Do you know how unconscious bias affects your communication effectiveness?

Does bias affect your decision-making?


Each person is unique. We all have a history filled with different people and experiences that is only ours.

While we understand this and even generally accept every person has their own way of looking at things, with communication skills training, you come to realise that this uniqueness makes each person privy to a whole set of biases. Some we are aware of but others happen in the back of our minds.

Unconscious biases affect our decisions

As the name suggests, unconscious biases happen without us even knowing it, which makes them a major problem. They are quick judgements about people and situations.

But the best way to overcome them is simple. According to Julia Sperling, neuroscientist and faculty member of the McKinsey Leadership Development program, you just need to be aware and catch them before they affect your decision-making or communication.

“Having more insights makes it easier to stay on course,” said Ms Sperling. “The biggest danger is when people think they are being impartial but in fact carry deep biases.”

Common biases that you need to be aware of

Last year, Fast Company published the the five most common biases that affect Australians. We have presented them here in alphabetical order:

  • Anchor bias – Making conclusions or assumptions based on an incorrect piece of information, usually obtained early on in the decision process.
  • Availability bias – Relying on information at hand, rather than seeking higher quality and subjective evidence.
  • Confirmation bias – Cherry picking information to support your claims, belief or expectations.
  • Overconfidence bias – Overestimating your abilities, disregarding help and other opinions.
  • Rush-to-solve bias – When the need to come to a decision quickly (e.g. because of time and budget constraints) leads to other unconscious biases.

A poor decision can lead to far greater issues, so ensuring you can effectively manage unconscious biases is at the core of effective communication management. If you are interested in refining your skills further, check out what courses we have on offer in Melbourne.

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