I just blurted out my “original thought negative”

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I just blurted out my “original thought negative”

without conversion into a “thought positive print” and now I am in the dog house. So, here is what I want to reaffirm.


Nobody has a clue about what you are thinking until you explain yourself. But if you want any change in their behavior you have to explain yourself from the point of view of the other person.  Most failures in persuasion happen because of a failure of translation of your personal thoughts and experiences into what the listener needs to hear.  It is like the traditional photography using film rolls… you have "negatives" which need to be turned to "positives" before you can use them.  You must convert your “Thought Negatives” into “Thought Positives” for valuation and acceptance.  This applies to your personal, as well as professional life.  All communication depends upon the conversion of your original thoughts (the negatives) into clear messages (the positive prints).  This is fundamental to the communication model.  First you think through your feelings and then you need to thoughtfully process an effective conversion to ensure that your communication is successful.

Let’s take the example of personal relationships.  Because these are cases where people share lives and know each other well, ideally, they should not have communication problems. But you know very well that you end up upsetting your partner because you conveyed your thoughts with the wrong words and emotions.  In other words, you did not convert your thoughts well. If you are upset about something in your relationship and simply say what you feel it will very likely lead to an argument and the purpose behind your communication would not only remain unresolved, but would have created yet another mess.

You must convert your thoughts into a message which the other person is able to consider and understand.  Saying things like, “Why the heck do you always keep the refrigerator full of stuff that has expired?” or “Why can’t you manage our bills better?”…  Well!! You know what that will do in most cases. S/he just might say, go drown yourself. Who do you think you are taking to me that way!  You just expressed your thoughts and failed to convert them into a message that could bring behavior change.

Now let’s move out of the house and into the world of business. Let’s say there is a great team that does analytics of all kinds in every industry vertical.  They believe that they have a lot of experience and are great at problem solving and delivery.  If you checked out their website – that is exactly what you will see them saying about themselves on their website– the way they think about themselves – the things they do – the processes they follow. And then they wonder why they are struggling with revenues while some companies in their category have growth rates running into 2 to 3 digits. The problem is that these companies have just described what they think in their marketing communication. But their listener, the potential customer hears a different story.  In the case of analytics, she does not even bother to listen or read further because that is what she has been hearing everyday from others companies in the same business.  The message does not even register. 

 The person you are communicating with needs to connect with your thoughts at an emotional, as well as an intellectual level in order for them to move along with you. If you are only giving them the ‘negatives’ of your thoughts, they will remain clueless and keep acting on their own volition, with no influence from your communication.  You need to connect with them on an emotional level and then back up the communication at the mental level.  For that you do need to know their mental and emotional state.  Only then can you figure out how to craft your message.  Communication is a case by case activity and has to be designed with the receiver of the communication in mind.

So instead of saying “Why the heck do you always keep the refrigerator full of stuff that has expired?” try  “Hxxxx, I think we should buy less fruits next time.  These rot so quickly.” Agreed this not how you may have felt, but it will get you moving in the positive direction and reduce or eliminate frustration in future.  In the same way, if you talk about the profit pools in retail left over from inadequate price performance ratios in weekly price management you will likely have the  ears of your potential customer.

So next time before you write or speak, ask yourself, have I gone through the process of converting my “original thought negative” into a “thought positive print”?.

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