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Are they ready for you? How do you know?

 February 15, 2020

By  Nagui Bihelek

Are you ready?

Has this happened to you: You are explaining something to someone, and they have zoned out, they are closed to your point of view, idea, solution, product. Whatever you are communicating to them?

In fact as you are reading this right now you are deciding whether to read on or move on. This is your brain doing a neurological unconscious comparison based on your needs. If this matches your needs, your unconscious brain will awaken your conscious one, as if to say - "You need to pay attention to this, it might be important."

If it doesn't match with any of your needs, it will say "Come on! Let's move on." Either because it has made an assumptions about what's to come next, it's too busy with too many other priorities, or just don’t care.

Let me unpack some of these so it makes sense, but before I do, you need to answer this question:

Why is this important to you?

Examples:

 Let me answer this for you with some examples. I recently did some research around specific instances where this has occurred. Here are a few:

  • I was in a meeting with someone recently, and when it was over I left feeling like:- “What a waste of time”, ”Why did this person even want to meet with me?” You know what I mean! Clearly nothing I said was of value to them. Is it because they thought they knew it all, didn’t see the need, or is it because they just weren't listening at the level at which the communication was being transmitted. If this was a radio, then I was transmitting on one frequency - a different station - from the one they were listening on. And why was that?

I am sure you have some ideas, and suggestions. Just hang onto these for a minute.

  • Another instance where I was asked by a business owner to offer them some advice about what they should do, which I did. Months later they connected with me, and I asked if they did any of that, because they seemed to be still stuck in the same place. The response I got surprised me "Which suggestion are you referring? I'll have to go back to my notes and take a look." So what happened? They asked for advice then didn’t use any of it. Why? Was it bad advice, or were they just not ready for that?

Again, just hold onto your automatic desire to tell me your thoughts. Keep reading.

  • I've trained many coaches over the years, and coached many business owners, and when it comes to sales I often heard them saying - ”That prospect is not coachable“, or “They didn't hear anything I was saying”, ”It was like a talking to a brick wall”, and so on. They quickly dismiss those prospects, and even cross them off the list of opportunities. At first I would ask the coach or client - "So you didn't know how to reach them, and you want to blame them rather than figure out how to improve yourself." Well! You can imagine the response I would get. “You don’t understand”, “You weren’t there”. Any discussion about it met with denial and resistance. It was never about them it was always the prospect. Uh! 

I am sure you have your own experiences, and if so, please share them in the comments.

I call what happened: "When you're not ready, you are not listening."

What happened?

When a person hasn’t evolved to the level where their need matches the information, the brain's receptors are not open to receiving the information, and this is what we observe and label as - Not Listening. If you are not familiar with the term“receptors” - these are like an open door which will only allow in information that meets a specific criteria. When a door is closed to the information being presented, it won’t allow that to enter, we see this as not listening. Nothing is getting through to the gatekeeper.

We are all constantly evolving. By that I mean we are constant taking on new information so we can improve. When we stop evolving we lose motivation, and lose purpose.Without purpose we might as well be digging our own grave. In a recent blog around IKIGAI we attempted to help people find their purpose, and become passionate about their destination. If you haven't read this, please take the time to do that. It has step by step instructions on what to do.

Now maybe you are all smarter than me, and I am just a bit slow. Or maybe I am about to give you a new perspective on this which I have called - "Are you/they ready?"Intrigued? Good, because it means you are ready. The brain can only be curious about what it feels can be useful, or valuable. Depending on the depth of this curiosity will result in taking action or just filed under good information -maybe one day I can use it.

This isn't going to resonate with everyone, not immediately. Your level of interest will show up in your commitment to practice the following. You'll want to go and experiment with this a few times in order for your conscious brain to turn this in a truth.

A truth that will shift your beliefs about other people forever.

The brain is an amazing super-computer, still unmatched by any technological advancements or artificial intelligence available today. At any instance the brain is receiving100's of thousands of bits of information, but it can only process 7+/-2. Yes, according to scientific research conducted by leading neuroscientists, we can only process 7 plus or minus 2 bits at any instance. So we are constantly filtering out a ton of information. Information that the UNCONSCIOUS brain deems irrelevant. (I capitalize unconscious, because we are unaware this is happening).

When you are listening to someone, and the unconscious brains deems the information irrelevant, it goes on doing other important processing. It reallocates the processing brain-power to more relevant, more valuable or useful information.As a result when we observe others not listening we use phrases like"Talking to a brick wall" or "They are in complete denial".

The scientific reality is they are just not ready for that information, or they have deemed it as "Known“ and since they already know it, they stop listening, appear distracted, ask unrelated questions, and so on.

Why am I making a point of all this? How does this help you?

  • In sales we often suggest to stay in touch. Even when they have said “No thanks”, it’s often just a “Not right now”. Not to many touches, but just enough so when they are ready they will remember you first.
  • When You are teaching, coaching or mentoring remember that they are not as educated about the topic as you are. You have gone through a journey that has likely taken a decade of focused and deliberate education, they may be just at the start of their journey, way back where you were when you started.

Here is what happens when people are ready. I often hear people saying "Oh my god! Why hasn’t someone told me about this?" That's an awesome feeling. Right? It’s a perfect sign of someone who is ready and craving more. Craving what you have to offer. This is someone who is also Committed to the journey of discovery at the level you are delivering it at.

When they are not ready they can't see how to apply this, and how this can help them or help others. There is no association. No relatedness. The brain has not matched the information to the need. They are still on the wrong channel, the wrong radio station.

I recently took some of our advanced master coaches through a discussion about Emotion vs logic. For years we've been told that all decisions are 80% emotion and 20% logic. When I challenged this, many immediately refuted this, but those that were open to going on the journey of challenging this showed a high level of intrigue and curiosity. They wanted to know. They wanted to prove or disprove. They weren’t convinced, but they also were not biased. They were open to the idea that maybe this was false or an old myth. Those that were not ready did not join our webinars. Those that disagreed joined the first one, and made up their mind to disengage and didn't show up again.  

At the end the empirical data presented through the AccuMatch neural-map proved what we suspected - we use both almost equally. Often the first trigger is an emotional one, but the decision are usually based on processing pros and cons, which is logic. Keep an eye out for a blog on our discussions and findings.

If you are not ready, you won’t be able to hear what we have to share with you. When a person is ready, they will hear you.

How do you get someone to listen when they are not ready - what we usually label as “Not Interested”?

Steps you can apply to ensure you message is being delivered to the right frequency that they are listening at:

  1. Establish level of interest early. Ask the questions;
    • “How interested are you in …?
    • What makes that interesting for you?
    • How will this benefit you?
  2. Next you’ll want to dig a little deeper to again establish level of interest:
    • Is it just conversational interest or a true commitment?
  3. Check their readiness along the way.
    • You may need to step back to when you first started otherwise you will lose them.
  4. Don’t keep going if you don’t have their attention, interest and commitment. You’ll just frustrate yourself and likely annoy them. Just enjoy the conversation instead.

Enjoy! Make every moment a learning moment!

Please share your stories.

Leave us your comments below.

Nagui Bihelek


Nagui is an entrepreneur, public speaker and thought leader on Behavior in the workplace. As founder of AccuMatch the neural map of individual and team behaviors in the workplace and creator of Behavior Intelligence coaching to transform culture and inspire positive action and collaboration.

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