Appeal to emotions and you’ll engage audiences

What’s more important – appealing to the hearts of your audience or their minds? In my experience, heart trumps head almost all the time.

The heart is the seat of emotions. Successful marketers know customers buy when they’re emotionally invested. Successful speakers know the audience will act on their message for the same reason. You must appeal to emotions with most audiences, before you can interest them in facts and figures.

The great Greek philosopher, Aristotle, knew the importance of the appeal to emotions when he assigned pathos as one of the three pillars of persuasive conversation, along with ethos (the ethical appeal) and logos (the logical appeal).

Once you capture the audiences’ hearts – their emotions – then you earn the right to speak to their heads. So how do you make a convincing appeal to their hearts? Here are some tips:

  1. Speak from your heart first. In other words, be authentic. Don’t try to imitate others.
  2. Use everyday language. Simple words, simple sentences. Don’t try to impress with jargon and big words.
  3. Be passionate. If you care about your topic, show it. 
  4. Respect your audience by researching them. Learn as much as you can about them. What problems do they have? How can you help?
  5. Tell stories that are relevant to your audience.
  6. Lose the data dump. Pick the most important facts that the audience needs to know, wrap them in stories and scatter them strategically throughout your presentation.

Stop writing; start talking

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Halina St James takes the worry out of presentations with her Present Like a Pro video training course. It’s available now from the Podium Coaching online store, together with her popular TalkitOut: From Fears to Cheers e-book and workbook.