When you work in communications it is easy to believe that emotions have no place alongside efficiency, professionalism and productivity.
However, the really successful business leaders and communicators understand just how important emotions are when we are communicating. If you are one of those who struggle to remember events, just think about the ones you do remember. Very often, your memories are attached to something that is positive or negative – it is the emotional experience that makes the memory so powerful.
It is no different in corporate communications. Your aim when communicating with your customers or prospects must be that you want them to remember your message. If they retain your message they will be more likely to stay with you if they are an existing client or to approach you if they are not.
So, you definitely need to embrace the concept of emotion in your business communications. Clearly, you don’t want whoever you are communicating with to have a negative experience when hearing your message (otherwise they will remember you for all the wrong reasons) but the power and effect of giving them a highly positive emotional experience cannot be overstated.
Having said that, if you are promoting health and safety and want people to see what can happen if they fail to follow the rules, you might indeed want them to see or hear something that delivers a negative message and stays with them for a long time to come – hopefully forever.
But whether the people you communicate with have a positive emotional experience or an intentionally negative one when you deliver your message, the fact remains that emotions are not to be shied away from in the world of communications.
Warning: be careful, because if you don’t use emotions properly they can get in the way of what you are trying to communicate and you will have failed in your purpose. You don’t want people to feel any level of sadness, anger, fear or shame if the end result is that they do not understand what is being said to them.
In technical terms, our emotional brain (the limbic brain) is immature and only when our higher cortical brain is used does genuine understanding occur. Have you ever tried to explain an important point to someone who is wound up or otherwise in an emotional state? Good luck getting through to them. So, as soon as you create a powerful emotional reaction in a person you should be aware that you run the risk of losing them in terms of getting your message across. A simple solution to this problem is to make sure the emotional state you create is a positive one, then the person will be far more receptive to what you are trying to say.
Remember – this argument applies to just about everyone, so whether you are trying to communicate with your staff or your customers or the media you need to avoid the negative and make them feel positive about their interaction with you. This will make sure they remember much more about what you say and make them feel so much more positive towards you and your business.