Speakers are as different as apples and …
to activate a memory in order to influence subsequent behavior
As speakers and presenters, we have an outcome in mind. How is it that we can say all the right words, but get an unwanted result? It’s likely that we have unintentionally primed an unintended consequence.
Positive priming may have helped you to finish the phrase, “as different as apples and oranges.” Negative priming would trigger an opposite behavior, an unintended result, as when we ask for engagement in a meeting or speech but get none. Let’s strategize for the outcomes you want.
“DON’T PANIC!” instills panic. The better phrase for priming an orderly exit during a crisis is, “Keep calm.”
“DON’T RUN!” school staff call down a hallway after fleeing students. But, what is primed? “Run!” Instead, a firm voice, stating, “Please walk,” would have primed walking behavior.
“THANK YOU FOR YOUR FEEDBACK!” is often meant to set a positive tone for staff and board meetings, but ironically primes negativity. Consider: audio-feedback is the sound of static, or a loud screech coursing through speakers, causing an audience to clap their hands over their ears.
As soon as a leader thanks people for their feedback,
participants connect with a brain-picture that includes leadership with their hands over their ears, going through the motions but hearing nothing.
Instead of feeling engaged, participants rehearse, “well, that was a waste of time” and other disengaging thoughts.
A positive prime might sound something like,
“We read some of the most amazing ideas in our inbox this week! We can’t wait to give some of them a go, and we’re starting with this one …”
Now, participants know they’ve been heard. More than that, they’re eager to discover what you thought about their idea and if it will be implemented this week or in a coming week. And, of course, behind the scenes, responses to submissions need to align with the “amazing ideas” narrative. Priming those you lead for success takes thought, but the payoff is huge.
Orange-you-glad you’re thinking about priming? (Apologies. Couldn’t resist.)
Session 2 - Priming
Neural Science for thinkers & doers; breakthrough ideas & implementation
Prime your audience for active participation
and they’ll remember what you said, how they responded and their commitment to next steps.
Prime your audience using images, words, and gestures.
Think back to that occasion when a message didn’t get the result for which you were hoping. Maybe you can put your finger on an unintentional prime. Even if you can’t unpack what triggers may have been present, replay the incident in your mind, and this time insert priming that would lead to the desired outcome.
How will you get your audience to answer with your version of “oranges?” We’ll go beyond simple priming and delve into the brain science of engagement and change management - in Session 2 of Compelling Communication.