Monthly Archives: June 2016

Using Emotion to Really Get Action on Your Project

We know that consumers make their decisions emotionally, and yet when it comes to our business presentations and deliverables, we forget about the emotional and speak almost exclusively to the rational. Maybe it’s because bullet points steer us that way.

But the truth is that business people are as emotion-driven as anyone. For instance, when someone interrupts your presentation by saying, “I need more data on this,” it sounds like they’re asking for rational input, right? No. What they’re really saying is “If I buy into this, I’m scared my boss is going to have my ass, so I need you to help me cover it.” In other words, the request is mostly emotional.

Jonathan Haidt constructed the perfect metaphor for the emotional and rational minds in his book, The Happiness Hypothesis. Haidt says that the rational mind is like a human driver, riding on top of the emotional mind, an elephant for example. The driver (rational mind) can steer and direct, but we all know who really decides if they go anywhere – the elephant (emotional mind). To get people to buy in, your audience needs more than just information. They need to care. They need to believe. That’s what makes actions happen.

Movie-style stories emphasize emotion by using heroes that have a desire for something (to save someone, to feel better, to win the girl, the game, etc.). You’ll see and hear the pain our hero goes through, the courage they must muster, and the thrill of following through.

All these make us care, and actually experience the emotional journey ourselves. You can do that too. Every data point, every strategy, everything can be expressed with emotion – even the seemingly boring. Take the movie Spellbound. It’s about a spelling bee. Talk about boring. But they make these kids into heroes, fill it with emotion, and make you root for them.

We recently completed a short video on a diabetes patient for the BioTech market. You can watch it below. We filled it with emotion to express our hero’s courage and struggle. Those who watch it immediately feel for her and want to be part of the solution.

I’ll bet that’s not too far off from what you’re looking for.



Imagine a World Without Your Executive Admin

We recently had the honor of putting four of Silicon Valley’s top executive administrators up on the big screen where they belong at Silicon Valley’s first ever Admin Awards. The event was amazing –– kind of like the Academy Awards for this often unheralded group, so we were very happy to create the videos for it.

I loved interviewing the admins and getting to know them, but I think my favorite part of making the videos was hearing their bosses and colleagues talk about them. These were some of the most powerful leaders in the Valley and included John Chambers, Doug Britt, Jeanette Colandra and Laurent Philonenko. To see the reverence, respect and emotion they showed was so moving. None of them could imagine, or even wanted to imagine, a world without their admin.

I invite you to watch these four short stories on Debbie Gross, CC Wolfolk, Elizabeth Orlin and Suzan Webb, and feel just how inspiring they are. Then, if you have an admin working with you, take a moment to think about how much he or she brings to you and your organization.

At Backstories we love telling stories about heroes. We’ve found time and time again that for even the most complicated initiative or strategy, or even the hairiest mess of data, telling it through a hero makes it easier for stakeholders to understand and become inspired.

To find out more about bringing heroes to your work and presentations, sign up here for my Blog. You’ll also get tips on how to make your presentations more powerful and our Power of Movies series, delivered to your inbox once a month.