Power Communications: Master the Unconscious

Vector of Business People with Speech BubblesMost communication is unconscious. You may think you’re delivering clear and consistent messages based on your words, but unconscious nonverbal behaviors are key to communicating with power.

Evolution has given our unconscious minds the ability to handle most incoming cues automatically and rapidly, thus freeing our conscious minds to make complex decisions. Much of this activity occurs instantaneously, nonverbally and unconsciously.

Without the participation of your unconscious mind, you’d react too slowly to avoid danger, would have a hard time relating to others and would be unable to read emotional cues that detect lies or authenticity.

The same holds true for leadership communication. If you rely solely on your words, you’re missing opportunities to inspire others. Studies continue to confirm that listeners perceive a message’s meaning largely through nonverbal, subconscious processing.

Power in human communications and relations is indeed determined largely by the interplay of our unconscious minds…You can learn how to literally synchronize other’s brain waves with your own.” ~ Nick Morgan, Power Cues: The Subtle Science of Leading Groups, Persuading Others, and Maximizing Your Personal Impact (Harvard Business Review Press, 2014)

Despite all of the research, some of us cling to the notion that we rule our unconscious minds, and not vice versa. In truth, we make most decisions unconsciously, only becoming aware of them when we start to act upon them.

This article explores the science of non-verbal communication, seven power cues, and suggests ways leaders can master communication to maximize strengths and expand influence.


This is a brief synopsis of a 1,500-word and a 900-word article and 5 Article Nuggets*, suitable for consultants’ newsletters for executives and leaders in organizations. It is available for purchase with full reprint rights, which means you may put your name on it and use it in your newsletters, blogs or other marketing materials. You may also modify it and add your personal experiences and perspectives.

The complete article includes these important concepts:

  • What Science Reveals
  • 7 Power Cues:
    • Self-awareness
    • Nonverbal communications
    • Unconscious messages
    • Leadership voice
    • Social signals
    • Unconscious reprogramming
    • Synchronize with stories
  • Leadership Requires Alignment

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