You Get What You Project

Written by Martin Lucas

Did you know you’re projecting in all of your communication? This is less about the words you say and all about what is going on behind the scenes in the inner workings of your brain. It works like this: all communication is contextual because it is really not about what you, it’s about the person you’re communicating with and how they take in what you say. Spoken communication can have the wrong word here or there, resulting in your intent being lost. That is easier to understand when it comes to spoken communication; the wider challenge is to understand the vast world of communication when it comes anything that is not said.

What is projecting?

Projecting is how the mind creates your behaviors; it’s based on how you feel. For example, if you aren’t happy with something in life it can manifest itself in the little details of the emotions you project on your face, the movements of your body and the most affected element, your eyes.

We humans are naturally trained (per Darwin and other awesome innovators) to see emotions, moods, and reactions through our eyes.

The eyes are a window to the soul

I believe a phrase never exists without a cause and effect of behaviours that generate the need for the phrase to be created in the first instance. In this case, your eyes do indeed give away way more information than you might want to when it comes to communication. Don’t believe me? Time for another phrase:

Your eyes tell a different story

We have all been there; you’re frustrated with someone and trying very hard to hide it as they keep hitting your trigger points. It is very hard to hide these moments because, by nature, you give out signals in your behaviours you can’t control and don’t always mean to show. This is because evolution hasn’t caught up with modern life. As a species, we still operate with our ego and survival instinct (and both of these elements are directly linked in the brain); we give out signals as warnings to others or to attract people as partners or to create tribes (or what we call friends, customers and businesses today)!

You Get What You Project

This is a fantastic phrase to build into your thought process. There are times to communicate with people and times things are best left alone and that should account for what you aren’t saying; this flows into all types of communication. It is always about human-to-human communication, and remember that is not always in person either. Here are some examples:

Millennial Business Owner

If you are a millennial you will project language that naturally and predominantly attracts other millennials; your words and your nature will manifest themselves to attract similar people. Now if your target market was, say, ‘old’ people like me (I’m in my thirties), you should have a conscious understanding of which words, images and media will attract me and my generation.

Male Social Media

This is really common. We have a natural bias based on who we are, where we grew up and our gender. This is not about sexism (but can be), it’s about the natural way we select language based on the conditions I just referenced. Males tend to be more aggressive with their word selections and also more practical. It is very true that men are less emotionally intelligent than women. Now imagine if you’re trying to attract females to your social media; aggressive words vs softer words - same message but one is rejected by 50% of your target market (who aren’t consciously thinking about this difference, but you should!). Our brains works super hard to not send stuff to our conscious mind; this brain is hunting alignment in the millions of inputs it absorbs every day. When the brain finds alignment with something of strong interest, something it believes you will like, then it sends it ‘up’ to the conscious mind. This is why words and strategy matter!

Lifetime Value

Self-belief is a bugger to control. Whether it is life, work or a combination of both, how we feel about ourselves can make us into our own worst enemy. This can come in many forms:

Procrastination

Worry

Desperation

Doubting your ideas

Doubting your worth

It’s all about Fraud Syndrome, that moment where you feel you could get tapped on the shoulder: ‘We caught you, we know you can’t do this job, get out’. It’s incredibly common, so my first tip is to give yourself a break. Secondly, pause; think before you act and create lists. Wunderlist is my favourite app for lists; you can share lists with others and lists help you stop thinking and worrying about things, which happily reduces our ability to overthink and self destruct.

A further exploration on the subject of the context of communication can be found here.