Emotions Trump Facts

I experienced another shining example, proving that emotions trump facts, at a Toastmasters convention. For the non-Toastmaster readers, let me give you a little background. Part of a Toastmasters meeting is a formal evaluation of a prepared speech. Each HappyBaby_smyear, a contest is held to find the best evaluator in the 97 districts worldwide. I have seen the following pattern over and over again, not only in Toastmasters competitions, but also in all presentations.

Six people competed this year displaying their own style of evaluating a speech. After they finished, and before the winners were announced, my wife and I discussed whom we thought did the best job. She picked #4 and I agreed he did a good job but he was my second choice. #5 was my pick for the best evaluator. I was surprised when she said, “I did not like him; he only gave negative feedback.” I replied, “No, he gave two very detailed examples of what the speaker did well and one detailed suggestion on what the speaker could improve.” We both agreed the worst was #2.

When the winners were announced #4 was first, #2 was second and #6 was third. Why did my choice not place in the top three and our worst pick win second place? Mirroring Neurons. The winners showed enthusiasm as they gave their feedback. The mirroring neurons in the audience stimulated similar emotions. Feeling good plus having good facts will trump ether by itself. #2 had the most enthusiasm and the least facts. #5 had the most facts and the least enthusiasm.

To connect deeply with the audience/client, a balance of emotion and facts must be achieved. Of course, this is easier said than done. You must know your audience and how your content interweaves with them. Take time to find out what’s important to your audience then find stories to induce those emotions. Sprinkle the right amount of facts through out and you will have a presentation that your audience will get the most out of.

Mark