When we write or speak a message, our egocentrism (interest in personal needs and wants) can cause us to believe that what we intend to convey is what others will interpret. Unfortunately, interpretation and intent don’t always match up. The gap between message sent and message received often determines fear, confidence, comfort, loyalty and motivation to perform at our peak levels. In fact, micromessaging—communicating with other human beings through visual, audible, sublingual means—no doubt predates our ability to speak. We actually read micromessages quite naturally without thinking about them. You might say human beings actually read each other’s micromessages subconsciously. Humans, however, in their evolution have language which jams their radar for interpreting micromessages. Words do make the process of communication easier, but they also make it easy to use prepackaged “word packets” of deception that rarely get challenged. We can use word packets to communicate what we think others need to hear, even though the packet doesn’t remotely represent our genuine feelings or truth.
"When you want to change minds, it is important to remember that communication occurs beyond speech. In his new book, Micromessaging: Why Great Leadership Is Beyond Words (McGraw-Hill, 2006), Stephen Young, cofounder of the consultancy Insight Education Systems (Montclair, N.J.) and formerly senior vice president responsible for the worldwide diversity strategy at JP Morgan Chase, reveals how leaders can undermine their stated goals with micromessages—gestures, expressions, tone of voice—that don’t match the words being spoken."Harvard Business Review
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