Find Your Own Voice

12 08 2013

The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said.     Peter Drucker

Communication of all sorts means mastering the two conversations, the verbal and the nonverbal.

Nick Morgan, founder of Public Words Inc…., is one of America‘s top communication and speech coaches. Through his book, Trust Me, he outlines the four steps to communication success: openness, connection, passion and listening.

The purpose of this book  is to show how to structure the verbal conversations and make leaders aware of their nonverbal conversations of others. Morgan; “Once you’ve become a conscious master of the nonverbal conversation, you can learn to control it effectively by dealing with it in the realm of intent”.

In the author’s mind, nonverbal communication needs more attention and the reason is that it has been ignored by leaders too long, or treated as an accompaniment to speech. Instead, leaders are spending a huge amount of time and effort in getting their words right. Morgan; “Lawyers are paid millions to make sure that the words are not actionable. And yet the real conversation is happening all the time around them and it’s a conversation that they’re only dimly aware off”. Morgan is trying to make us aware that every communication is two conversations. If leaders speak with diffidence, ambivalence or confusion and their nonverbal conversation reveals their uncertainty, that will spread quickly to people around them, which means that leaders can’t afford this.

In connection with other people, we express ourselves by shaking our heads, we nod, roll our eyes. This is all expressions by our reactions, which show more than words can tell. Morgan; “The list goes on: duration, time, movement, action, spatial relationships, and pointing are all based in gesture”.

I just read an interesting Forbes article; Back To The Future With Face – To Face Technologywritten by, Carol Kinsey Goman, she say; “In Face -to-Face meetings, our brains process the continual cascade of nonverbal cues that we use as the basis for building trust and professional intimacy. Face-to-Face interaction is information-rich. We interpret what people say to us only partially from the words they use. We, get most of the message (and all of the emotional nuance behind the words) from vocal tone, pacing, facial expressions and body language. And we rely on immediate feedback the instantaneous responses of others-to help us gauge how well our ideas are being accepted”.

Let us take a closer look at the four steps to communication success: openness, connection, passion and listening.

Being Open.

Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there where only walls.    Joseph Campbell

To conduct an orchestra you need to know your people. But first the conductor has to be aware about his own reaction’s before he/she can learn about others. It will then get easier to gain understanding and insight in people’s need’s and wishes. (My blog; Emotions)

What we show of our feelings, our emotional performance, is heavily influenced by social conventions and the impressions we wish to convey to others. It is socially constructed. (My blog; Emotions)

Morgan; ” A communicator who is transparent about her intent almost always gets more respect and tolerance from listeners than someone who isn’t. But to achieve that kind of openness and to make it real, you have to be transparent about your values, not just your opinions”.

Nonverbal conversation depends upon trust and is even more important to openness in some ways than the verbal. Morgan;”Trust is the essential goal of an open nonverbal conversation. And it is the basis of communication”. It is therefore well worth saying more about.

Cognitive behavior and approaches is all about our thoughts, often we are caught in a pattern we have difficulties changing. We need to be open-minded toward people’s views, ideas and thoughts. (My blog; Organizational Culture )

Morgan; “The essence of trust is believing that the other party will do what he or she says and that there are no nasty surprises coming. Trust is difficult to create and almost impossible to reestablish once it has been lost”.

Our body language speaks for itself. We connect and get closer to people whom we are open with and make distance from people we are not.  The face is capable of many expressions and the variation is big. However these four open eyes, raised eyebrows, nodding, and smiling are signs to openness.

The author makes us aware that our unconscious expertise at reading others gives us that much, but not much more. Most of us are poor at reading body language if we are asked to do it consciously.

Morgan; “Openness in communication especially in nonverbal communication, is the first step toward creating authenticity and charisma as a leader. Without it, you can’t begin to connect with audiences. With openness, the rest of the steps are possible, and you can become an effective communicator”.


Communication-the human connection-is the key to personal and career success.     Paul J. Meyer

In conversation with people we need to remember that connected communication is reciprocal. Morgan; “For the most part, people feel obligated to listen if you’ve listened to them. Some self-absorbed people never reciprocate, the golden rule is deeply baked into our psyches”.

We tend to connect more easy with people who are like us. Also we connect better with ideas, communications, and with people we perceive to be different and unusual, scarce or rare. Morgan; “we are perverse creatures and can one day ignore and the next day embrace an idea, a communication, or a person who is unusual to us”.

Not surprisingly we all unconsciously measure the distance between ourselves and other people for obvious reasons of self-protection first, and interest second in nonverbal connection.

The author makes us aware that the culture differs and has an influence on the personal space, as in Mediterranean and Asian cultures where they tend to shrink the distances, and Western cultures preserve them.

Leonardo Da Vinci astutely observed that the average person looks without seeing, listens without hearing, touches without feeling, eats without tasting, moves without physical awareness, inhales without awareness of odor or fragrance, and talks without thinking. (My blog; The Art of Persuasion)

Being Passionate.

Always keep an open mind and a compassionate heart.    Phil Jackson

Conversations become interesting when you show real interest, openness and passion. Then you create trust and connection. You show your heart. Morgan; “Showing your heart to someone is neither trivial nor easy. Trust must be firmly established, and the way to do that is through openness and connection”.

Here, the author makes us aware that the nonverbal expressions of emotion are stronger than the verbal expression, and if the two are at odds, the person you’re communicating with will believe the nonverbal always.

If we take a closer look on how to be passionate nonverbally, your emotionally state plays a role. Your emotional mood has a big impact on people in your environment, whether you are in a good or bad mood. Morgan; “Sincerity of emotion shows up in nonverbal conversation through, perhaps surprisingly, stillness and openness. While the strong passions anger; joy, excitement of various kinds-can all be signaled with energetic body movements, sometimes extreme stillness can be just as effective. Think of it like the voice; the point is to establish a baseline and then vary that to exhibit the emotions”.


When you really listen to another person from their point of view, and reflect back to them that understanding, it’s like giving them emotional oxygen.     Stephen Covey

As a leader you need to be able to listen to your colleagues, and understand their point of view. Morgan; “People need to be heard to be validated as human. We’re a social species”.

You can look at the organization like a big team, inside the team there are people with different kinds of expertise, experience, knowledge, interests and perspectives. They all depend up on each other to achieve their best. You have to cooperate, talk and discuss issues of importance within your team. Give each other room to grow  and share views and ideas, and make sure to give support and motivation to each other. (My blog; Listen more)

In emphatic listening you need to hear, see, and reflect the deeper, emotional meanings of the dialogue. Morgan; “Here you identify the emotion underneath the words and respond in kind: I understand how painful this is for you, Joseph. I too had a project go bad early in my career. It really hurts.

If you can listen emphatically to your colleagues, you are giving them signals that you are genuinely interested in what they are trying to tell you. Being a good listener is a challenge for most of us, some are good at it and others are poor at it. Without any doubt, listening skills are of huge importance if you want to build good relations. (My blog; The Art of Persuasion)

How well do we listen nonverbally and charismatically. Morgan; “People know unconsciously the moment you begin to move on in terms of listening.  They may not realize it consciously at first, but unconsciously its immediate. You’ll see responses like moving nearer, grabbing an arm, raising the voice-all the activities that people use when they want to connect or reconnect”.

The author makes us aware of the importance to listen with your whole body. “Followers who are not listened to will not follow forever”.

Written by; Inger Lise E Greger/Master of Science in Change Management

More blog posts by Inger Lise E Greger

Listen More

16 04 2010

Why don’t we listen more to our colleagues in organizations ?

We all know that we tend to speak more than we listen. Don’t get me wrong, we can’t all just sit still and be silent. But if we can take a small part of our time and just listen to what other people have to say, our attention then creates  positive waves, and an opportunity to learn something new and to see things from another angle.

Today we are all in a hurry, and tend to rush everything. Deadlines are making us stressed, and we all want to make good impressions. We need to pause and reflect more. By listening to other peoples ideas and advice we are able to gain knowledge and insights we first didn’t think of as important.

In an organization we are gathered with people who possess different kind of knowledge and experience, and we are all aiming for the same purpose, which is to do our best within the organization.

We could look at the organization like a big team, inside the team there are people with different kind of expertise ,experience, knowledge, interests and perspectives.They all depend up on each other to achieve their best. You have to cooperate, talk and discuss issues of importance within your team. Give each other room to share views and ideas. and make sure to give support because that motivates you to go on with your work.

Yu Dan has written the book: Confucius from the heart. This book is a bestseller in China and began as a series of television lectures which took China by storm. Yu Dan blows away the cobwebs of thousands of year of academic study on Confucius’s thoughts and gives him back to the ordinary man and woman.

The author refers to Confucius where he say: “Use your ears widely but leave out what is doubtful”, which means according to the writer,  you must use your ears first and listen to what people are telling you, and leave to one side the parts you aren’t sure about.

Why to implement Confucius’s thoughts ? Because he has important views on how to relate to each other within organizations as well in private.

The analects of Confucius, means simply a collection of writings. “Once you have become rich in experience, you still have to be cautious in your actions. This kind of caution is described as behaving ‘as if approaching a deep abyss, as if walking on thin ice” (Analects V111). He means that we need to think more, listen more and be cautious in our words and actions, and the advantage is that you will have fewer regrets.

When Confucius is talking about large groups of people, the writer explains it this way: “In any large group of people, everybody’s personal convictions will never be exactly the same, but a true junzi will listen earnestly as each person states their own point of view and will be able to understand and respect the logic of everyone’s ideas, while at the same time holding fast to their own. This maintains both unity and harmony, while ensuring that everyone’s voice is heard”.

Yu Dan explain, when they in China say they want to build up a harmonious society, it means “taking everybody’s different voices and harmoniously blending them into the voice of the greater collective”.

The junzi, describes Confucius’s ideal person, who any one of us, rich and poor, has the potential to become.

We can not live by Confucius’s thoughts which would be too ambitious, but can try to understand some of his thoughts and implement them into our lives and workforce.

I would like to conclude with another wise words from the book: “There are many things in our lives that are not as we would wish. Sometimes they are neither rational nor fair. We may lack the strenght to change them, but we can change our own feelings and attitude. Looking at things in this way, we can say that people see whatever is in their heart”.

Inger Lise E. Greger/Master of Science in Change Management

Yu Dan :Confucius from the Heart. Ancient Wisdom for Today’s World

High Performance

9 04 2010

Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz argue that to sustain a successful approach to sustained high performance you must consider the person as a whole. Which includes the physical level, emotional capacity, mental capacity and the spiritual capacity.

What makes some people flourish under pressure and others fold. The authors say they have come up with partial answers:”rich material rewards, the right culture, management by objectives”. What they believe is the problem with most approaches is that they deal with people only from the neck up, connecting high performance primarily with cognitive capacity.

Loehr et al say:” to gain sustained high performance this is one quality that executives seek for themselves and their employees in the face of ever-increasing pressure and rapid change”.

The authors theory of pulling together all of the elements mentioned above, makes us see the person as a whole. Their integrated theory of performance management addresses the body, the emotions, the mind, and the spirit. They call this hierarchy the performance pyramid. Each of the levels profoundly influences the others, and failure to address any one of them compromises performance.

They have experience from working with world-class athletes. Later they developed a more comprehensive version of these techniques for executives facing unprecedented demands in the workplace, and they realized these executives as “corporate athletes”. What they aim to do is to help executives build their capacity for what might be called “supportive or secondary competencies, among them endurance, strenght, flexibility, self-control, and focus”.

As mentioned the High- Performance-Pyramid consists of four building blocks:Physical Capacity, Mental Capacity, Emotional Capacity and Spiritual Capacity.

The training process start at the physical level, “because the body is our fundamental source of energy – the foundation of the performance pyramid.

The next building block of IPS (Ideal Performance State) is emotional capacity. “Just as positive emotions ignite the energy that drives high performance, negative emotions – frustration, impatience, anger, fear, resentment, and sadness – drain energy. Over time, these feelings can be literally toxic”.

Mental capacity “is the third level of the performance pyramid – the cognitive – is where most traditional performance enhancement training is aimed”. The authors when talking about focus, it means energy concentrated in the service of a particular goal. Their training aims to enhance their clients: cognitive capacities – most notably their focus, time management, and positive – and critical – thinking skills.

By spiritual capacity the writers point out that it simply means “the energy that is unleashed by trapping into ones deepest values and defining a strong sense of purpose”.

In their conclusion Loehr et al say:”companies can’t afford to address their employees cognitive capacities while ignoring their physical, emotional and spiritual well – being”.

At the end an explanation of IPS (Ideal Performance State): “Increasing capacity at all levels allows athletes and executives alike to bring their talents and skills to full ignition and to sustain high performance over time”.

We must consider  the person as a whole.

Written by Inger Lise E. Greger/Master of Science in Change Management

You can read more about James Loehr and Tony Schwartz in, Harvard business review on developing leaders:2004

Organizational Culture

29 03 2010

Organizational culture is a topic of interest, and it surround us all. To understand the organization you need to  learn about its culture.

Edgar Schein’s definition of culture is : ” A pattern of shared basic assumptions that the group learned as it solved its problems of external adaption and internal integration, that has worked well enough to be considered valid and, to be taught to new members as the correct way you perceive, thinking, and feel in relation to those problems.”

The culture in any organization is a complicated issue talking about all the aspects and levels. That is why leaders should be aware of it, and learn about the culture levels to gain understanding, otherwise it will manage them.

Some key factors of the  organizational culture would  be: communication style, behavior, socialization and values like knowledge sharing.

James Waldrop and Timothy Butler are talking about destructive behavior patterns. When they are talking about  “Bad  habits” they are not using the term to describe compulsions like smoking or, nail-biting. We are all wrestle with demons and make mistakes, and non of us is perfect. The authors are using the term to talk of employees who translates into consistently problematic behavior. Their “bad habits” reflects their personalities, and they create their own glass ceiling. This can end in limiting their own success.

Business psychologists and executive coaches Waldrop et al have identified twelve discrete patterns of behavior, or habits, leading to these career troubles.

Managers may be able to help people whose behavior fits the following six patterns :

“The Hero”, always pushes himself  – and, by extension, subordinates – to hard to do too much for too long.

“The Meritocrat” believes that the best ideas can and will be determined objectively and thus will always prevail because of their clear merit; ignores the politics inherent in most situations.

“The Bulldozer” runs roughshod over others in a quest for power.

“The Pessimist” focuses on the downside of every change; always worries about what could go wrong rather than considering how things could improve.

“The Rebel” automatically fights against authority and convention.

“The Home Runner Hitter” tries to do too much soon – in other words, swings for the fences before he’s learned to hit singles.

Waldrop et al is emphasizing that they are  not urging managers to get advanced degrees in psychology, but point out in their own words that: “managing today involves more than shuffling the right bodies on the assembly line; it requires knowledge of minds and hearts. Your only choice is between being a good “psychologist” or a bad one”.

Mintzberg poin out: “in the leading role , managers help to bring out the energy that exists naturally within people”.

When energizing individuals Mintzberg say that “managers spend a good deal of time helping to bring about more effective behavior on the part of their reports: they motivate them, persuade them, support them, convince them, empower them, engage them”.

“On the developing levels of individuals, managers coach, train, mentor, teach, counsel and nurture.” But as the author puts it: “the job of development is perhaps best seen as managers helping people to develop themselves”.

When he talks about building and managing teams this is how he describes it: “this involves not only bonding people into cooperative groups but also resolving conflicts within and between these groups so that they can get on with their work”. The leader is in this case responsible of organizing the experience of the group, whether it is a small group, larger or the whole plant.

A view from Hill (2003) cited Mintzberg (2009) talks about the difference between managing people who play on a team ( as in baseball) versus those who play as a team (as in football or an orchestra). Kraut et al likewise commented on successful athletics teams that have an “almost uncanny ability to perform as a single unit, with the efforts of individual members blending seamlessly together”.

Establishing a strong culture the author say: “culture is intended to do what other aspects of the leading role do for individuals and small groups, encourage the best efforts of people, by aligning their interests with the needs of the organization. In contrast to decision-making as a form of controlling, culture is decision shaping as a form of leading”.

Cognitive behavior and approaches is all about our thoughts, often we are caught in a pattern we have difficulties changing. We need to be open – minded for other peoples views, ideas and thoughts.

In 1996 Daniel Goleman wrote a bestseller book, “Emotional Intelligence”, in this book he say that emotional intelligent people has abilities in five areas:

– They know their emotions

-they manage their emotions

-they motivate themselves

-they recognize emotions in other

-they can handle relationships

These five areas will help you to be a winner and a star in your profession.

Twenty five years later, Goleman did an empiric research on emotional intelligence and success. “What every educated person needed to learn, General Motors Charles Kettering felt was; that it’s not a disgrace to fail, and that you must analyze each failure to find its cause……You must learn how to fail intelligently. Failing is one of the greatest arts in the world. One fails forward success”.

Inger Lise E. Greger/Master of Science in Change Management

Knowledge Sharing

19 03 2010

Knowledge in organizations is a key factor to survive in today’s world. The question is how we use it and in which way we share the explicit and tacit knowledge.

The people in organizations possess valuable knowledge, and they use their knowledge every day both in private and in their organizations. Not every one knows how to share it even if they would like to do so. On the other hand some individuals like to keep their knowledge for them selves.

To take care of these challenges people need to be stimulated in how to share and use the right tools.

“Knowledge Management ( KM ) is a compelling new information technology that can help organizations leverage their knowledge capital for increased competitive advantage”. ( Ref: Davenport and Prusak,1999 )

There are different views in this field, and one of them is about pitfalls within KM. Von Krogh et al ( 2000 )point out  that one problem involves fluid styles and too many messages from top managers. Get the right information to the right people in the right tempo,  this depends upon information technology. The writer argues that the main purpose should be on the human capital, feelings and social interaction. The authors try to emphasize the importance of serendipity and openness. When tools and methods get a dominating role in organizations, it reduces peoples attention.

Von Krogh et al, suggest to mobilize a knowledge activist who will provide some overall direction for knowledge – creation initiatives.

To make sharing happen we need to converse with each other, and find arenas where this is possible. You can arrange people in small groups, have a chat when having a cup of coffee, in a project, in a meeting, in a team , in a workshop and so on.

Organizations who invest in a knowledge sharing culture understand the value of their employees, and the importance of the human capital.

Back to how we converse and Von Krogh’s et al, point of view: “It is ironic that while executives and knowledge officers persist in focusing on expensive information – technology systems, quantifiable database, and measurement tools, one of the best means for sharing and creating knowledge already exists within their companies. Good conversations are the cradle of social knowledge in any organizations”.

When the author talks about tacit knowledge, it is important  when held by individuals participants, has to become shared in an atmosphere of high trust.” Such open – ended conversational interaction, in which members learn to trust each other and have established a caring atmosphere, generates new concepts”.

Zeldin, say’s: “Conversation is a meeting of minds with different memories and habits. When minds meet, they don’t just exchange facts they transform them, reshape them, draw different implications from them, engage in new trains of thought. Conversation doesn’t just reshuffle the cards: it creates new cards”. (Zeldin 1999)

Zeldin is explaining the meaning of conversations in a perfect picture.

Let us share knowledge.

Inger Lise E. Greger/Master of Science in Change Management


16 03 2010

Emotions in organizations.

To conduct an orchestra you need to know your people. But first the conductor has to be aware about his own reaction’s before he/she can learn about others. It will then be easier to gain understanding and insight in people’s need’s and wishes.

John Elster ref: Fineman say’s:

“Most simply, emotions matter,if we did not have them nothing else would matter.

Creatures without emotion would have no reason for living nor, for that matter,

for committing suicide….Emotions are the stuff of life. Emotions are the most

important bond or glue that links us together”. (Fineman, 2004 ref: Inger Lise 2006)

To gain the right picture of emotions, Fineman continues to say: ” There is the subjective element of emotions; what we feel. And there is the displayed feature of emotion, what we show.

What we show of our feelings, our emotional performance, is heavily influenced by social conventions and the impressions we wish to convey to others. It is socially constructed.

Feelings and emotions are usually short – term and attached to a particular object or occurrence: “angry with Jane” “jealous of John”, “delighted with the gift”. They come and go fairly quickly. Some are intense and hard-driving ( like rage, spite, terror ), others more subdued. Many will be mixed, uncertain, ambivalent – love with hate, guilt with excitement, anger with embarrassment.

Moods are feelings that linger ( such as being in sad mood, depressed mood, cheerful mood ). They are not linked to any particular object or event; the cause or trigger is often obscure. They typically undulate gradually over time. We may feel gloomy all morning, but cheery by mid – afternoon, only to feel down again when we arrive home in the evening. Some people have fairly steady moods, while others are “moody”, experiencing more frequent shifts in feelings. Moods are often hard to disguise. There is one further term mentioned by writers on emotion: affect. This is an all – encompassing expression for any emotional or emotionalism activity. It is sometimes used instead of “feeling” or “emotion”. ”

Our day-to-day life , both in private and professional, will affect us emotional. To conduct an orchestra or manage a group in organizations you need to be aware of peoples emotions.

How is the culture in your organization, and how well do you know your colleague ?

Emotions is always there, that is for sure.

Inger Lise E. Greger/Master of Science in Change Management


15 03 2010

Storytelling is a good tool when talking about knowledge sharing and experience transfer. It is motivating when you listen to a good story, and in my mind more fun.

Stephen Denning is saying : ” Storytelling gets inside the minds of the individuals who collectively make up the organization and affects how they think, worry, wonder, agonize, and dream about themselves and in the process create – and re – create – their organization”.

He also say: “Storytelling is natural and easy and entertaining and energizing. Stories help us understand complexity. Stories are inherently non – adversarial and non – hierarchical. They bypass normal defense mechanisms and engage our feelings”.

” When the story does it’s job, the listeners minds race ahead, to imagine the further implications of elaborating the same idea in other contexts, better and more intimately known to the listeners. In this way, through extrapolation from the anecdote, the recreation of the idea of knowledge management can be successfully brought to birth, with the concept of it planted in listener’s minds, not as a vague abstract inert thing, but an idea that is pulsing, kicking, breathing, exciting – and alive”. ( Denning 2001, referred from Inger Lise 2008)

Denning say’s; ” If the storyteller has the reader’s full attention and can refer to a world with which the reader’s are intimately familiar, they can be transported quite quickly to the new mental habitat”.

Good stories are an important inspirational source for people, it could for example be implemented in knowledge sharing or to gain new wisdom . People can recognize episodes from stories and they can draw their own pictures from them.

David Gurteen say’s that we should tell people the true story and let them  find the essence from the story in their own picture. It is all about in how you engage people to come up with their own thought’s and idea’s. ( D.Gurteen, pers. from Inger lise 2007)

“It’s now become a huge issue, knowledge and learning; it’s THE issue for a firm – I can’t imagine anything more important: how do we learn and where do we learn and in what form ? Information is an article in a book or paper – it’s frozen knowledge. Knowledge is what a person knows, an individual, or maybe what groups of people linked together know. It aggregates into capability, the capacities of organizations”. (Brown, Denning, Groh, Prusak; referred from Inger Lise 2008).

Inger Lise E. Greger/Master of Science in Change Management

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