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Chantal’s Influence Tips 67: How to make your Ideas Stick! Part Six – I’m feeling it


Last week we explored the importance of Credibility to make your ideas convincing and believable. But it’s not enough that people think your ideas are credible. To take action or make a change, they have to give a damn. They have to care. It’s about engaging HEARTS as well as minds.
Harvard did a study which revealed that 80% of buying decisions are based on emotion not logic. Of course logic plays a key part in the decision process but it’s often secondary.
People post-rationalise their ‘emotionally made’ decisions. Imagine a business executive
who has just made an expensive business decision. When he’s asked to justify his reasons, he replies “I just had a good feeling about the supplier”. That rationale probably wouldn’t go down too well!  So instead, he gives all the sensible, logical reasons.
Emotion is the 5th principle to make your ideas stick. How do you make people care about your idea or message?
When we activate someone’s emotions, it’s very different to activating their intellect.
We’re persuaded by logic (facts, evidence etc) but we’re moved by emotion.

Our heads tell us not to believe the politicians but our hearts get won over by a passionate wordsmith who appeals to our deepest dreams and desires.  Or take driving as another example. People know that it makes sense to slow down. However, despite the law, lower limits, increased penalties and better education, it wasn’t enough to decrease the number of deaths on the road caused by speeding.

 So, in a response to this, the advertisements have become more and more shocking over the past 10 years. We now see in graphic detail the devastating impact of 35mph versus 30mph.  This iconic ad is a great example.
Not only does this activate a strong emotional response in the viewer, these ads use all the other principles we’ve explored so far;  Simplicity, Unexpectedness, Concreteness and Credibility.
There are many flavours of emotion – anger, fear, excitement, passion to name a few.  It’s up to you to decide which flavour is appropriate to your message.  It needs to align with your idea and the purpose it serves. And when the communication is authentic, the emotion will naturally come through.
Here are a couple of ways you can win hearts to sell your message or ideas.
1) Appeal to something that is true for the listener in their own lives
What are some of those universal human experiences that most people have experienced?
These might include falling in love, the first kiss, learning to drive (or learning something new), having your heart broken, injustice of some kind?
Example: If you have an idea that involves major change, what are examples of major change that most people may have or could experience?
So you simply connect your ideas to those human experiences. This doesn’t just activate their emotions – it will make your message easy to remember.
2) Share a personal story that they can relate to in some way (which links to, demonstrates or reinforces your message/idea)
The act of sharing an aspect of yourself in a way that’s authentic and personal, is a  great way to connect with people’s emotions.  And as you start to experience the feelings or emotions of your own story, they will feel it too.  Genuine emotion is very contagious. As they listen to you, they will be unconsciously connecting your story to aspects of their own experiences because that’s what we do – we make associations in order to make sense of things.
What makes the above so powerful is that you are creating an embodied experience for them.
If you want to see a truly great example of winning hearts and minds, you might like this clip from Mad Men – The Carousel
Next time, the 6th sticky principle.
Chantal Burns ScreenshotChantal Burns

Executive Coach, Speaker and Bestselling Author of

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