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How to Plant an Idea in Someone’s Mind

How to Plant an Idea in Someone’s Mind

If you’ve seen the movie Inception, then you’ll know that DiCaprio’s character is a professional thief who steals information by infiltrating the subconscious minds of his victims. However, his criminality leads him to become an international fugitive. Because of this, he accepts a deal for one last job that will see his criminal record being wiped clean. The job? Rather than stealing information from people’s subconscious minds – he’s asked to implant an idea into one.

Of course, Inception is just a movie – pure fiction. But the idea of planting an idea into someone’s mind is not.

You can’t necessarily access someone’s dreams, but you can have access to their subconscious, where their most influential thoughts and ideas come from.

It’s where inception can take place.

The Subconscious Mind’s Secret

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    The subconscious mind is a like a giant memory bank that stores all your beliefs, memories and life experiences.

    And the information stored in your subconscious mind affects the way you behave and act in life.

    Interestingly, the way the subconscious mind works is that, as well as affecting your behavior and actions, it can also affect your perception of events. To give you an example of this, think back to when you were at school. If you loved school, positive memories will quickly come into your mind. Conversely, if you hated school, negative memories will pop into your mind. (You may also notice that it’s virtually impossible to stop the memories coming back to you.)

    The subconscious mind is more than just a storehouse for our thoughts and emotions, however. It’s also constantly at work perceiving our surroundings and experiences.[1]

    Inception in Reality

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      Since the subconscious mind picks up little things it’s exposed to, influencing it involves some subtle ways.

      Step 1: Find the nugget

      Try listening and observing closely to see what a person cares about most.

      If you do this, you’ll quickly understand that almost everything a person does will be based around the things and people they care most about. In fact, this is how our identities are formed.

      One trick to find out a person’s interests and motivations is to ask them lots of questions. Be curious about their lives, and you’ll learn about the things they are concerned about. For example, just by asking what their plans are for the weekend, you might discover the places they like to go, and the people and groups they like to hang out with.

      Step 2: Build the dream

      Once you’ve formed a clear picture of a person’s identity, the next step is to frame your ideas in their particular language.

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      By understanding a person, you’ll know how they talk, what they like, what they don’t like, and what their hopes and dreams are. With this knowledge, it’s easy to start with their needs and wants, and continue to talk in a way that they will accept and feel comfortable with.

      For instance, if you wanted to sell an accountancy service to a freelancer, you’d have the best chance of succeeding if you spoke in their language. In this case, it would most likely involve you talking about freelance work, and the inherent risks and benefits of it. If you showed that you understood their world – they would be open to listening to you.

      Step 3: Inception

      Next, instead of telling them directly about the perks of your idea, talk around the outskirts of the idea.

      To do this, toss hints, but don’t say everything. Instead, let the person think that it’s them discovering it. It’s always easier for people to execute an idea if they think it has come from themselves.[2]

      Continuing the example of selling an accountancy service to a freelancer, if you’ve managed to grab their attention through your understanding of the freelance life, then the next and final step, is to leave some positive suggestions in their mind. You could do this by explaining how your service has helped other people save time, hassle, and penalties for late tax declarations, etc.

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      The idea is that you drop just enough hints to the person that perhaps in a day or two their subconscious mind will prompt them to take action. In the example above, this means they’ll likely contact you asking to take up your service.[3]

      Persuasion Is a Superpower

      In life, it’s vital to be able to persuade others.

      A good example of this, is when you need to interview for a job you really want. If you’re nervous and unconvincing, you’ll leave the wrong impression – and most likely fail to land the job. If, on the other hand, you know how to plant the right ideas and impressions into the interviewers’ subconscious minds – you’ll have a great chance of securing the role.

      So, follow the three simple steps above, and start to become a powerfully persuasive individual. Your success in life depends on it.

      Reference

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      Anna Chui

      Anna is the Chief Editor and Content Strategist of Lifehack. She's also a communication expert who shares tips on motivation and relationships.

      The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You The Purpose Of Friendship: The Only 4 Types Of Friends You Need In Life How Self-Doubt Keeps You Stuck (And How to Overcome It) How to Live Life to the Fullest and Enjoy Each Day 30 Books Everyone Should Read At Least Once In Their Lives

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      Published on May 18, 2021

      How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

      How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

      We have two ears and one mouth for a reason—effective communication is dependent on using them in proportion, and this involves having good listening skills.

      The workplace of the 21st century may not look the same as it did before COVID-19 spread throughout the world like wildfire, but that doesn’t mean you can relax your standards at work. If anything, Zoom meetings, conference calls, and the continuous time spent behind a screen have created a higher level of expectations for meeting etiquette and communication. And this goes further than simply muting your microphone during a meeting.

      Effective workplace communication has been a topic of discussion for decades, yet, it is rarely addressed or implemented due to a lack of awareness and personal ownership by all parties.

      Effective communication isn’t just about speaking clearly or finding the appropriate choice of words. It starts with intentional listening and being present. Here’s how to improve your listening skills for effective workplace communication.

      Listen to Understand, Not to Speak

      There are stark differences between listening and hearing. Listening involves intention, focused effort, and concentration, whereas hearing simply involves low-level awareness that someone else is speaking. Listening is a voluntary activity that allows one to be present and in the moment while hearing is passive and effortless.[1]

      Which one would you prefer your colleagues to implement during your company-wide presentation? It’s a no-brainer.

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      Listening can be one of the most powerful tools in your communication arsenal because one must listen to understand the message being told to them. As a result of this deeper understanding, communication can be streamlined because there is a higher level of comprehension that will facilitate practical follow-up questions, conversations, and problem-solving. And just because you heard something doesn’t mean you actually understood it.

      We take this for granted daily, but that doesn’t mean we can use that as an excuse.

      Your brain is constantly scanning your environment for threats, opportunities, and situations to advance your ability to promote your survival. And yet, while we are long past the days of worrying about being eaten by wildlife, the neurocircuitry responsible for these mechanisms is still hard-wired into our psychology and neural processing.

      A classic example of this is the formation of memories. Case in point: where were you on June 3rd, 2014? For most of you reading this article, your mind will go completely blank, which isn’t necessarily bad.

      The brain is far too efficient to retain every detail about every event that happens in your life, mainly because many events that occur aren’t always that important. The brain doesn’t—and shouldn’t—care what you ate for lunch three weeks ago or what color shirt you wore golfing last month. But for those of you who remember where you were on June 3rd, 2014, this date probably holds some sort of significance to you. Maybe it was a birthday or an anniversary. Perhaps it was the day your child was born. It could have even been a day where you lost someone special in your life.

      Regardless of the circumstance, the brain is highly stimulated through emotion and engagement, which is why memories are usually stored in these situations. When the brain’s emotional centers become activated, the brain is far more likely to remember an event.[2] And this is also true when intention and focus are applied to listening to a conversation.

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      Utilizing these hard-wired primitive pathways of survival to optimize your communication in the workplace is a no-brainer—literally and figuratively.

      Intentional focus and concentrated efforts will pay off in the long run because you will retain more information and have an easier time recalling it down the road, making you look like a superstar in front of your colleagues and co-workers. Time to kiss those note-taking days away!

      Effective Communication Isn’t Always Through Words

      While we typically associate communication with words and verbal affirmations, communication can come in all shapes and forms. In the Zoom meeting era we live in, it has become far more challenging to utilize and understand these other forms of language. And this is because they are typically easier to see when we are sitting face to face with the person we speak to.[3]

      Body language can play a significant role in how our words and communication are interpreted, especially when there is a disconnection involved.[4] When someone tells you one thing, yet their body language screams something completely different, it’s challenging to let that go. Our brain immediately starts to search for more information and inevitably prompts us to follow up with questions that will provide greater clarity to the situation at hand. And in all reality, not saying something might be just as important as actually saying something.

      These commonly overlooked non-verbal communication choices can provide a plethora of information about the intentions, emotions, and motivations. We do this unconsciously, and it happens with every confrontation, conversation, and interaction we engage in. The magic lies in the utilization and active interpretation of these signals to improve your listening skills and your communication skills.

      Our brains were designed for interpreting our world, which is why we are so good at recognizing subtle nuances and underlying disconnect within our casual encounters. So, when we begin to notice conflicting messages between verbal and non-verbal communication, our brain takes us down a path of troubleshooting.

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      Which messages are consistent with this theme over time? Which statements aren’t aligning with what they’re really trying to tell me? How should I interpret their words and body language?

      Suppose we want to break things down even further. In that case, one must understand that body language is usually a subconscious event, meaning that we rarely think about our body language. This happens because our brain’s primary focus is to string together words and phrases for verbal communication, which usually requires a higher level of processing. This doesn’t mean that body language will always tell the truth, but it does provide clues to help us weigh information, which can be pretty beneficial in the long run.

      Actively interpreting body language can provide you with an edge in your communication skills. It can also be used as a tool to connect with the individual you are speaking to. This process is deeply ingrained into our human fabric and utilizes similar methods babies use while learning new skills from their parents’ traits during the early years of development.

      Mirroring a person’s posture or stance can create a subtle bond, facilitating a sense of feeling like one another. This process is triggered via the activation of specific brain regions through the stimulation of specialized neurons called mirror neurons.[5] These particular neurons become activated while watching an individual engage in an activity or task, facilitating learning, queuing, and understanding. They also allow the person watching an action to become more efficient at physically executing the action, creating changes in the brain, and altering the overall structure of the brain to enhance output for that chosen activity.

      Listening with intention can make you understand your colleague, and when paired together with mirroring body language, you can make your colleague feel like you two are alike. This simple trick can facilitate a greater bond of understanding and communication within all aspects of the conversation.

      Eliminate All Distractions, Once and for All

      As Jim Rohn says, “What is easy to do is also easy not to do.” And this is an underlying principle that will carry through in all aspects of communication. Distractions are a surefire way to ensure a lack of understanding or interpretation of a conversation, which in turn, will create inefficiencies and a poor foundation for communication.

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      This should come as no surprise, especially in this day in age where people are constantly distracted by social media, text messaging, and endlessly checking their emails. We’re stuck in a cultural norm that has hijacked our love for the addictive dopamine rush and altered our ability to truly focus our efforts on the task at hand. And these distractions aren’t just distractions for the time they’re being used. They use up coveted brainpower and central processes that secondarily delay our ability to get back on track.

      Gloria Mark, a researcher at UC Irvine, discovered that it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds for our brains to reach their peak state of focus after an interruption.[6] Yes, you read that correctly—distractions are costly, error-prone, and yield little to no benefit outside of a bump to the ego when receiving a new like on your social media profile.

      Meetings should implement a no-phone policy, video conference calls should be set on their own browser with no other tabs open, and all updates, notifications, and email prompt should be immediately turned off, if possible, to eliminate all distractions during a meeting.

      These are just a few examples of how we can optimize our environment to facilitate the highest levels of communication within the workplace.

      Actions Speak Louder Than Words

      Effective communication in the workplace doesn’t have to be challenging, but it does have to be intentional. Knowledge can only take us so far, but once again, knowing something is very different than putting it into action.

      Just like riding a bike, the more often you do it, the easier it becomes. Master communicators are phenomenal listeners, which allows them to be effective communicators in the workplace and in life. If you genuinely want to own your communication, you must implement this information today and learn how to improve your listening skills.

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      Choose your words carefully, listen intently, and most of all, be present in the moment—because that’s what master communicators do, and you can do it, too!

      More Tips Improving Listening Skills

      Featured photo credit: Mailchimp via unsplash.com

      Reference

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