Echo. Shout “hello”. You get back the same “hello” — multiple times.
Echo Chamber is an environment (usually, a meeting room, friends group, or team you are working with) filled with people you rely on —especially in the process of decision-making.
In the echo chamber, you only hear what you like to hear. You hear happy, positive things about you and your ideas. You get all the reaffirmation that your idea is superb (even though it might not be). You get pleased by words. No one challenges your ideas and statements.
The room echos your voice, your views, your ideas —and your beliefs.
Often our ‘tribe mentality’ forces us to get along with a group and nod to the group’s decision. Saying anything against the mob’s decision is against the tribe. It is hard to live without (the support of) the tribe —in cave times. Holding our voice against the choice of the clan is the default decision you take and it is the easy one without repercussions.
Feeling associated with a tribe is a safe feeling —in cave times or stone age times. To feel safe, you don’t dare opinionate against your employers, leader, or anyone on the high ground. So does anyone.
This very reason people decide to build the echo chamber around their higher-ups/group. The sad part is, they build it around themselves too.
If you’re the smartest person in the room, then you’re in the wrong room.
Whether you are a brick of the “echo chamber” or not —make sure you don’t end up inside an echo chamber.
Philosophically and factually there are numerous disadvantages of being in an echo chamber.
Shutting everyone’s mouth around you doesn’t make you right. Closing the channels of feedback is not a path to good evaluation and decision-making.
Echo chambers boost your confidence as well as your ego. At the start, you grow. In the end, you fall from the top.
Echo chambers blind you. Makes you look brilliant now and dumb later.
How to avoid being in an echo chamber
Reward the members to break the bricks of the echo chamber.
Encourage opinions. Reward opinions that challenge your decision.
Rewarding is another way to assure the members of the room, that they won’t be punished for sharing the facts that the room misses or failed to consider.
Recognition is the reward. Recognize their effort even though they didn’t contribute to the current issue in discussion. So they may give better ideas later.
Shrink your ego
Understand, any point against your decision is against the idea not against you.
Don’t let anyone please you by prising your decisions and opinions. Don’t allow yourself and others to feed your ego.
Have a 10th man
The one person who always says things against every idea is your 10th man. No matter how good the idea is, he always manages to find a flaw in it. Often irritating. Often useless.
He doesn’t need to be correct all the time. But he always reminds you about the “echo chamber”.
He is the necessary evil in the best decision-making process.
Genii are people who steal ideas from fools, crazy, children, and everything.
You need help from people better than you
If your team is not giving better ideas than yours, consider changing your team.
Rely on experts. Rely on risk-takers.
When you’re listening, don’t nod or shake your head. Don’t even raise your eyebrows. Don’t even blink. (Nah, kidding. You can blink 😉).
The point is don’t give any feedback when you’re listening. This tiny feedbacks influence the other person to change their words (& opinion) when they deliver their opinion.
Most people want to please you by giving opinions and advice that you like and align with your belief.
By logic — not by presumption
Logic and reality beat every other intangible.
Money, Status, Fame, Past history of success, and expertise. None comes before logic.
It is the idea that is important. Not the person it comes from.
Allow people to post their opinion anonymously.
There are numerous fools out there waiting for the opportunity to curse illogically anything with the privilege of anonymity.
Use this, just in case.
Argue to find the truth —NOT to win.
Always feel happy to be proved wrong by someone. Feel grateful for learning something.
Don’t be afraid of your belief being challenged. Allowing yourself to be challenged makes you strong (and your beliefs).
You employed them to get ideas and to think in ways you could not. Let them do their job.
It is not a waste of time. If you constantly feel like it, you need to upgrade your team — or your mindset.
Escape “Echo Chamber”. Just two takeaways from this long post.
Keep your mouth closed and ears wide open.
Always be grateful to be proved wrong.