I have recently been inspired by another great Tedx Talk:
“The Happy Secret to Better Work” by Shawn Achor”
In it Shawn explains that research shows:
25% of job success is predicted by IQ
75% of job success is predicted by optimism
The common mentality I’m sure you recognise is ‘if I work harder I’ll be more successful, if I am more successful I’ll be even happier’ unfortunately this isn’t how we experience happiness.
He uses the example of sales targets as a case of this type of thinking, where if happiness is on the opposite side of success (or on the other side of sales targets) you will never get there, because every time you reach a target the ‘goal posts’ of happiness are moved as new targets are conceived.
The reason this is important is what Shawn calls the “Happiness Advantage”: When it’s positive your brain works significantly better than when it is negative, neutral or stressed. Intelligence, creativity, and energy levels rise.
Before we go into the research, let’s clarify what we mean by happiness; Happiness is, at its essence, a positive mind-set. A positive mind-set is most obvious when we are happy, and easiest for us to identify. If happiness is a sign of positivity then it is also a key part of communication. Our own happiness, and the happiness of others around us impacts our ability to communicate effectively and productively.
How to become more positive/happy:
Shawn suggests 5 different ways you can train your brain to be more positive through simple actions practiced every day for 21 days. For some of us, it can take a lot longer.
1. Random Acts of Kindness: Every morning when you open your inbox send one short, positive email praising or thanking someone in your team or social support network (friends, family, mentors etc.).
2. Meditation (this is the one I’ve worked most on in 2013).
3. Exercise (this one has gotten the least effort this year).
4. Journaling (writing down one positive experience for the day).
5. Gratitudes (writing down 3 things you are grateful for every day eg. no traffic on the way to work or my teenager daughter said “thanks Dad”).
But what does this achieve?
The more you practise them the more positive and happy you become, this then creates optimism which in turn leads to improved performance.
So how does all this help us with communication?
Think about how it feels when you are communicating with a stressed/unhappy person?
Now how does it feel when you are communicating with a happy/positive person?
What’s the impact of being on the receiving end of each of these types communication?
We believe your answers will speak for themselves.
Happy and positive people are more effective in all areas of their lives!
So what are you going to do today to get happier?
And here’s a short cut... if you’re not feeling happy.... Fake it! Yup that’s right.
How: A twinkling smile (you know just a little devilish one, what I call the “I got a secret smile” or an upbeat, friendly tone in your voice).
If you act happy, others with perceive you this way and since energy is contagious, they will send it back to you and guess what, you’ll start to actually feel happier!!
Don't take our word for it!
Actions speak louder than words, and we just love sharing the successes that our clients get by using the Predator, Prey, Partner techniques.
This month's success story:
Last week I was sitting in front of a big, TOUGH power player, a businessman using his power, shouting and making sure everyone in the room knew who the Alpha-dog was. Then I remembered your coaching, and I decided to smile, use a positive voice, active listening, and paraphrasing –making sure I stated what was important to him. I did all that while I sat down using the space as you coached me to; one arm up, relaxed and appearing sure of myself.
He listened to me, calmed down eventually, and then I dared to use a little humor that I was sure wouldn’t offend anyone. He laughed! I could see how everyone in the room finally took a breath!
I felt really good about how I can do this now consciously and calmly, and I can choose the tools according to the situation. Not to say that I won’t make mistakes along the way, though I feel these situations are very real and these techniques and mindset can have immediate consequences.
Executive Coach & Trainer
* The Predator Prey or Partner™ model is licensed content created by Pat Kirkland of Pat Kirkland Leadership Inc. Founded in 1990, PKL (patkirklandleadership.com) is a company with a purpose, the "soul" purpose of creating a world that works together better. Its business mission is to offer practical, powerful communication programs teaching people how to transform their work relationships by changing how they communicate.