We can, however, learn to master seven power cues of leadership communication by becoming more aware of our unconscious mental activity. As a result you will be rewarded with greater control of conversations, meetings and personal interactions.
While mind control isn’t in the cards, you can learn to become more conscious and intuitive. As author Nick Morgan asserts in Power Cues: The Subtle Science of Leading Groups, Persuading Others, and Maximizing Your Personal Impact (Harvard Business Review Press, 2014):
“Power in human communications and relations is indeed determined largely by the interplay of our unconscious minds…You can learn how to literally synchronize other’s brain waves with your own.”
Two of the power cues author Morgan encourages leaders to master for better communication are:
Are you aware of how you show up when you walk into a room? Do you take control of your presence, and change both your thinking and the messages you send to those around you.
For a long time, we’ve misunderstood or ignored the importance of gestures. Researchers previously thought the gestures that accompany speech were meaningless. We now know they’re meaningful and that they precede speech by a nanosecond or two.
The first step in communication mastery is being aware of and assessing your posture, physical presence and gestures. Keep a journal or take video of yourself to evaluate (as objectively as possible) how you may appear to others.
Self-assessment of your confidence, intuition and charisma starts you on the road to mastering leadership communication.
Take charge of your nonverbal communications to project the persona you intend to project.
Nonverbal behaviors are a natural expression of our feelings. Which emotions do you convey through body language during important moments, conversations, meetings and presentations? When you share your emotions, you can actually influence a group’s mood.
Admittedly, it can be hard to think consciously about body language. Start by focusing on your emotions. Be aware of how you feel about the issue at hand. Focused emotions greatly increase charisma. Align your emotions; be aware of them, for important meetings, conversations and presentations, just as you would organize your content.
When you’re clear and intentional about your emotions, your body language will communicate them naturally. Others pick up on your emotional cues through their mirror neurons. You essentially “leak” your emotions to them.
These are just two of the power cues Morgan talks about in his book. I’ll share the others in following blog posts because they make a lot of sense and can help leaders improve the impact of daily communications.
If you’ve got questions or more insights on this topic, I’d love to hear from you.