Touching your readers’ hearts and minds

There is an old saying amongst marketing people “if you can’t touch your prospects’ heart, they’ll never let you touch their wallets”.

The same principle is true when you are selling an idea – when you are trying to persuade someone. You need to understand the emotions that move people to take action, and how to make these emotions work for you. That makes communication powerful.

Marketing people have known for a long time that people buy things for emotional reasons, not rational reasons. But once prospects are emotionally sold, they need to justify their irrational decisions with rational reasons. In fact, direct mail has been described as “a single-minded appeal to an emotional need supported by a rational argument that convinces people to act.”

Now I objected strongly to that notion when it was first put to me – I’m highly rational. I think things through carefully. Surely they must be talking about someone else!

Consider carefully about your purchasing decisions over the next little while and see what you think.

Passion lost

Passion changes the world! One person with conviction is worth 99 who only have interest.

Why then do we try to keep it out of business communication? If you have a good idea, or if you want to change the way things are done, inject some emotion.

Of course you will need to back up your case with solid logic and rational argument. But it is passion that provides power in the workplace.

How do you put emotion into your writing?

You need to know your audience.

  • What do they think?
  • What do they read?
  • What scares them?
  • What excites them?
  • What are their likes, dislikes?
  • What’s really important to them?

Hey, isn’t involving emotions just being manipulative?

Could be, so be careful.

If people feel that they have been manipulated they will not trust you in the future. Effective communication will become more difficult.

And being manipulative sacrifices your personal integrity.

One safeguard is to allow people time before they are required to act on your message. This allows the reader to be excited and motivated, but to then think the matter through rationally before committing to it. They get to chew on both the appeal to the heart and the mind.

But ignoring the emotions completely is just plain silly. People are not made that way. We are not entirely rational beings, and we don’t act solely on logic.

Is it any wonder that well reasoned, rational proposals often go nowhere? Don’t hide your passion.