Have You Seen This Movie Before?

Intuition is the thing that’s often missing in communication. After all, if you have intuition about your audience (what they’ve experienced, their motivations, etc.) you can engage with them more effectively. And if you’re faced with a business decision about which you have to communicate, intuition is a guide that won’t let you down.

Call it a hunch – or, following your gut.

Intuition isn’t entirely learned, nor are you just born with it. As a journalist, I had to mentally process huge amounts of incoming data and decide what’s important to the reader or viewer and how to serve it up. It was important to be a quick study. 
It certainly helped that there was a lot of sameness in what we saw day-in and day-out: political scandals, shootings, fires, missing children, a hero’s homecoming. You felt like you’d seen this movie before.

Certainly much of my intuitive ability was cultivated and practiced in a newsroom. Intuition is one of the three pillars of Novaria Communication: intelligent, intuitive, influential. I help people communicate intelligently, with an intuition about their environment, and in a way that will influence their stakeholders. So imagine my delight when I read a piece in Huffington Post that says intuition is a highly valued attribute in the business world. The author explains how intuitive people cultivate and access their sense of “knowing.”

Intuition takes many forms, like knowing what’s going to happen next, like a feeling of déjà vu because you’ve experienced something so very similar before, like that comment you make and somebody else says “I was thinking the exact same thing.”

Intuition isn’t the only imperative for business and communications success, however. Some scenarios call for a more deliberate approach. I grew up in Missouri – the Show-Me State – where we took a little extra time and sized things up before coming to a conclusion. People say that Midwestern sensibility is a highly-valued attribute.

I think it comes down to being grounded. Experience helps. Having been through countless business transformations, counseling numerous executives and steering communications and engagement initiatives, I honestly believe that saying “there’s nothing new under the sun.” Yes, the people are different, the organizations are different, even innovation brings different ways of doing things, but the fundamental motivations are the same. People want the same outcomes – efficiency, ease, transparency, clarity, honesty.

Intuition tells me that. And it hasn’t failed me yet.

Today's question: How has intuition saved your bacon?


The Share is the Thing

When was the last time you made a purchasing decision based on what you saw on local TV news or read in the paper? It could be a new restaurant, auto insurance or a new wellness regimen.

Now, when was the last time you acted on the recommendation of a friend or someone you trust?

Chances are the second question is easier to answer than the first. There is a difference between the media you know from an arm’s distance and the “friend” who’s part of your “community” – be it family, work, Facebook or Reddit.

When I worked in television news, we felt we had earned the trust of our viewers; when they heard it from us they could feel safe acting on it. When we went on the air during the hot summer and made a plea for donated fans the public would step up and deliver.

When I moved into public relations, I played a variation of that theme, telling clients we were delivering value by placing their experts, products or solutions in the media. I would tell them that third-party endorsement is much more effective (and believable) than if they simply talk about themselves.

I was having lunch recently with a friend who runs the US digital practice of a global PR firm and we got to talking about the changing media landscape. I launched into my tried-and-true opinion about the media bestowing credibility, and I could see by the look on his face he differed with my take.

“Not anymore,” he countered. “Nowadays, the share is the thing.”

Admittedly, that’s a bit oversimplified, but I have to agree with him. Traditional news media have lost ground as a trusted source, and you could argue that with the proliferation of social media they are no longer our “go-to” source for information and opinions.

The fact is … we get and share our information differently today. We shout out to members of our hand-picked community in Facebook. We posture on Twitter to the people who choose to listen to us. We do whatever people do on Reddit! We review a restaurant or realtors on Yelp and, thanks to crowd-sourcing, people looking for a good restaurant or realtor read our review and take our advice.

All of the above have replaced watching the evening news or opening the paper (including reading the online edition). See the difference? With traditional media, you tune into a broadcast – broad in that a diverse array of news is delivered. With social, you’ve become selective about what you want to learn and discuss – and with whom.

You’re more invested in the process because you’ve essentially shaped your personal diet of daily information. As a result, you put more stock in what you hear and read.

Yet what I find amazing is that the path we take through social media is fantastically convoluted and most of the time we’re not even aware of it.

For instance, think of how often you will read a friend’s post, click through to the site she’s recommending, see something related and click on that and read a few of the comments, then jump to something else. Your path through social media looks like a twisting mountain road rather than a straight freeway. And that’s how it usually goes when we are consuming our daily information.

So it’s understandable that like beacons lighting the way, those “shares” or recommendations from friends and acquaintances help us make sense in a chaotic world overstuffed with choices and decisions.

What do you think? Where do you get your information? Whom do you trust?