Today, I want to talk about something very different.
I am not going to hit you with yet more reasons to journey down the content marketing trail, discover more about the virtues of an animated video or enrol on some media or presentation skills training session. No, you’ve heard it; you’ve seen it; you’ve tried it; blah blah blah.
Nope, instead today I want to play with your mind.
I want you to know you can communicate more effectively — but that starts with mindset.
First a confession: I’m fascinated by psychology; I have a Masters in it. To be honest, it’s been incredibly useful, not only in a radio studio where I tend to spend a lot of time these days, but in business in general. I love discovering what makes us tick, why we do what we do and how we can all do things better. This takes me on learning journeys where recently I discovered a couple of really rich sources I wanted to share with you.
Knowledge does not equal power
Firstly, you should know about a podcast from Tony Robbins, American motivational speaker, personal finance instructor, and self-help author. In his podcast, The Psychology of Success, Robbins talks about businesses that struggle. We tend to focus on strategy, but according to Robbins, 80 per cent of the time what is stopping your business from succeeding is psychology. Strategy, skills and tools are critical but knowledge isn’t power. Execution always creates greater results than theory and execution starts with psychology.
It’s all the more reason to play mind games today.
All it takes is a small nudge
Secondly, listen to an incredible Ted Radio Hour podcast episode called Nudge. We are creatures of habit, and yet with one little nudge we can change our behaviour. When it comes to this new world of communicating, I’m going to argue all it takes for us to communicate better is to make a tiny tweak to what we’ve done in the past.
According to Richard Thaler, the secret is to keep it simple. Generally speaking we tend to stick with what we know and what has worked in the past. But what worked in the media and communication world a few years ago now fails big time. By that measure we have to seek alternatives. But with choice we can become paralysed. What if we make the wrong choice?
Change your default mode
Thaler argues the easiest way to make a choice is to reverse the choice. That means making the current new world of communications your default. You can always opt out and go back to your safe, tried and tested world but see what happens when you embrace the new model. Give yourself a simple “nudge”.
Are you aware of what’s really going on?
Instead of fighting the changes we now face when it comes to marketing and communication expenditure, what if we take more notice of what’s happening instead. According to psychiatrist Judson Brewer being mindful can curb addiction. You don’t have to be convinced about the new communication world, you just need to be aware of your sensations and how disenchanted you are with your current situation. Don’t fight it; be conscious of it.
To extend that thought to marketers, be aware of how you’re spending your budgets today. Ask yourself these simple questions:
- Is how you are marketing today really working for you?
- Is there a better alternative?
And then take action:
- Get the brain to re-frame the experience
- Take off the glasses of subjective bias
- Step out of the habits you’ve created in your business communication
- Notice the urge to do it the old way - get curious, feel the joy of letting go and repeat.
Growth or fixed mindset?
We love our comfort zones. That’s human nature. But cues from around us have the power to change our mindset. We often restrict our world purely to what we’re good at and what’s worked for us in the past. And yet, according to Carol Dweck, a Professor at Standford University and author of Mindset, from an early age most of us love a challenge. We love to be pushed. This is a growth mindset. By being more growth-minded our talents can be developed through hard work and strategies.
Others have a fixed mindset. It’s easy to recognise the fixed mindset. In your mind you’ll hear “Watch out. Don’t go there. It’s new territory”. But if we think, “This is fun. This is new. This is challenging,” we move into a growth mindset. It offers an infinite future and one consisting of possibility.
When it comes to communication and marketing are you adopting a growth mindset or a fixed mindset? This world is moving fast. My worry is if you’re not growing today you’re potentially being left behind.
The final mile
At the start I said this post was about playing with your mind, and not hitting you with facts, figures, or examples of communication success stories. The best conclusion comes from Professor of Economics at Harvard University, Sendhil Mullainathan, who says the key to unlocking this new world is to remove the psychological blockage. So often 99 per cent of our arguments are science-based — based on facts and reason and experience. If we want to truly change, how much of what we do focuses on changing human behaviour? I’d argue from today we should focus our attention on this final one per cent.
If you’d like to work with a team that can help you unlock the potential of your business, get in touch.
Like what you’ve read? Sign up to the Lush newsletter (top right-hand side of this page) for fortnightly advice to help you market your business better, tips from our video production gurus, and a podcast or two from our favourite podcasting team, Brand Newsroom. In the meantime, you might enjoy reading these:
Thinking instead of doing [podcast]