Between last week’s Republican National Convention (held in Cleveland, where I live) and this week’s Democratic National Convention held in Philadelphia, I have consumed a lot of information. My mornings don’t usually begin and end with the news, mind you, but they have for these past two weeks. The news coverage is compelling, interesting, entertaining, and sometimes quite amusing. I have shared many conversations with friends and family members about this historic election and have learned a lot about what motivates people.
It got me thinking about how we, as professionals, consume, process and analyze information before making an important decision. Here are my thoughts on how we do this.
Connect with the person. You genuinely like and trust the person who is delivering the information. You connect with that person. You admire what that person stands for, the track record, the professional accomplishments, the personal story. It could be your boss. It could be a co-worker. It could be your mentor. There is something about that person that gives you the confidence to follow her/him to the ends of the earth.
Connect with the issue. We are more likely to connect with an issue when we have had personal experience with it. You may have been unjustly fired because of your age, gender, or sexual orientation. You may have been discriminated against because of the color of your skin. When you personally connect with that particular issue, you are more likely to be an advocate for it. Even when you haven’t shared that same experience, your empathy for another person’s experience opens your heart to support that issue.
Connect with the message. Rhetoric fills our heads each day, because of a 24/7/365 news cycle. We live in a sound byte world, where the value of a message is often measured by its cleverness. Know what the message is and why it resonates within you. Know what the foundation of that message is. What does it mean? Is it supported by great content or does it just sound good?
Connect with the facts. Sometimes we learn more about a topic because of the facts associated with it. Those facts can solidify our decision. Accurate, undisputed facts are hard to argue with. Just make sure the facts haven’t been taken out of context to paint a rosier picture.
Connect with your intuition. Beyond logic lies intuition, that gut feeling that – without hesitation and sometimes without explanation – grabs your attention and emphatically leads you to the right choice. We often say to ourselves, “It just feels right to me.”
The next time you have an important decision to make (which will be sometime today), think about what is motivating you to lean one way or another. Are you making that decision out of loyalty to a person, an issue, a message, or facts? Is your intuition guiding you? Or are you making that decision because you have looked at every perspective, and feel confident that you are making the right choice?