Christina Harbridge: “How hijackable is your physiology?”

Published:  17 June, 2016

The main focus in keynote speaker Christina Harbridge’s presentation centred on helping individuals uncover the underlying behaviours around communication that affect overall performance and happiness in a company.

In her session, Ms Harbridge had delegates on their feet, interacting with one another, and provided them with tips on how changing their own physiology can help improve business and employee engagement.

With physiology driving the “operating system” in a business, Ms Harbridge posed the following question to delegates: “How hijackable is your physiology?” and highlighted how being less hijackable can improve productivity in the workplace.

“We as humans are irrational and emotional and we don’t always do what is right for us,” said Ms Harbridge. “This is because we get physiologically triggered and when we are triggered we don’t choose our behaviour. As a result, we become irrational and then we get into some kind of reaction.”

Ms Harbridge told the audience how there are several ways to look at this. “The first is internal (that is me), so if I am able to notice early on when I am triggered, I can then choose my behaviour.”

However, most humans only notice this when it is too late and they are already in the reaction process, explained Ms Harbridge, who said: “To notice this sooner you have to say to yourself that you’re ‘OK with not being OK’.

“When we get some kind of trigger we try and control it, rather than noticing it and then using it. We then get into a form of irrational behaviour, and once you are triggered you are not listening to people anymore and a conversation can become a confrontation.”

Ms Harbridge spoke about how important it is to notice positive things when communicating with members of staff, and to tell them these comments on a regular basis, rather than simply telling someone what they haven’t done and what is wrong with them. She said: “Say something positive to someone and walk away. Doing this will help you become less hijackable and more approachable with your colleagues. It will also make them feel like they can come and talk to you.

“Catch people in the behaviour you want, rather than telling people what you don’t want them to do.”

Ms Harbridge also explained how when having a one-to-one with a member of staff, if you have to combine positive and negative comments together, then its important to leave the positive comment(s) until the end.

She also discussed how meetings should be conducted in more of an open style, because in an interview process the person being interviewed isn’t going to show the real ‘them’ because the environment is too formal. Ms Harbridge concluded: “I say to people walk around and make the interview process active. It’s about making people feel comfortable so that you see what they are really like.”

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