The Mind Matters: Cognitive Bias and Communication

Cognitive biases are the perfect crossroad of communication and neuroscience. They impact not only how we receive communication, but how we deliver it as well. At our April Internal Comms Pro Rise & Shine Series Event, we welcomed Chuck Gose and Kristin Hancock for a deeper dive into what cognitive biases are and how they impact the way we receive and deliver content.

This event included two speakers:

This event’s IC Pro Panel included:

So, let’s highlight some of our favorite IC Pro Tips from our incredible speakers in Indianapolis.

IC Pro Tips:

1. Fixing our cognitive bias

We may not even realize it’s happening, but we are biased every day. From rooting for our favorite sports team to choosing a soda brand off of the shelf, we are both consciously and subconsciously biased.

How does bias negatively affect us as internal communicators? Our keynote speaker, Chuck Gose, discussed the different types of biases that we face and how to address them.

A few that he mentioned included:

  • Blind spot bias
  • Zero-risk bias
  • Outcome bias

How does he suggest that you overcome your biases, especially when communicating to a large audience with many different perspectives?

Chuck suggests first knowing and understanding your biases well. You can’t fix what you don’t know is broken. Review the types of biases that affect your communication the most when you receive and deliver content. Next, think critically about how you consume content and tie them to previous examples.

Now that you recognize and understand your personal biases, continue to try to overcome them when you are working with your content to become a better communication practitioner and advisor.

2. Maximizing productivity in monthly meetings

There’s nothing worse than walking out of an hour-long meeting and feeling like it was useless. No action plan, everything was way off topic, or leaving completely unmotivated or stressed out.

As internal communicators, we don’t have time to spare and need to maximize productivity for each meeting. That’s why it is important to have a standardized meeting format in place before those teamwork sessions.

During our Fireside Chat with Kristin Hancock, we learned that you should not only ask your employees to arrive prepared for the meeting with an itemized list but ask them to do a mental check-in with themselves as well.

What are they excited about this month? What are they worried about? How are they feeling physically?

Taking the time to better understand how your teammate has been feeling is key to establishing a strong working relationship and running a successful meeting.

Work-life balance is incredibly important to today’s workforce. As a manager, Kristen recommended having employees set and track their personal and work goals alongside one another.

3. Generating buy-in for your employer brand project

Internal communicators are leaders of their organizations. We are responsible for inspiring and engaging front-facing leaders and managers to help each team work more effectively.

The best way to build trusting relationships with employees is through two-way communication, as we discovered from one of our Expert IC panelists, Myra Cocca.

She revealed a 5-step approach to two-way communication, an outline to help engage teams in positive dialogue:

  • Convey current and future state
  • Explain “what’s in it for me?”
  • Reveal concerns
  • Build a plan
  • Gain commitment

We had a wonderful time in Indianapolis and would love to hear more of our #ICPros’ takeaways. Tweet @InternalCommsPro and use the hashtags #ICPro or #ICRiseandShine to share your experience.


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