Given the positive feedback on this series so far, I have returned to the front of Great Mental Models so we can gain full value from this excellent book.
In doing so I found a very useful set of ideas which relate directly to our need to communicate robust thinking.
It’s all about perspective …
‘Morning boys. How’s the water?’
In this early part of the book, Shane Parrish talks about three thinking failures: not having the right perspective or vantage point, ego-induced denial and distance from the consequences of our decisions.
Others might describe these as cognitive biases, also a useful tool for checking ourselves.
In our worlds these three thinking failures affect our decision making and hence our communication profoundly.
In this post I am reinforcing some of what we cover in the core modules while also adding some extra nuances to help you communicate robustly.
Keep your ‘eyes fresh' so you can maintain a healthy sense of perspective. This is where understanding our audience deeply comes in. We pose five questions in the first part of our So What Strategy process to help untangle this.
These questions help us work out who really is our audience and what we need to do to engage them in our idea. It is not at all uncommon for this analysis to change not just what we think we need to communicate, but who we communicate to.
Remember the influence of egos – our own and others. This is essential if we are to learn from others both as a giver and receiver of information. As a communicator, we may fear criticism too much and hesitate to share our good ideas. As a receiver, we may be too critical if we think someone else’s idea will upend our own achievements.
The risk is that we are too invested in our ideas to expose them to proper critique and that we bump into others’ egos by not having sufficiently navigated around what mattered to them.
Create the right balance between proximity and distance. Sufficient distance gives us perspective and clarity (aka putting our storyline in a drawer for an hour and getting lunch before checking it), but too much means we don’t see the issues that matter. Being removed from the consequences of our decisions can be a real trap.
We offer specific strategies to help members ‘freshen their eyes’ so they can maintain a critical perspective when reviewing their communication.
I hope that helps and look forward to sending you more ideas from The Great Mental Models again next week.
PS – The Clarity First Waitlist is now open. Add your name to the list so you hear when the doors will before anyone else. We are limiting participation to 50 new members this time.
PPS – I receive a small commission if you click the link and decide to purchase a copy of Shane's book from Amazon.
Related posts include
From this series …
- A fabulous thinking tool to help you solve problems and communicate
- Further thinking tools
- Thinking Tools #3 – Using Inversions to identify gaps in our thinking
- How to use your critical thinking abilities to turbo charge your communication
- Strengthen your critical thinking abilities
- 4 Ideas to make structured thinking stick
Davina has been helping experts communicate complex ideas since joining McKinsey as a communication specialist 20+ years ago.
She helps experts clarify their thinking so they can prepare powerful and strategic communication in any format. It might mean preparing for a difficult meeting, getting ready for a project steering committee, putting forward a business case or writing a board paper.
She bases her approach on The Minto Pyramid PrincipleⓇ combined with other powerful techniques to help experts of all kinds globally strengthen their communication skills.