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IDENTIFYING SIGNAL FROM NOISE

Updated: May 7

Wickett Advisory
Identifying Signal From Noise


When moderating I strive to identify the thread in my speaker’s dialogue which, when

pulled, will move the conversation forward in the most illuminating way. My goal is to

pinpoint the concept that will resonate most with both the audience and the speaker,

ultimately driving meaningful progress.


When I am struggling to hold on to the intellect of my speaker by my fingertips – as

with Elon Musk or Larry Summers – more than anything I will focus on this.

It occurred to me today, while talking over lunch, that this is very similar to what I try

to do when coaching.


When someone is stuck they will often build a series of arguments and assumptions

that creates an impenetrable immovable wall that blocks change. My role is to find

the brick, that when pushed, resets all the others like tetris. As the pieces settle in

new places a new configuration results that might be more moveable. And slowly (or

quickly) the obstacle breaks down.


The role of an international affairs advisor isn’t so different. Once again, the objective

isn’t to inform the business of everything going on, but to be able to identify what the

two or three key dynamics are that will most affect the organisation over the relevant

time period. To move the conversation beyond the interesting to the impactful.


In all three cases I realise that my role is to help my clients identify signal from noise.


The ingredients for those trying to do this? Four are key.

- Experience - when you have done something 100 times you start to be able to

feel what’s off.

- Listening – not just to the words used, to what your team might be saying, but

also the body language, the emotions you’re seeing and it’s evoking in you.

- Perspective – if you’re willing to take another perspective, to see from a

different angle, then you can see where they overlap.

- And finally, assumptions – question them all.

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