can be there for your family, amidst workplace chaos. Other helpful apps you should download are your grocery shops app – this can simply be downloaded from their website. This allows you to order your weekly groceries, from your desk, for delivery at a convenient time at your home – saving you time and unnecessary stress.

 

 

Are these communication pitfalls holding you back?

communication

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that is has taken place.”  George Bernard Shaw

 

Communication is the most powerful leadership discipline in existance. Great leaders influence, motivate and inspire. These activities could simply not be executed on behalf of the leader without excellent communication.

Too often, leaders and professional communicators get trapped in self-deafeating tactics, and fail to influence people in line with their desired goals.

Here is a list of common communication pitfalls that typically work against us. They’re not necessarily wrong and at times, difficult to entirely eliminate but the idea is to be conscious of when you and others use them and to not let them get in the way of great communication.

1.Needing to be right

This common trap can come from an innate need to be respected. The desire to be right, at all costs, can be very destructive. You begin to close your mind to other ideas. Innovation occurs at the cross road between two contrasting ideas but if you are not willing to see any other inputs you stagnate creativity. Instead of responding with “No, I think this..” Respond with “Why do you think that?…” You can always learn from everyone around you, you just need to tweak your mindset. Further, when those around you feel included in the decision making it boosts morale and increases productivity in the workplace.

2.Being competitive

Our basic human instinct of wanting to come across as the most knowledgable can often get in the way of good communication. This tendency often interjects into conversations in the following way “I know”, or “I’ve done that too”. This can ruin communication because quite simply it’s deflating to be around someone who is impossible to impress. Remember this Zen proverb next time you feel compelled to compete, or rise to someone competing with you in a conversation, “Knowledge is learning something every day. Wisdom is letting go of something every day.”

3. Repetition instead of direction

It’s common for people to repeat and reframe when they feel they didn’t accurately get their message across. This is a redundant solution. In fact it makes your message less credible. What you should do, is be direct to the person your are communicating with, “I see that you’re not responding to this point, is there a reason?” This takes the conversation to a deeper, more connected level and equally ensures more efficient communication.

4. People pleasing

When we see another person “people pleasing”, i.e deviating from their beliefs in order to adhere to another, we immediately lose respect for them. Leaders cannot afford to loose this kind of influence. Honesty and authenticity are the key foundations for strong communication. While we all have this innate desire to have other people like us, it’s a question of degree. Ultimately, this is not a communication issue but a self-awareness issue. Leaders must be aware of how they are perceived and of what innate human drivers can hinder their influence to others.

 

6 ways to improve your communication today

communication

Leadership and communication go hand in hand. How we communicate with others is integral to our success. Communication is a leadership skill that has multiple dimensions, verbal, non-verbal, and written, so if you want to get better at this critical skill, here are some proven strategies to learn;

1. Learn the basics of body language

Nonverbal communication accounts for 55 percent of how a public speaker is perceived. This means that the majority of what you say is communicated not through words, but through body language. Things like posture and eye contact matter. Stand tall and look people in the eye. Crossing your arms or reducing your size, in any way, communicates closed body language and a lack of confidence. Read more on body language here.

2. Get rid of filler words

Things like “Ummm” may seem innocuous but they drastically reduce the persuasive value of what you’re saying. Most of us use them out of habit. One way to get rid of them is to start keeping track of when you say words like “um” or “like.” You can also start to try to pause before you speak. Silence is not always bad, in fact, it communicates confidence and control and be assured that the silences feel longer to you, than they do to your audience.

3. Lead with empathy, not ego

When we have to have difficult discussions try to always lead with empathy. This means instead of using judgment “What you did was wrong/unacceptable”, start with “Why did you decided to do that?” or “How could I have helped you more in this situation?” or “How was this in your eyes?”. This takes you into an open and honest conversation where the other person can feel comfortable responding. This will help you to find solutions far more effectively and also build respect in those around you.

4. Listen, actually listen

One of the best things you can do to improve your communication skills is to learn to listen. So many of us are just waiting to respond. However, an effective conversation is a line of words elegantly connected with listening. So, instead of responding with “yes, but”, try and replace it with a follow-up question. Let people finish what they are saying and don’t interrupt if that is your inclination. Genuinely, listen to the speaker. These simple skills can go a long way in building trust with those around you.

5. Make your communication two way

Ask more questions and seek feedback. This is different to listening and more about keeping your mind open to input from others. The most successful people and companies are the most flexible. Asking questions about how others feel about a given topic or how they think something could be done better puts you in an active role. Asking questions is also a core leadership skill, it builds trust and keeps your mind open to innovation.

6. Create stories

Stories are powerful. They activate our brains, make presentations engaging and make us more persuasive than others. Use stories to bolster a point, “I think we should do it this way because of a time..”, use it to create trust, or prove characteristic points about yourself to a new audience for example, “I believe I can do this, because…” In its simplest form, a story is a description of cause and effect. Everything in our brain is looking for the cause and effect relationship of something we’ve previously experienced. This is simply how humans are wired. Stories help you to make your points stronger and are more memorable for your audience.

How great leaders inspire a loyal following

How great leaders inspire a loyal following

In the summer of 1963, 250,000 loyal people showed up to watch Martin Luther King give a speech in Washington. They sent out no invitations and there was no website to check the date. Dr King certainly wasn’t the only great civil rights orator of the day. Why did all these people show to see him?

In 2015, Apple posted the highest grossing quarter in world history. Apple are just like any other computer company right? Wrong. For example, Apple and Dell started selling roughly the same products, but Apple manages to have customers queuing outside of its branches, for hours, before the release of a new product. How does Apple inspire such a loyal following?

All the great inspiring leaders and organisations in the world, whether it’s Apple or Martin Luther King, they all think, act and communicate the exact same way. And its the exact opposite to everybody else. Its probably the worlds simplest idea but yet the best kept secret in the businesses world, until now. Simon Sinek author of Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action  has codified this communication secret. He calls this secret formula “The Golden Circle”.

Black and white photo of a lion

The Golden Circle

Sinek uses the “Golden Circle” to explain his concept. The “Golden Circle” consists of three layers;

  • Why: this is the communication of a core belief and why they believe their idea or business will make a difference. Importantly this core belief is not motivated by profit.
  • How: this is how the business fulfils the core belief.
  • What: this is what the company produces that, in turn, fulfils their core belief.

Remember Martin Luther king’s speech? He didn’t go around telling people what needed to change in America. He instead told people what he believed. He started with why “I believe, I believe, I believe,” he told people. And people who believed what he believed took his cause and were inspired to follow him.

Non-leading businesses or politicians, do the exact opposite of “The Golden Circle” they start with;

  • what and they communicate their plan or product.
  • Some may know, how, they produce this product or service.
  • Crucially, non-leaders will rarely know, why, they do, what they do. i.e why they are putting their idea to their audience for reasons not motivated by money.

It is the, why, when communicated properly that creates the loyalty. Back to the example of “Apple” and “Dell”, the key difference is that Apple, started with why.

Apple, before making its products, identified its audience as people with similar core beliefs. Apple asked;

“Do you, like us, believe in pursuing innovation? We will do this by making technology simple to use and reliable. We will produce this in the form of laptops/phones.”

By explaining why first, Apple, communicated to their audience a set of values. People, identified with these values and, in turn, purchased Apple products. Dell, in comparison, told their audience what they had;

“A new innovative product, that is perfectly designed”.

However, without the why, Dell’s communication was uninspiring to its audience.

So, why is starting with the ‘why’ so powerful?

People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it” explains Sinek.

It’s that simple. If you share a mutual core belief with your audience, they will want to buy from you, not your competitors. People are loyal to their own beliefs.

This principle, according to Sinek, is not a psychological truth, it is a biological truth. The Limbic system, is the part of the human brain that controls behaviour such as motivation, decision-making and loyalty. The Limbic system, does not have the capacity for language and has been conceptualised as, the ‘feeling and reacting brain’ that is interposed with the ‘thinking brain’. During a decision-making process, humans will have a ‘feeling’ (sometimes known as a gut-feeling), which will then be rationalised using language they can understand, such as product description or cost – by another part of the brain. Sinek argues that, generally, even if the product or price description is pleasing, people won’t go for it if they don’t have the right, ‘feeling’. This principle is even more prominent in service industries, such as law or coaching where trusted relationships are critical.

By starting with ‘why’ businesses can communicate their core beliefs to their target audience. When people resonate with these beliefs and follow their ‘good feelings’ in their Limbic brain, their behaviour is motivated emotionally, by feelings of loyalty and trust – which for businesses produces a client, for life.

How great leaders inspire a loyal following

How great leaders inspire a loyal following

In the summer of 1963, 250,000 loyal people showed up to watch Martin Luther King give a speech in Washington. They sent out no invitations and there was no website to check the date. Dr King certainly wasn’t the only great civil rights orator of the day. Why did all these people show to see him?

In 2015, Apple posted the highest grossing quarter in world history. Apple are just like any other computer company right? Wrong. For example, Apple and Dell started selling roughly the same products, but Apple manages to have customers queuing outside of its branches, for hours, before the release of a new product. How does Apple inspire such a loyal following?

All the great inspiring leaders and organisations in the world, whether it’s Apple or Martin Luther King, they all think, act and communicate the exact same way. And its the exact opposite to everybody else. Its probably the worlds simplest idea but yet the best kept secret in the businesses world, until now.Simon Sinek author of Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action through studying inspiring leaders has codified this simple but powerful technique to obtain loyalty. He calls this formula “The Golden Circle”.

Loyal following for your business

This communication technique, allows businesses to create a loyal following, without even really trying.

The Golden Circle

Sinek uses the “Golden Circle” to explain his concept. The “Golden Circle” consists of three layers;

  • Why: this is the communication of a core belief and why they believe their idea or business will make a difference. Importantly this core belief is not motivated by profit.
  • How: this is how the business fulfils their core belief.
  • What: this is what the company produces that, in turn, fulfils their core belief.

Remember Martin Luther king’s speech? He didn’t go around telling people what needed to change in America. He instead told people what he believed. He started with why “I believe, I believe, I believe,” he told people. And people who believed what he believed took his cause and were inspired to follow him.

Non-leading businesses or politicians, do the exact opposite of “The Golden Circle” they start with;

  • what and they communicate their plan or product
  • Some may know, how, they produce this product or service.
  • Crucially, non-leaders will rarely know, why, they do, what they do. i.e why they are putting their idea to their audience for reasons not motivated by money.

It is the, why, when communicated properly that creates the loyalty. Back to the example of “Apple” and “Dell”, the key difference is that Apple, started with why.

Apple, before making its products, identified its audience as people with similar core beliefs. Apple asked;

“Do you, like us, believe in pursuing innovation? We will do this by making technology simple to use and reliable. We will produce this in the form of laptops/phones.”

By explaining why first, Apple, communicated to their audience a set of values. People, identified with these values and, in turn, purchased Apple products. Dell, in comparison, told their audience what they had;

“A new innovative product, that is perfectly designed”.

However, without the why, Dell’s communication was uninspiring to its audience.

So, why is starting with the ‘why’ so powerful?

People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it” explains Sinek.

It’s that simple. If you share a mutual core belief with your audience, they will want to buy from you, not your competitors. People are loyal to their own beliefs.

This principle, according to Sinek, is not a psychological truth, it is a biological truth. The Limbic system, is the part of the human brain that controls behaviour such as motivation, decision-making and loyalty. The Limbic system, does not have the capacity for language and has been conceptualised as, the ‘feeling and reacting brain’ that is interposed with the ‘thinking brain’. During a decision-making process, humans will have a ‘feeling’ (sometimes known as a gut-feeling), which will then be rationalised using language they can understand, such as product description or cost – by another part of the brain. Sinek argues that, generally, even if the product or price description is pleasing, people won’t go for it if they don’t have the right, ‘feeling’. This principle is even more prominent in service industries, such as law or coaching where trusted relationships are critical.

By starting with ‘why’ businesses can communicate their core beliefs to their target audience. When people resonate with these beliefs and follow their ‘good feelings’ in their Limbic brain, their behaviour is motivated emotionally, by feelings of loyalty and trust – which for businesses produces a client, for life.

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