Clarity is paramount to success in anything. This involves both sending and receiving information. In science and engineering, we use a signal-to-noise ratio to determine how clear a signal is with respect to background noise. Ideally, we want a ratio greater than 1:1, meaning the signal is greater than the background noise. Ok, so what does does this have to do with leadership, reinvention, business growth, and quality of life? Everything.
If you are not communicating clearly, your message or request (your signal) may be lost in the background noise of other people’s world of priorities, distractions, judgments, assumptions, negative beliefs, and other “noise.” The “noise” in your head is real and so is the noise of a work environment. This noise must be overcome to communicate clearly, and to listen, understand, and move something forward – including projects, business growth, and relationships.
To gain clarity, you have a few options – 1) decrease the background noise; 2) increase the signal strength; and 3) do both.
To decrease the background noise, be sure your message is communicated at a time and place (environment or setting) with minimal external distraction so it can be heard. This may not always be possible, but be mindful of the surroundings. Also be sure to decrease the background noise in your own head! This includes any self-doubt or negative chatter that may compromise the clarity of your communication. Deep breaths work. Focus on the message, not on yourself or how well it will be received. Get present.
To increase the signal strength, be intentional about your message. Who needs to hear it? What precisely do they need to hear? (Hint: they do not need to hear all the back-story). What level of assertiveness do you need to be heard? What volume? Louder does not mean more assertive. Some of the most impactful messaging is softly spoken, e.g., Dalai Lama. And some may be non-verbal action-oriented messaging. Modeling the way is one example.
Increasing the signal strength involves communicating with confidence and self-trust. Focus on the bigger picture of why your message is important. And resist the urge to “fill” the silent space that may follow your signal (message or request). Wait a few seconds to allow processing time so your signal can be received fully.
Here are a couple of example video clips of the signal-to-noise ratio in action with Lemon Squeezy. In this video, our signal-to-noise ratio is less than 1; the background “noise” (aka Noble) was so loud, Lemon Squeezy could not focus on my signal. In this second clip, we decreased the background noise, my signal was strong (inviting him to step onto a mat he used to resist), and our signal-to-noise ratio is greater than 1.
So, what’s your signal-to-noise ratio? Are you communicating clearly and rising above the noise? Is the noise overpowering your signal? Play with making some adjustments and see what you find. Let me know, I’d love to hear. If you’d like support strengthening your signal and leading yourself with clarity and confidence, feel free to contact me for a complimentary conversation. Here’s to your empowered signal.