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Most people struggle to think on their feet. Especially leaders. More especially leaders under pressure. And that is the most important time to be able to practice the fine art of thinking fast and talking slow.  

But what does that really mean? 

Well, it means multitasking your emotionality and your languaging. And this is the only thing on planet earth that can effectively be classed as multi-tasking (according to Anton Guinea, of The Guinea Group ?). Most psychology texts will tell you that multi-tasking is not a thing, it is called task switching. I am here to tell you that if you can’t multi-task what is in your heart and head with what comes out of your mouth, you will struggle to connect with other hominins. Let me explain… 

Just reflect for a moment and think about the best communicators that you know. I’m guessing these people don’t talk continuously. My theory is that they do very specific things to engage others in dialogue. They do things like reading the play, listening to understand, and speaking with leader languaging.  

Reading the play is about being able to focus on the person you are speaking to, and understanding what is going on for them, while you are having the conversation with them. They know what the other person’s body is doing. Even where their eyes are going (left means they are recalling and right means they are constructing – Google NLP Eye Patterns, Images, for more information). Reading the play is about being empathetic and feeling what the other person is feeling while you are conversing. Then, tailoring your communication accordingly. 

Listening to understand is perhaps the most important of the thinking fast and talking slow skills. When you are listening to understand, you are present. You are caring enough to make the other person your priority in the moment. Regardless of all the stress or pressure that is going on around you. And if you don’t understand, ask more questions. Or ask better questions. Don’t comment or make a statement until you are clear on what is being communicated to you. Listen more than you speak (use your ears and mouth in the ratio of how many of them you have – 2:1) and let silence do the heavy lifting if you need to. You don’t have to fill the gap of quiet with words (most people think you do). 

Leader languaging is a key skill. Most people don’t choose their words carefully. They don’t realise that words have power, and talk straight to the limbic system of the brain – the emotional part. Words can be triggers and can change someone’s day. Or life. And if you think this is an exaggeration, think back to the time you were hurt the most by someone. You will remember exactly what they said… and it was 30 years ago… Leaders who can think fast and talk slow have a strong understanding of the power of language, and they choose their words carefully. They choose words that convey the message, but that do no harm. 

In summary, the subtle art of thinking fast and talking slow is about helping you build better relationships, build better communication skills, and build better teams. FYI, this is the skills that the great orators and public speakers use. They can focus on the experience that their audience is having, whilst tailoring their message accordingly. 

Yes, it sounds like hard work – I can tell you, after practicing these skills for the last 20 years, it is worth the effort! 

And please click the image below if you’d like to chat about what leadership means to you.

If you would like to learn more about Anton or The Guinea Group, please click hereto book into Anton’s calendar, to:

UPGRADE your Mindset
UPSKILL your Leadership
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About Anton

Anton has dedicated his working life to helping leaders to upgrade their mindset, upskill their leadership, and uplift their teams! With a focus on helps leaders to better lead under pressure. Anton is an entrepreneur, speaker, consultant, bestselling author and founder of The Guinea Group. Over the past 19 years, Anton has worked with over 175+ global organisations, he has inspired workplace leadership, safety, and cultural change. He’s achieved this by combining his corporate expertise, education (Bachelor of HR and Psychology), and infectious energy levels.
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