Communication from the perspective of neuroscience

Neuroscience is a field of scientific knowledge that has come a long way in the last decade.

The important thing to bear in mind is that it has an effect on a number of other disciplines, directly or indirectly linked to the brain and the functions of our human laboratory.

In my contribution today we are going to work on two different planes:

a) The behavior of individuals based on our conscious and subconscious decisions.

b) The interpersonal relationship through communication (the instrument) that responds to certain pre-acquired and defined categories in our brain.

Regarding the first of the questions, behavior, it is a topic that has been studied for decades in terms of how it manifests itself in organizations, especially in the areas of decision-making and in recent years, on more focused issues in emotional intelligence and the entire field of soft skills.

Of course, there is no variable that has a greater impact on organizations than their positioning.

What it represents for people and the market. And neuroscience is a great lever that powers these approaches.

Positioning is nothing other than the opinion that individuals have in relation to a company or brand.

This opinion influences, although we should say, inevitably conditions the purchase decision, and therefore it is vital that the company knows what people think of it.

In addition, you will want to know what attributes or deficiencies the market (consumers) relates to and how it differentiates it from its competitors.

All this in order to build an effective positioning that contributes to the success of the organization.

Traditional research methods on the tastes and desires of individuals based on what their memory holds about a company or a brand, in general, have been a bit outdated.

But this has an explanation: experience shows that there are great differences between what people say they think or say they do in front of a traditional questionnaire and what people really think or do. Bad information leads to bad decisions.

Neuroscience allows knowing more reliably what they think and what really influences the behavior of individuals.

We are referring to a methodology that provides reliable information on which the managers of the organization can make decisions adjusted to what the market requires and taking into account the demands of the environment.

In addition, neuroscience will allow us not only to know our current positioning, but it will also allow us to determine with what attributes we want to be related to when building a new desirable positioning that leads to success.

Once we know at a strategic level how we position ourselves, the entire communication strategy could pivot based on those values ​​that allow a better positioning of the brand and greater competitiveness of the company.

How does neuroscience influence the way of communicating?

Neuroscience applied to communication and marketing has a maxim that tells us that things are not what they are, but they mean it.

It is essential to understand this concept, since it implies understanding what various scientific studies have shown: more than 85% of our decisions are made in the subconscious and a minimum percentage corresponds to the rational part, that which seeks to explain “almost everything”.

Dylan Haynes is a British researcher who says that seven seconds before we make a decision, our brain has already done so without even realizing it.

Thus, how can neuroscience influence the way of communicating?

To consider:

– We must know in depth the behavior of our audiences.

– We have to make an effort to understand that the combination of stimuli and factors affect decision-making in different ways.

– All the elements indicated are those that finally create human behavior.

Limiting ourselves to this simple but rigorous methodology, our analysis will allow us to reach the level of attention, emotion and memory that determine the success of any communication campaign and the relationships sustained over time that good brands generate.

This methodology (a very scrupulous process) and very adjusted to our reality and needs, is what allows us to decode desires, ambitions or hidden causes in the habits of the segments of our target audience.

Some of the reasons that explain these processes are:

• The decisions that are made are not always the most favorable.

• Consumers can also lie.

• Body analysis always goes beyond any verbal result.

• We all have information stored on our hard drive (human memory).

Taking into account these elements from the perspective of communication, they give us light on the way to create links associated with the four great tastes of the mind:

1st) Mystery: characterized by seducing, catching and retaining attention.

2nd) Organic shapes: those natural and curvilinear that will always be better accepted.

3rd) Indulgence: associated with the reward and gratification produced by some brands or products.

4th) Metaphors: effective communication lines that identify audiences with their biological and cultural codes.

When a correct methodology is implemented and all the elements indicated are taken into account, it is easier for organizations to establish an emotional connection between brands and customers, as well as more tactical aspects that respond to tones, messages and channels, which they are enriched by the attributes that applied neuroscience provides.

Finally, the advantages provided by technology and that neuroscience makes use of to measure the impact and direction of the campaigns that we design as consultants cannot be ignored.

The Neuroscience Perspective

A key concept within this focus that we do on internal communication, scientific research has taken giant steps in recent years, so there are no longer doubts about the main categories of what social pleasure and the relationship between people mean, especially in work groups.

So, the categories are:

– Relationship.

– Status.

– Certainty.

– Autonomy.

– Justice.

Clearly, the relationship can be expressed as feelings of trust, connection, and belonging.

Reviewing a series of investigations in this field, it is concluded, without a doubt, that when people experience failures or even some level of breakdown in interpersonal relationships, there is an immediate consequence that is suffering.

It is a feeling that invades the psychology of the personality. It can affect more than you sometimes want to admit.

And very especially, when they work together with other people, with whom they feel motivated, that friction in communication is highly harmful.

It reduces, and worst of all, eliminates any motivating element that actually exists via other methods imposed by the company, but that the shock of communicational breakdown has prevailed to demotivate one or more people from a team.

This is the problem that the effective leader must avoid

While acknowledging the importance of bonding, Carr and Walton, psychologists at Stanford University take a slightly different stance on the issue.

They support the idea that people are motivated by working with others or, to be more precise, show that what counts is experiencing the feeling of working together.

One way to awaken that feeling is to simply use the word “together.”

The word is such a powerful social signal for the brain that its use is enough to awaken positive effects.

It seems to serve as a reward for the relationship, indicating that you belong, that you are connected, and that you are working with people you can trust to achieve a shared goal.

Therefore, middle managers should be encouraged to use the word together and the verb share more often.

This should not exclude in any way the responsibility that a person should put in their work. Because it is one thing to motivate (one of the roles of the leader) and another to ensure that employees have challenging tasks and the right resources to get the job done.

Because motivation comes from within: employees are responsible for motivating themselves. Leaders have the other responsibility: creating the right space.

Therefore, in the event that a person is not motivated to do the job, they should probably look for a job elsewhere when the management and behavior of the other members of that team and / or department are working optimally.

What each person must assume is responsibility as an adult, and not always wait for the impulse of motivation because they are unable to motivate themselves.

Treat employees not just as emotional brains, but as responsible adults. The balance between the dose of motivation and the demand for responsibility is something that an effective leader knows how to handle quite precisely.

Antonio Alonso, president of the AEEN (Spanish Business School Association) and general secretary of EUPHE (European Union of Private Higher Education).