People don’t change their behaviour because of logic (alone). If that was the case almost all of us would:
- eat less meat
- eat a lot less red meat
- drink far less alcohol
- exercise more…
- … and so it goes on
Behaviour can be pushed easier by getting to step three in your communication, namely:
Emotional Communication – the E in PIE
My personal experience is that this is the hardest part of the PIE model for most people. All too often the response is something like: “It’s all very well for X, but my topic is boring”. I have some sympathy with that, but not as much as clients seem to want me to have. 🙂 Recent examples and responses include (note, I’m not necessarily known for my tact!):
|I’ve got to talk about the new safeguarding policy and everyone turns off as soon as I even mention the title||Really? So no one in your organisation cares about children being safe?! I can’t think of many more important topics – and let’s face it, children getting hurt is an easy topic to hit people’s emotional hotspots with!|
|No one cares about the changes in pensions – it’s too abstract and too complicated for them||I’ve got some sympathy for them! I avoid dealing with that if I can and let my wife sweat the details – but you’re not talking about pensions, are you… you’re talking about lifestyles and happiness in the future. Now that I do care about!|
|The boss has said I have to explain the restructure: it’s our third one in four years and everyone’s so cynical about it they just wouldn’t listen to anything||What would happen if you didn’t explain the restructure from the point of view of the organisation, but explored what it means from the point of view in the room? Why not do it as a series of case studies that relate to circumstances of the bulk of your audience and ask anyone whose situation you’ve not covered to see you afterwards?|
|It’s cuts… Just more budget cuts. They’re not going to change so there’s no point in listening to my presentation||Horrible! If you’re so absolutely sure nothing can change, wouldn’t you be better of just sending a memo and saving yourself some time and angst? (The client suddenly realised that this wouldn’t do, so there most be something that could change.)|
|Another Problem||Another Solution|
The trick lies in identifying your audience’s WIIFM. That stands for What’s In It For Me? Unless you’re massively famous, no one come to hear you – they come for their own reasons, usually to see what they can get out of your presentation for themselves.
To be brutal about it, if you can’t answer that question you shouldn’t be giving a presentation as you’re just going to waste your audience’s time (and yours!) All of that, of course, should have been handles in the design stage of your presentation!
There are a number of different ways (Password: Barrier)
A note of caution!
Take a moment to think about what offends you, or upsets you. Now think about how easily you take on board what people are saying to you once you’re offended or even angry. Remember that.
People are more likely to remember what you’ve said if it emotionally engages them: the more engaged people are the more memorable the event. But here’s the rub… (Password is RISK)
The solution is to do a simple risk-assessment before each and every story. I’m not suggesting a million forms, just a half second of thought – ask yourself if the trade-off between the positive impact is worth the risk of the negative impact. It’s not something you can define in advance, so you need to have to got a ‘feel’ for your audience as soon as possible. Consider:
- getting a briefing from the host or someone else who knows them (and treat that with caution in case they don’t!)
- being with your audience over coffee or something similar – talking or just listening
- reviewing how well your first few minutes went and deciding what stories to use from then on accordingly (this is where your ability to be your own producer is handy!)