I came in to the library with an agenda and accidentally picked up a book – “Power Cues” by Nick Morgan. It was as if the book invited me to pick it up. The author starts with three aspects that transformed his life: The Dalai Lama, My Father, and My Death. This was fascinating to me and invited me to read on. I read only the first two pages and the saw the promise in the book.
I was fascinated by his extremely brief note on Dalai Lama and how he wonderfully manifested happiness in silence instead of talking about it. Dalai Lama supposedly came late by over an hour and as soon as he came, he sat on the floor and just started seeing people around the auditorium. He did this for over 3 minutes; 3 minutes of complete silence. The audience were transfixed too, and then Dalai Lama laughed out with his innocence like a child saying “I better say something really important, I’ve kept you waiting for so long”. Nick mentions how the look and the silence spoke so wonderfully and how the audience connected with the speaker. Dalai Lama may have spoken about the science of happiness through a 3 minute silence than a 3 hour lecture by the most eminent scholars.
He makes a few interesting statements, not all of which are new but worth revisiting:
- Most of our communication is unconscious: The unconscious mind is in charge of us. Our conscious brains can process forty bit of information a second while the unconscious mind handles 11 million bits of information per second.
- Most decisions are made unconsciously and only became aware of them consciously afterward, and the delay can be as long as 9 nano seconds to a few seconds.
- Power in human communications and relations is determined by the interplay of our unconscious minds. There are cues all around us.
- We create leaders to make us feel safe and give us a group purpose or direction. Unlike other animal groups we need and want guidance
- Overly concerned about body language – handshakes, maintaining a confident posture etc – occupy the conscious mind and distract you from what you are from within. This lack of congruence between the unconscious and the conscious can impact the communication.
- Every communication is two conversations: the conscious (verbal / spoken) and the unconscious (non-verbal). Communication is effective when the two align.
- Hands often know something that even the brain does not
Author suggests 7 Power Cues to help improve our communications with self and with the people around us:
- Self-Awareness: How do you show up when you walk into a room?
- Taking charge of your Non-Verbal communications by managing Emotions. What emotions do you convey through your body language for important moments, conversations, meetings and presentations?
- Reading others’ unconscious messages: What unconscious messages are you receiving from others?
- Discovering the mysteries of human voice, how you can turn your voice into a commanding instrument to take charge of a room. Do you have a leadership voice?
- Combining voice and a other Social Signals to increase success rate in meetings and social settings: What honest signals do you send out in key work and social situations?
- Using unconscious mind to make decisions, rid of phobias and fears, and create a more successful persona: is your unconscious mind holding you back or propelling you forward?
- Putting it all together to become a master storyteller who synchronizes brain waves with the listeners to enhance leadership capacity and move others to action: Are you telling powerful stories?
Each of these power cues seem interesting because it moves from how to use self-awareness, emotions, reading others, voice and social signals to make decisions and be a master storyteller. Storytellers captivate the audience by sucking them into the world they want to project.
He presents some interesting recent findings on brain research:
- We gesture before we think consciously about what we are doing!
- We have neurons that fire when we witness someone else expressing emotions – and they give us the exact same emotions
- If we lost our ability to process emotion, we lose our ability to remember or decide anything
- We emit low-frequency sounds that align with the most powerful person around through matching vocal tones
- Our measurable nonverbal signals concerning our confidence in a negotiation predict success or failure far more accurately than the relative merits of our position or what we say
- Neurons are distributed throughout our body, not just in the brain, including the heart and the gut
- When we communicate with others, we align our brain patterns, even if we do not agree with each other
Can’t wait to read the entire book; the start has been quite interesting.