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Posts tagged ‘Harvard business Review’

Meeting of the minds

Flint Hills - Storm at Sunset

I like “clicking” with people in conversations – where it’s almost as if our brains are playing leap-frog. It’s fun being in sync. Now, new research from Uri Hasson of Princeton, highlighted in this month’s Harvard Business Review, demonstrates that successful communication results in a biological “meeting of the minds.”

With speaker and listener connected to functional MRI (fMRI) machines, the researchers demonstrated that the speaker’s brain and listener’s brain scans displayed widespread overlap or mirroring. Using follow-up comprehension assessments, they showed that neural mirroring increased as comprehension increased. When listener’s comprehension was highest, the listener’s brain activity appeared slightly before the speaker’s activity – meaning active listeners were able to anticipate what would be communicated next.

While this study was done without face-to-face communication (the subjects were inside of scanners), the researchers propose that face-to-face communication would create even stronger neural coupling. This due to the fact that mirror neurons discharge both when performing an action and when observing an action. Interestingly, neural coupling does not occur when hearing foreign languages spoken.

Speaking and listening are a shared function of two brains. Since reading these articles, I’ve been reconsidering effective communication. How do we work to intentionally use language patterns and words that are most likely to create neural mirroring and increase comprehension? In an organization or educational setting, how important is an agenda or pre-work for laying a common foundation for enhancing communication?

How does this impact your ideas about communication? What are the practical things that help you to be “in sync” in a conversation?

Resource: Harvard Business Review

Is your first response, “We can’t afford to subscribe to the Harvard Business Review…”? I will agree it can be pricey, especially if you subscribe to both print and on-line. But the on-line site offers some free, useful resources, including magazine resources that are available to non-subscribers. I include a summary here:

The HBR Blog Network includes the ability to search by subjects such as Imaging the Future of Leadership or by blog author. Here are some of my favorite HBR bloggers:

Marshall Goldsmith on Leadership, Managing people, Coaching
Rosabeth Moss Kanter on Innovation, CSR, Leadership
Roger Martin on Strategy, Leadership, Innovation and Critical Thinking

Some recent blog posts of interest:

12 Things Good Bosses Believe
The 15 Minutes that Could Save 5 Years
How to Translate Training into Results

If you’re interested in hearing what some of the influential leaders, researchers, and educators are saying about organizations, you’ll want to check out these links.

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