If you had your TV or radio on in 2011 you were bombarded with information and stories about the end of Osama Bin Laden.  You probably had also seen and heard multiple long-time anchors and disc jockeys mix up the two names as they were sharing the story.  As you can imagine, it is a MAJOR mix-up when you confuse the two names in the story.

So why does it happen and what can you learn from it?

Is it happening just because the only difference between the names is one letter?

It is actually happening because as the newscasters are telling the story, their brain is linking the entire facts of the story together.  Think of the brain as reading a story where it is a full page ahead of your lips.  So naturally, if any fact is not anchored it is easy for the brain to drop to your lips the word or meaning it is thinking about rather than what is really on the page.

As you can see mixing up the two names can lead to a disastrous difference in what the real story is.  So how do you make sure your team always gets the real message?

When you are communicating with your team you need to be aware of two things that can derail a message:

1. What your team is thinking about or linking your story to in their own mind.  So as you are speaking their brain is focusing on “how does this relate to me?”  This means their brain will jump in and interpret what you are saying to the “story” they have stored in their own brain.  You need to make sure you link the two for them so there are not any misinterpretations.

2. You need to be aware as you share your message how you link the thoughts in your own brain. It is very easy to mix up words or analogies when speaking if your brain is not clear on the importance of each or if it is scattered as you are speaking.  Imagine if you are talking about the “Johnson Project” but your mind is also thinking about the “Harrison Project”.  Most likely while talking you will say “Harrison Project” with your mouth while your brain will be convinced you just said “Johnson Project.”  You can see how this phenomena can cause great confusion, and misinterpretation with people.

So what should you do if you find people not connecting with your message:

1. Go back and talk with them to uncover whether it was a “link” in their thinking that blocked or misinterpreted what you said, or if it was a linking problem in your mind of stories that caused you to say something different from what you meant.

2. If it is you, that is the problem you need to learn how to quiet your mind so that when you speak you hold the correct details upfront and center while you speak.  This can be done with learning how to use Outcome Thinking to focus your message.

Two options can help you with this: 1) join other key leaders at one of our two-day intensive programs on Outcome Thinking Managing Your Strategic Message to see how to speak clearly so you influence outcomes or 2) work independently with our Outcome Thinking Success Club 8 weeks to Expand Your Thinking program so you start to see your world through a new lens which will change how you interact with others.

Join us on the Outcome Thinking Journey to create a world where people see opportunities that others miss!