To save energy, your brain loves to use short-cuts.

There is so much going on in the world around you right at this moment, that you cannot possibly, consciously process all that information. It would just be totally overwhelming.

To cope and save essential gas (energy) for other things, every person has their own unique way of processing the data hitting us from outside (and internal self-talk) through our experiences, beliefs, values, preferences, memories and past decisions.

Purpose To understand the Human to Human Interface – that is, how we communicate and understand each other. To be able to apply this knowledge into all communications to become purposeful and intentional about our relationships and communications.

Process There's quite a lot of learning here so I've split this into three parts, each with an exercise that you should use to see how powerful it is to improve your own conscious communications.

Payoff This understanding and the practice of deliberate, purposeful and intentional communications is life changing. Your relationships will improve tremendously. You'll find fewer misunderstandings and greater confidence in what you say and the message you get across. Only, make sure that your message is worth hearing – because from now on, they will hear it.

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To save energy and make sure that you do process important information (or at least what you consider is important) your brain filters information coming in from outside.

You DELETE anything not important to you (or your survival) at this moment in time. This is usually unconsciously deleted based on your experience, beliefs, values, memories and past decisions.

You DISTORT some information to fit your map of the world. If I mention the name Trump, you will have a view, and that view is your distortion of the information. It is your truth and that's OK because its based on your experience, beliefs, values, memories and past decisions.

You GENERALISE some information. Here we use one or two pieces of information to create a generalized truth for ourselves based on your experience, beliefs, values, memories and past decisions.

And we use meta-programmes to filter information. The key 5 of these filters are:

  1. Necessity-Possibility
  2. Extrovert-Introvert
  3. Towards-Away
  4. Similarity-Difference
  5. Global-Specific

My personal filters are strongly POSSIBILITY, INTROVERT, TOWARDS and DIFFERENCE and mildly SPECIFIC.

If you want your communication to easily get through my filters, you are better to use language that aligns with my filters.

If you, for example say to me: “John, you must get outside and see people or I'm concerned that you won't….” and I would have stopped listening at the third word.

If instead you said: “John, you could find that being inside is …” I'm all ears.

You mean the same thing, but now you are using my filters and when you do that, I will process what you are saying.

And you have your own combination of filters. And your partner has theirs, kids, parents, boss, staff, colleagues, customers and so on. Everyone has their preference on these meta programmes. The more extreme the filter, the more important to use it correctly for communicating with that person.

It's time to learn:

  1. Your own filters
  2. Your partners filters
  3. Your boss's filters
  4. Your colleagues' filters.

Simply have a conversation with them. My favourite conversation that offends no-one in the world: “What did you do at the weekend?”

If you know them well, just have a chat about something or anything. Why not share this with them, it will help them too?

you are listening for clues about their filters. Do they use necessity words or possibility? Do they use extrovert or introvert words? etc etc.

You can be ultra-precise or approximate as you do this. The better you identify their strongest filters the better chance you have of using it correctly to align your language use to their filters. If they share your filters – brilliant, you get on like a house on fire. If they are opposite to you, then you have a strained relationship now. It will improve after this exercise.

Fair warning by the way. Once you do this, your information will get through, so do make sure that your information is good and edifying. Up to this point it might not have mattered at all because they weren't ever listening.

In spite of all these filters in place, we still burn a lot of energy in processing external data every minute of every day. So, over a period of time, we create short-cuts that work for us. Heuristics that help us quickly make sense of the world according to me, myself and I. Together with other biases we learn (from our parents, society and friends for example) these heuristics form part of our cognitive biases that we'll meet here. Pride and Prejudice