How to Make an Impact Emotionally

I was once involved in a course of industrial action in a petrochemical company that I worked for at the time. The reason for going on strike was that the company wanted its workers to start contributing for their pensions which, up until that point, was being subsidised by them. The union did not agree with this due to the fact the company was making record profits and, financially, did not appear to need extra payments for the pension fund. Because of this the union started a campaign aimed at persuading its members (the workforce) to take industrial action by way of a two day strike.

Now what they did not do was send out letters to its members with only the facts and figures about they situation asking them to take industrial action. They sent out letters with the facts and figures and surrounded them with a stream of emotive language and phrases. They used phrases such as ‘greedy employers’, ‘stealing our pensions’, ‘they are holding us to ransom’ and ‘this is economic terrorism’.

The aim of using emotionally charged words such as these was to provoke a response out of the members. Clearly it worked, as there was a 97% yes vote for industrial action as a result of the ballot that followed.

Generally speaking our language is full of emotion. Some words and phrases, however, are a lot more emotionally charged than others. For example notice what your response is when you hear the words, ‘pain’, ‘sorrow’, ‘euphoria’, ‘baby’, ‘freedom’, ‘Nazi’, ‘imprisonment’.

Somewhere deep down your neurology was activated wasn’t it? It may have only been a tingle or a sense of warmth or tightness but it was there at some level.

Now notice your response when you read these words.

‘Child’, ‘kid’, ‘German’, ‘cheerful’, ‘sensible’, ‘intellectual’.

Do you get less of a response from these words than the previous ones or more of a response?

While everybody is unique and will have different responses to different words and phrases most people get a lot less of a response with these words than with the previous ones. Generally speaking they don’t have quite as much emotional charge associate with them.

When you are speaking to someone bare in mind that human beings are emotional creatures and start to incorporate more emotionally charged words and phrases in your language.

By using semantically packed words and phrases that stimulate an emotional response you'll begin to light up a person’s neurology and dramatically increase the emotional impact of your conversation.

Putting it into Practice: From Intellectualize to Emotionalize

  1. Make a list of semantically packed emotive words and phrases that you can use in your pitch or everyday language.
  2. Think about the person you are attempting to influence and ask yourself, “What turns this person on?”, “What turns them off?, “What are their interests and hobbies?”, What are their pet hates?
  3. Now think about some of the conversations you regularly have with people and become curious about how you can use some of those emotive words and phrases in your pitch. Jot down any ideas.
  4. The next time you are in conversation with them fire off a few of the emotive words and phrases and notice the response.

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