What makes someone care? Our emotions help us decide who and what to prioritize. Mastering the ability to tap into emotions is fundamental for engagement.
- Logic makes you think. Emotion makes you act. If you want people to act, you have to ignite their emotions. If you want to get anything done in life, you have to get people to care. Emotions matter, and emotional engagement is the key to motivating other people. Perhaps you've been told emotions have no place in business, other than maybe marketing; that's wrong. Humans are emotional creatures, no matter what the venue.
Antonio Damasio, a professor at the University of Southern California, has been researching how emotion impacts our decision making. Damasio found that we make decisions, consciously and unconsciously, based on emotion. Think about your choices. Unconsciously, the first emails you decide to answer are from people you like or identify with, or that reference the things you care about. Consciously, you decide to let that meeting run long because the girl making the presentation is new to the job and you want to encourage her.
Emotions cause us to make decisions about how we spend our time, and what we consider valuable. Look at your checkbook. Where do you spend your discretionary money? You spend money on things that make you happy. Now think about your free time. Do you spend Saturday with that crazy cousin who complains all the time? Or do you spend it with a spouse or a friend you enjoy? You go where you have a stronger emotional connection. All of these choices, these decisions and priorities, have an emotional basis, and the same thing applies in business.
People may dress their decisions in a cloak of logic, but make no mistake. Emotions are underneath, and that's good news. When people are emotionally engaged they're more creative; they're passionate, and believe it or not, they're also more attentive to detail and make fewer mistakes because they care. If you want your boss to invest in you, or you want your team to be excited about the project, or you want people to buy your products or donate to your cause, you need them to be emotionally engaged.
- Assessing where you need emotional engagement
- Aligning with organizational objectives
- Determining who to engage
- Using your backstory to tap into emotional engagement
- Preemptive planning
- Neutralizing the naysayers
- Identifying and talking about incremental gains