Metacognition - Your Path to Achieving Influence

Author: Gregor Jeffrey
May 7, 2021

We all know how frustrating it can be when someone doesn’t understand what we’re trying to say. It feels so defeating to not be able to connect with our audience, especially when we’re trying to convince people of something we believe strongly in. It’s frustrating, defeating – and a waste of our time. Because it’s almost impossible to influence others without first understanding how we ourselves think.

This was an area of my life I couldn’t figure out for the longest time. I wanted to perform better in my work and create more meaningful relationships but I struggled to connect with others in important situations. When I tried to express my convictions people often seemed confused, disinterested - or even dismissive.

It wasn’t until I stumbled upon an idea rooted in cognitive science that I was able to clearly see that most of the difficulties I’d faced in my communication were related to the fact that I didn’t fully understand myself.

Metacognition is a higher order thinking skill and literally means “thinking about thinking”. Ned Herrmann’s pioneering work in the field of neurological preferences helped me to understand that my unique cognitive profile was the source of my communication challenges.

I discovered that as a unimodal conceptual thinker, my brain constantly defaults to a single style of processing information – which is not an advantage when it comes to communication. Conceptual thinkers are often brilliant at creativity and innovation but can come across as scattered and disorganized in their speaking. Being totally unaware of my cognitive bias, I struggled to fit into the highly structured corporate environments in my work in the defence and aerospace sector.

I now view metacognition as a discipline – a conscious approach to overcome my own cognitive bias. Once started, I believe that the process of metacognition never ends. Every day, every interaction, I learn more about how I think and how it differs from others. And the more I learn about myself the more I’m able to achieve influence in a way that is authentic to me.

Metacognition is the path we each need to pursue to increase our influence in our work, connect more deeply in our relationships and feel more at ease with who we are.

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