Picks From CFM’s Bookshelf: The Brain and How We Use It

What’s on your bookshelf? Here are public affairs and marketing communications ideas from CFM.After all the talk about target audiences and key messages, the real secret of effective communications is getting an idea intact from your brain to someone else's brain.

Cresting interest in neuroscience and behavioral psychology provides some clues.

David Rock's "Your Brain at Work" offers practical personal strategies for overcoming distraction, regaining focus and working smarter. It also explores how to collaborate with others more effectively.

Based on how your brain works, collaboration demands solid connections with people around you or who seek to engage and influence you. This speaks volumes about the marketing paradigm. Pitching messages at people, even when they are cleverly or humorously packaged, isn't a substitute for trust-building engagement. As a person becomes more distracted and alienated, those connections become even more critical.

This is why many marketers have turned to engagement strategies and away from mass appeals, either in the form of advertising or public relations. Social media is a good conduit for such engagement, but it also can greatly add to distraction unless engagement is channeled or directed with a larger strategy in mind.

"Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard."

Another book getting attention on our bookshelf is "Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard." Authors Chip and Dan Heath sketch an easy-to-understand picture, based on extensive psychological research, of how our rational and emotional minds work – sometimes in tandem, often times at odds.

The Brothers Heath describe the rational mind as the rider and the emotional mind as the elephant. Riders can control their elephants for a while, but they get tired quickly, allowing elephants to run loose. They offer a wealth of well-documented stories that illustrate how to harness both rider and elephant to achieve significant change.

The stories the Heaths chronicle span all walks of life and all types of organizations. Most important, the change agents they describe are people who weren't in power positions. They couldn't order change. Instead, they had to figure out strategies that caused change. Their examples serve as daily guides for personal life and business decision-making.

Good reading and please share with us insights from books on your bookshelf.