The key secret of successful communication is that it almost all happens at an unconscious level.
That means that people are forming opinions about what you say without really knowing the reason why.
Most people plan communication consciously and logically and that’s a big reason why most communication doesn’t work.
So, if you know what works unconsciously, you can make your communication so much more effective.
The key is to make the secrets of unconscious communication conscious so that you can use them easily.
What is the Unconscious?
The term unconscious mind is open to different interpretations – and even different descriptions as some prefer the term subconscious or non-conscious.
In brief, we have too many things going on for us to be aware of everything at one moment in time. For example, if I ask you your phone number, you will probably tell me the number quickly. But where was that information a few seconds ago?
Or if I ask you to pick up a pen, you will do it instantly without figuring out how to move every muscle.
The part of the mind that helps us move quickly in those situations is called the adaptive unconscious.
“The mind operates most efficiently by relegating a good deal of high-level, sophisticated thinking to the unconscious, just as a modern jetliner is able to fly on automatic pilot with little or no input from the human ‘conscious’ pilot.”
So to communicate successfully, we need to be able to influence the unconscious mind.
Seven Keys to Unconscious Communication
Here are seven keys to influencing the unconscious mind to make your communication more effective.
- Speed: Most people make up their mind unconsciously about something within 2 – 6 seconds so you only have a moment to make an impression
- Simplicity: Often in communication, we suffer from the ‘curse of knowledge’ – trying to say too much. The most effective messages are clear and simple
- Surprise: Your communication can be more effective if it challenges normal expectations or arouses curiosity
- Specificity: You need to say exactly what you mean. Specific details engage the unconscious
- Stories: The easiest way to overcome people’s resistance to information is through interesting stories. Stories can lead people to feel a particular emotion and can help people imagine themselves in a certain situation
- Stir emotions: You need to make them feel that they care about the issue if you want them to take action. Negative and positive emotions can inspire people
- Using all the Senses: Employing all of the senses in your communication makes your message more effective. This can be in the words you use or by using pictures and objects.
You probably can’t hit all of these hot buttons every time but even one or two can have a big impact on your communication.
This is the first of a series of posts that will look at each of these elements in more detail. In the next post, we’ll focus on Speed.
You can also view a slightly more detailed version of the list in the post on Secrets of Unconscious Persuasion.