Synchronising mentally, emotionally

and physically is key to connected relationships which leads to better outcomes at work and play.

“HAVE you ever wondered why you just click with some people, communicating and understanding each other easily? Or why some teams can be synchronising, or how an inspirational leader conveys their vision so well it creates shared passion and direction, whether it’s the young soccer captain or the CEO?

Quite literally, it’s because we synchronise — mentally, emotionally and physically.

I find this one of the most fascinating aspects of human interaction, and the more I examine it the more complex it is. People neurophysiologically synchronise and resonate in all sorts of ways: speech (not just taking turns but pace, timbre, animation, sound waves); physical movement (dynamic resonance); physiologically (hormones, neurotransmitters), and cognitively through interpersonal neural synchronisation (INS).

We instinctively know this and use expressions that reflect it — being in synch with someone else, on the same wavelength, shared meaning or reading each other’s thoughts.

They are rich information channels that allow us to tune in remarkably accurately and quickly — as little as 1/20th of a second as we become more familiar with the other person. But the connections have to be face-to-face — technology can’t transfer the rich flow of data we get during direct synchronisation, and can even get in the way (though less so if we already have a face-to-face relationship with the person, more on that next time).

What is happening?

Face-to-face interaction sets off various neurons (mirror, spindle) which aid in synchronisation of actions, intent and affect (emotion).

Affect initially has a lag time as the brain interprets the signals, but this decreases as we tune in to the person, and disappears with those we know well, often replaced by pre-emptive synching, where we are so attuned we almost know what the person is going to say.”

Dr Fiona Kerr’s opinion piece for The Advertiser.