Mark Rhodes: “Why communication matters more than ever”

Published:  20 June, 2016

Author and business mentor Mark Rhodes addressed delegates at the NMBS Conference on the subject of communication, and why having a confident mindset can do wonders in business.

An international speaker who specialises in the importance of belief, confidence and motivation, Mr Rhodes has come a long way since once taking a hammer to his own car in order to fake an accident, so that he could get out of a public speaking engagement.

After selling his start-up internet business to Silicone Valley, Mr Rhodes became interested in looking at what makes people successful, and believes that much of a person’s success is down to their own personal mindset, as much as their practical skills.

“I was always really good at pitching for new business,” he explained. “I’d go into the meeting feeling really positive and already imagining them signing on the dotted line, but when I thought about having to do public speaking I’d immediately be thinking of everything that could go wrong. As soon as I changed that to positive thoughts, my fear of public speaking went down.”

Mr Rhodes believes that the conversations you have with yourself influence the interactions you have with other people, and that both are equally important.

“You need both a good skillset and a good mindset,” he said. “You can use Google to learn a lot of the skills you might need to do a certain job, but mindset, belief and confidence in yourself is often the missing link.”

Referring to some of the Conference’s previous speakers, who have climbed mountains and done some extraordinary things, Mr Rhodes asked the assembled delegates what encouraged some people to do amazing things that other people wouldn’t dream of doing?

“It’s all about their approach,” he said. “Most people are demoralised by cold calling, but I’ve met some people who absolutely love doing it – they simply have a different mindset. Everyone you meet in business – managers, teams, suppliers, staff and customers – they all have different mindsets, and you have to take them into account.”

Mr Rhodes believes that our thoughts determine how we feel, which determines the actions we take, and in turn determines the results we get. He gave the example of a confident person going to a party. If he has been looking forward to it all day he is likely to be the ‘life and soul’ of the event, meeting new people and generally having a great night.

Compare that to a shy man going to that same party – he goes there expecting to have a bad time, keeps to himself and hides in the corner out the way to avoid people. This means he doesn’t really get involved in the party, so doesn’t enjoy himself and uses this experience to justify why he won’t enjoy the next party he attends. For both men, their thoughts and expectations influence their experiences.

So, what makes a successful leader? Mr Rhodes believes much of this success is down to the way a person thinks, which changes the way their mind engages them in action.

“Take the example of two people who are made redundant,” he said. “They both have exactly the same qualifications and experience, but one believes they will quickly get another job, and one doesn’t. The person who believes in himself is likely to apply for more jobs, contact more people and keep going a lot longer to get that job than the one who doesn’t believe they will be hired, as they’re likely to be more quickly discouraged by any rejection.”

According to Mr Rhodes, successful leaders will communicate well both with themselves and with other people, so that they are clearly understood. When things don’t go well, they will respond to the situation in a logical way, while others may react in an emotional way. Each approach will lead to different outcomes and different interactions with communicators.

“You have to unlearn all the bad habits you’ve learned and look again at how we communicate and interact with people,” he urged delegates. “If you think the world is a positive place, that’s what you’ll get. The brain looks for evidence to prove its theories and make the world fit what it’s expecting to see.”

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