Intention & Attention = meaningful communication

Hi all! Thank you so much for attending the workshop in PWC on the Friday 18th of May- many thanks to those who attended. To those who did not make it, this article may not make complete sense.  

Our brain learns by repetition so just putting down a few simple points or takeaway messages to refresh your minds... We started off by thinking about what good communication looks like, and we pointed out that in todays busy world is it actually very simple to be a good communicator.  When you are talking to someone give them 100% of your full attention.  We considered then, what does bad communication look like? Even by noticing that can let us know what it is we need to change.


There are two reasons that intention is so vital in good communication, one being if we want to get good at anything you need to have your OWN purpose to do it, your own reason or intention as to why you would like to become better at it.  We trimmed it down to think of one specific scenario that you would like to change, because this is how the mind works, is to work on a specific seemingly 'small thing' so that it can be generalised out.

The second use of intention, is to recognise that other people are VERY quick as sussing out what our intentions are, and that's why the old stereotype of a 'salesperson' just won't really cut it for 2018.  People are being sold to all the time, and so we cannot go to networking events with the idea that you have to become very 'salesy' as this just won't work anymore (or if it does it will be a tiny minority).  So take the pressure off yourself when going into a networking situations, because its about making connections and meeting nice people, and if good conversation flows then other things may or may not come from that. We need to get away from the 'What can I get out of you??' mindset and think more about having a good intention and paying attention to the other person you are speaking to.  Anything else is too forced.

People like people who make other people feel good!!

Empowering Question 1: How can I make sure this conversation is win-win for both of us? How can I listen more carefully to the other?  




Remember Snow White..she has a strange feeling that the person offering her the apple has a bad intention.  She took it the first time..but I doubt she ever would take a second offering!

How can you make yourself feel bad?

In coaching we are less interested in the 'Whys' and tend to focus more on the 'Hows.'  An interesting way to think about any feeling is 

How am I successfully producing this feeling?

As if we understand that the longest one 'feeling' or biochemical reaction to one thought can last for is 90seconds then we can understand that we are doing something with our attention that keeps us feeling bad.  Once we understand what our process is then we can find ways to change it. So for example for us to feel good before an event, what would we need to be paying attention to? In order to feel nervous, what do we need to start thinking about or paying attention to?

This usually comes down to our 2 fundamentals, what we are picturing in our mind, and the words we say to ourselves.

So if we know this, then we can change what we are saying to ourselves and what we are imagining or representing in our mind!  A simple way to start, the next time you have an event coming up is to ask yourself this fundamentally useful empowering question...

Empowering question 2: How would I like to feel?  What is it that I want to feel about this?

It is called a target state.  Talk about what you want, not what you don't want.


Remember that this becomes vital when we are under stress.  When stressed our brain operates better under direct commands.  Think of me doing my horse-riding- the teacher keeps making the mistake and shouting at me what NOT to do.  "Don't let him run off to the left!" (I let him run to left) "Stop pulling your left rein" (I pull left rein).

How often do you tell yourself what you don't want?  Could you change it?

Stop mind


The importance of internal dialogue and understand that when someone is a bad listener- its because they are talking to themselves, they have alot of internal dialogue...this can be quite stressful and really limits our experience of living.  When people are doing this,  we know their intention is very much focused internally, rather than externally on the surroundings and on the people around us.

So much of what we feel is about what we are paying attention to in that moment.  A VERY unhelpful thing that people often do, whether they realise it or not is in coaching terms called MINDREADING.  Mindreading is claiming to know what other people are thinking about, and it is very strongly related to public speaking fears, or social anxiety.  In order to get nervous about social situations, we must be judging ourselves through other peoples eyes and telling ourselves what we believe they are thinking.

2 ways out of this, put your attention elsewhere or, if you are going to make stuff up- why not make up the good stuff!

Empowering question 3: How can I be kinder to myself today?  What can I pay attention to feel good right now?

Hope that is helpful.  Pause more when you speak to others, take time to breath and listen they will like you all the better for it!

Useful article on black & white thinking and stress

I work with wide ranging emotional issues and specialise in all types of anxiety, if you need anything check out my website and get in touch.

Aisling Cowan NLP Coach & Nutritionist.

Based at the Belfast Chiropractic Clinic