The Secret Reason Why We Always Click on Articles That Share Secrets

Go on, admit it! afb6_book_of_secretsThe moment you see a tweet or search results come up saying “10 Secrets of ………” or “5 Secret foods that will …….”, we cant help but click away. We want to know these secrets. We don’t want to be the one who misses out. If there are secrets going around then I damn well want to be in on them.

All to often we click on the mysterious link and when we read what the fantastic secrets are, we are left with the thought that it was not such a great secret after all. We can’t help feeling that we have been manipulated into reading these articles. Even if we have had this experience ten times though, we still can’t resist. Just incase there are some real secrets we can’t risk not finding out, and we click away, wasting hours of our time.

The reason why people use these tactics to get you to read their articles , buy their products or go to their website to learn their secrets, are far more basic than we ever imagined.  It’s not because we really believe that there is some amazing piece of information available. It’s not because we think that the answer to all our problems lie in the secret information you are about to receive. Nope, the reason is far more basic than any of those, and it stems from our childhood.

Do you remember the first time someone told you something and asked you to keep it a secret. As a child it burned inside you. You felt you had to let it out and tell someone. It was also a terrible punishment if you knew that anyone of your friends had a secret and would not tell you. It’s our first experience of being excluded in society.

Often, the more the information is withheld the greater the value we place on the information. A great example of this is the book going by that awesome title  “The Secret”. The Secret holds information from over 100 years of thought leadership. Hundreds of thousands of people have purchased this book just so they will not be the ones not knowing this vital information. Yes, unfortunately there is no real mystery or magic, secrets sell.

So, you might be asking, how does this little sales secret work? My theory is that it works by tapping into two basic human insecurities. The first being, not knowing something that everyone else does, or to put it simply being left out. A fear taught to us at a very young age in primary or even nursery school. And the second insecurity, a desire to have power, or to have information that no one else does. This plays on the issue of self worth. The next time you feel compelled to click on that “secret” link, pause and think about how you are feeling at that time. What emotional triggers are being pressed and can you avoid the manipulation.

Being aware of how and why we fall for this “secret” sales ploy can now assist us in not clicking on that link. I recommend asking yourself the questions, “If this was such a secret, would it be on Twitter?” and “If there was really 10 steps to untold riches, would it only sell for $19.95?” Yes a bit of common sense can save you lots of time.

Remember, if it sounds to good to be true it probably is. Lastly, if you are looking for the best secrets online, check out………shhhhh.

Managing for Emotional Profit

It’s Monday morning. You woke up 30 minutes late because you forgot to reset the alarm after the weekend sleep-in. You rush to get ready, skipping breakfast to make up for lost time. Traffic wise, all is looking good, when you turn the cornemotions01er and you see an accident in front of you. Tick, tick ,tick, you are never going to make you 8am meeting. You call ahead from your cell phone to alert them you will be late and your blood pressure goes up just a touch more. By the time you get to the office, the rest you gained from the weekend has been replaced with a stress-o-meter score of 10+.

After the meeting you notice two of your staff members waiting at your desk. “What do you want??….. I mean what can I do for you?” you bark. You have not given a seconds thought to how you are feeling and how this might influence your reaction to your staff. In those two minutes of unconscious interaction you have set back the teams morale and motivation for the day. Word gets out that you are in a bad mood and down goes the teams motivational bank balance.

So what you say? These are your staff members, and you are the boss. It’s your job to ensure that they turn up to work each day. To make sure they deliver on their job specs, sell more, do more, and achieve more for you and for the company. You have to manage your up-lines expectations and your down-lines demands. If you have stress, they damn well better just handle it. Well, if the outcome you are driving for is company profit and low staff turnover, best you start paying attention to your own emotions, and change that attitude

Emotional Intelligence is the ability to be aware of, understand, and manage the emotions in yourself and others. There are four main branches involved in emotional intelligence. These are:

• Self –Awareness
• Self-Management
• Social Awareness
• Relationship Management

(Daniel Goleman, 2002)

Research has shown that the best leaders are people with high levels of emotional intelligence (EQ)(Golman, 1996). Studies have also shown that people with high levels of EQ create higher performing teams and generate greater profits (Golman, 1996).

Although there are four branches of EQ, (shown above), in this article I am only going to focus on one aspect of the Self-Awareness trait, and that is Emotional Self Awareness.

Emotional Self Awareness is the ability to understand your own emotional reactions. It is the voice of reason inside your head that can observe your reactions and realize that the emotional state you are in e.g. anger or frustration may not be the best for the particular situation. Developing your own awareness is the first step to gaining control over your emotional states.

Try this exercise as a suggestion to see how aware you are of your emotional states. Set an hourly alarm on your phone or watch to remind you to think about your emotional state during the day. On the hour, stop for a moment and note down your emotion that you are feeling. I would even encourage you to make a note of these emotions in your diary. This activity will bring your awareness inward and allow you to actively think about how you are feeling. Try and describe the emotions in as much detail as possible. For example, instead of just saying “anger”, give some thought to the question of are you feeling slightly ticked off, or are you livid? The varying degrees of emotional states are important to comprehend as they affect our ability to deal with situations.

Once you have been able to recognize these emotions in yourself, the next step is to understand which of them assist you in doing your job and drive towards the best outcome, and which are a hindrance to you. A slight degree of frustration may focus you towards a specific task, while intense anger will just blind you from seeing potential solutions.

Employees are usually very in tune to their manager’s moods. Knowing very well when to stay out of his/her way and when would be a good time to discuss that raise. If you want to ensure that you get the best out of your employees, the first step is knowing how to get the best out of yourself. Understanding your own emotions is key to starting this journey.

So the next time you feel your blood pressure rising and need to engage with members of your staff, take a quick time out. Breathe deeply and think about how you are feeling and if your emotions are going to help the situation. Then either modify your reaction, or suggest that you meet with the person a little later.

I find keeping the concept of having an emotional bank balance with your staff in the back of your mind, a great help. When things are good, and you can motivate and inspire them, you make great deposits into the account. However, one instance of losing your cool can deplete the entire account, making it hard work to get your balance back.

So why not start giving a bit more thought to your own emotions and how you are affecting your own work environment and those around you. I am prepared to bet that the results will speak for themselves. A more in control you and a more profitable and happy team. Create your life.

If you would like to hear more about the benefits of Emotional Intelligence, why not book Kevin for his talk on “The Emotional Advantage – The business benefits of EQ”. More details on

It’s easy to be a good manager….crap!

fight-or-flight-two-businessmen-arguingIt’s easy to be a good manager. It’s easy to be the boss that everyone likes. It’s even easy to create a winning team. When the economy is good and business is booming, all of this stuff is easy. However, when the economy turns, sales drop off. Decreased sales mean greater competition for the small amount of business that is out there. This all leads to pressure in the system. Unlike good coffee percolators, pressure has a nasty way in companies of flowing down. Most managers, “manage” pressure in the system by distributing it amongst their staff. This is where good managers have a chance to shine. This is where good managers can become great managers.

So, as with everything in life, difficulties come to test us and give us an opportunity to show what we are made of. Corporate life, unfortunately can dehumanise the process. All too often we turn to managing by the way we are managed. If we are screamed at, we scream at our staff. If we are belittled in the board meeting, we turn to belittling our staff in our team meetings. We try and fit into what seems to be the corporate culture of the day. And here lies the opportunity to go from good to great.

In order to turn this around, you as the manager need to be aware. This awareness needs to be in two areas, an external awareness and an internal awareness.

Firstly, externally, be aware of the stress and pressure that your up-line manager (your boss) is under. Understanding his/her emotions in light of this awareness sheds some light on the situation. Empathy makes a world of difference, and an understanding from your side will shift the dynamic. Next, shift inward, you need to understand your own emotions. How do you feel when pressure is placed on you? Do you feel your blood pressure rising? Do you start raising your voice? Can you see things spiraling out of control as tensions increase. Alternatively, do you perhaps shut down? Take it all and show no reaction, saying it does not affect you, and then take it out on your staff, spouse, and the dog when you get home.

The second area of internal awareness is an understanding of what this time of increased stress is doing to you. How do you feel about going into your meetings? Can you feel your agitation? More importantly, how are you managing the stress that is being placed on you? When we realise that we can’t control others emotions, but more importantly we realise we have control over our own emotions, stress has a way of dissipating. We also can control our activities and focus on beneficial stress reducing activities e.g. exercise, deep breathing techniques, and  meditation. These activities raise our resilience to stressful situations.

Lastly, move back to an external focus and give some thought to your staff’s and colleagues emotions. Always work toward the outcome you want to achieve. If you want motivated staff, then you need to keep them motivated and focused. Instead of threats, manage with shared goals and celebrate small achievements. Offer encouragement and explain the pressure in the system and how they can help to alleviate it. Nothing motivates more than seeing the goal and knowing where they are on the road towards it. So find a visual way of depicting this and keep everyone informed. Keep in mind that you need to manage in the way that is effective regardless of how you are managed.

So buck the trend, don’t fall in line and perpetuate the style of the day. If it is not working to motivate you, you can be damn sure it’s not working to motivate your staff either. So take charge of the situation. Create your life.

These internal and external aspects of awareness are the major branches of emotional intelligence. If you would like more information why not book my talk “The Emotional Advantage” for your management team and give your company the competitive edge.