How to Emotionally Move Your Audience

Presentations are about change.

Anytime there is change within an organization, there’s some type of presentation that needs to be put together. It can be as simple as a well-thought-out conversation, as challenging as an on-stage presentation to a packed auditorium, or as calculated as a video program broadcast throughout the organization. There are, of course, other combinations in between.

The similarity in all these presentation forms is that they have be structured to be persuasive: They must persuade the audience to change in some way, shape, or form. “More easily said than done!” you might say. And, you’d be right!

The key is that some sort of benefit needs to communicated. But, more importantly, the benefit needs to affect the audience emotionally: They must feel the need (be compelled) to change. In other words

to really change minds, you have to emotionally involve your audience.

Here’s a list of the basic emotions:

LOVE ANGER
JOY SADNESS
FEAR SURPRISE

People don’t change unless you emotionally involve them. They don’t change unless they see the benefit … and have an emotional reaction to that benefit.

It’s also critically important to understand what a “benefit” actually is and how it needs to be worded. Too often, we cite “features” rather than “benefits”: “The new printer prints beautiful color pages and comes with a 500 page paper tray.” Those are clearly features. The benefit would be the way they affect us. Color might help us be more successful by generating more sales. The paper tray might save us time and frustration and let us go home early in a more relaxed frame of mind. Those are the benefits.

To explain the difference between a “feature” and a “benefit,” please feel free to review my article,  “Benefits You Can Taste.” 

Sure, logic has a place. But most people don’t make logical choices. Take care, for example. We fall in love with them. That’s MOST of us. There are exceptions.

So … I could appeal to you through facts and figures regarding the need to support fighting cancer in children, or I could tell you an emotional story about Sally. And  show her picture. Sally will be the trigger. Because we connect with her; we feel for her; we get emotionally connected.

There are many ways to change minds. ChangingMinds.org has around 5,000 pages of free information on how to change minds – a great resource for virtually any kind of persuasive challenge you might come across.

If you want to be remembered long after your presentation, raising emotions is the only way to go. We remember the things that affect us emotionally.

So … concentrate on benefits … that emotionally move your audience. That’s what changes minds.