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Win clients: Part 2 provides a tag that helps us decide; emotion marks things as good, bad or indifferent. Decision-making and emotions are physically linked in the brain: Some networks in the limbic system are devoted to processing emotion, while corresponding regions in the cortex integrate emotional information with what we know about the world. So the body and emotions provide cues and clues to decisions that we want to make. This is totally independent of the ability to analysis data. Note that in Damasio’s view, emotion and feeling are not in opposition to reason, but provide essential support to the reasoning process. We’re trained to regard emotions as irrational impulses that are likely to lead us astray. When we describe someone as ‘emotional’, it’s usually a criticism that suggests that they lack good judgment. And the most logical and intelligent figures in popular culture are those who exert the greatest control over their emotions - or who seem to feel no emotions at all. However, the brain is actually designed to work as a whole integrating both its analytical and emotional capacities. To be successful you need to ‘talk’ to both the systems. For example, there are areas of the brain that are triggered by a sense of threat or reward. Your goal is to reduce the sense of threat and increase the sense of reward. We call this the CORE model and you can read more in the link. Imagine you are giving a presentation to a prospective client. To manage the client’s sense of certainty it’s important to think about how the presentation material links to existing business knowledge or activity thus reducing the threat of uncertainty (Certainty). Give him/her some choice so they feel they have control over the decision (Options). Point out how adopting the idea will enhance his/her future success and you should avoid threatening their reputation by suggesting that current work methods which they are associated with, are not working (Reputation). Finally, the project must be positioned fairly in the culture of the business (Equity). Sometimes it is not possible to create a sense of reward, so it is important to also think about the specific person to be influenced. What might trigger their sense of threat and which of the elements above are most important to them in the situation? Born Bias “Most of our judgments and actions are appropriate most of the time,” Daniel Kahneman wrote in “Thinking Fast and Slow”. But our fast, intuitive System 1 often jumps to conclusions or takes shortcuts that the more rational System 2 doesn’t question. This can lead to biases such as framing, anchoring and an inclination toward optimism that prompts us to underestimate risks of a proposal. These biases play a part in decision-making. David Rock suggests that loss aversion, minimizing uncertainty, and emotional reactions to proposals are common. He points out, “These three groups of biases steer people toward minimizing danger even when there isn’t any, to make choices based on a feeling of certainty; even when there isn’t any, and to like an idea or not; even when there isn’t any actual data.” In essence, this means clients think they are making rational decisions, but aren’t. Biases such as loss aversion spring from past experiences or memories that are often unconscious. When they distort a client’s decision-making, they need to be examined on a conscious level to rid them of their power. Raising these potential issues as part of your presentation or discussion brings them to consciousness without embarrassing the client. Stress reduces clear thinking. The challenge for an advisor is to bring clients’ rational, conscious, emotional, and unconscious minds into alignment. So it’s vital to recognize their feelings, concerns and fears and create a safe zone in which to consider the options. People’s unconscious feelings may result in observable body language that shows they are ‘of two minds’. When messages from the two parts of the decision making system are contradictory, you need to help create a resolution that integrates them. Anxiety disrupts this process by prompting the amygdala to flood our brain and body with the stress hormone cortisol, putting the prefrontal cortex out of commission. Providing the most stress free environment in your client meetings is therefore important. Try These Strategies Make the environment match the relationship: Foster a climate of safety and empathy. The most effective way is to cultivate a warm, safe, empathic relationship. You also want to provide a situation where the client is physically relaxed and comfortable. Think about the environment where the meeting will take place. Does it welcome the client, or is it chilly and intimidating? You want the office to seem inviting, uncluttered and comfortable; a place where they don’t feel rushed. Reframe the issue: Neuroscience has found that labelling and reappraising emotions allow you to see things in a context that may work better in the future. Think about how you can help the client reappraise their issue as a step to success or to take distance from it to be able to see more possibilities. Using powerful questions is one way to achieve this. Another technique is to help the client have a picture of the future where they can solve the issue successfully. Asking questions about what this will look and feel like will put the client into that future state, and help them both see possibilities and feel good. Stories: Telling stories to ourselves and to prospective clients is a powerful way to talk to both brain systems at once. You can read more about how the brain responds to stories in our article. Listening to your clients’ ‘story’ about their issue and the way they make sense of the experience is an important part of deepening your connection with them. Your ‘pitch’ should help them reframe their story in a way that is less emotionally triggering. SSE Jan Hills set up Head Heart + Brain to change the way leadership and capability development is designed and delivered. With a qualification in NeuroLeadership, she’s the driving force behind the brain-savvy approach. Jan also created Success Profile methodology for talent strategy, created MasterMind approach to leadership development and BrainBox HR online development tool as well as leading Success Profile research into HR business Partners. Blog www.jan-hills.com Visit www.headheartbrain.com Book Brain-savvy HR: a neuroscience evidence base sales and service excellence essentials presented by HR.com | 10.2014 Submit your Articles 27


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