IABC Ottawa’s First Book Club Meeting of the Season a Success

IABC Ottawa members gathered on October 16, 2014 for the season’s first book club meeting.

Over wine and cheese, we kicked off our book club season with a classic business book that has parallels and important lessons for communicators.

Switch by Chip & Dan Heath asks why is it so hard to make lasting changes in our companies, in our communities, and in our own lives. The primary obstacle, say the Heaths, is a conflict that’s built into our brains. Psychologists have discovered that our minds are ruled by two different systems—the rational mind and the emotional mind—that compete for control. The rational mind wants to change something at work; the emotional mind loves the comfort of the existing routine. This tension can doom a change effort—but if it is overcome, change can come quickly.

Our discussion took us from cover to cover, even though only half of the attendees had read the book. We discussed how communicators can work with executives and their team to instill change in their organization, or work towards a campaign that can help their audience change their behaviour.

Here is what some Book Club attendees had to say about the conversation:

“My biggest take away from the book club conversation what that it is important to learn what motivates your team. Each individual goes about change differently, some need a rational explanation, some prefer an emotional reason, and some need a combination of both. Find out what inspires your team and appeal to that side of the brain. This might mean having a different message for each colleague.”

— says Kristine D’Arbelles

“Using the book as a jumping off point, it was great to discuss examples from our professional experience about what makes change easier, and what makes it harder. It was a lively and thought-provoking discussion.”

— says Tara Lapointe

“The most memorable aspect was the discussion around how to appeal to the emotional side of people when trying to enact change or sell an idea. I believe it’s usually easier to outline logical arguments than to discover someone’s emotional trigger. To be able to affect change, one needs to be able to understand and communicate to both types of people.”

— says David Folkerson

“My key takeaway was that situation awareness is important – if not necessary – when communicating with others. Whether that means picking and choosing our battles (i.e. knowing when to give ground and when to hold tight) or how we pitch ideas to our colleagues based on their personalities and needs. We can be more persuasive to others – or at least meet less resistance – if we understand how others work.”

— says Sharon Cheung

“My key takeaway from the book and our conversation was that all the little and big decisions we make in a day use up a lot of energy. However, routine helps limit the number of decisions you make and gives you more energy. When trying to implement change, avoid asking others do make several decisions back to back.”

— says Kaleigh Maclaren

At the end of our meeting, members voted on the next book to read. We voted on Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini. Influence is a classic book on persuasion that explains the psychology of why people say “yes”—and how to apply these understandings. Dr. Robert Cialdini is the seminal expert in the rapidly expanding field of influence and persuasion. His thirty-five years of rigorous, evidence-based research along with a three-year program of study on what moves people to change behavior has resulted in this highly acclaimed book.

We will review Influence at our next book club meeting on January 15, 2015 at 5:30 p.m. Register today!

Remember, you can loan the book from your local library.

Don’t have time to read the book – no problem! Each meeting begins with an overview of the book and the topics are broad enough that anyone can contribute to the discussion regardless if they have read the book or not.