I recently attended a conference and was fortunate to attend a lecture on “understanding energy”. What I heard from a speaker from the University of Calgary on how people form opinions and then how those opinions get transferred forward was very interesting.
People need to understand the meaning of words or phrases when they see or hear them. We often read or hear people using those “$25 words” and most people never understand them. Instead, we try to interpret them through asking questions around the word hoping that eventually we will get it.
When people originally hear an idea or concept, our gut will sense that it is good or bad. An example is “ sugar tastes good so it must be good for me”. The gut makes a snap decision and then the head makes small changes to the gut’s reaction. Decisions are made by the gut and justified by the head. We then seek information to justify the gut’s reaction. After that, we seek out organizations that back our thinking and we then tend to ignore information contrary to what our gut originally told us. This strengthens what we believe to be true. Does this sound familiar? The saying “don’t confuse me with facts” comes to mind. He also stated that the more people know, the less confident they are in what they know. Again, don’t let facts get in the way of the truth.
You can see this in many issues before the public today. There are those who are support an issue and those who are against it. In any given issue, 20 % of the people are opposed, 20% support it, and 60% are neutral or can swing either way at any given moment in time. So both sides play on this to gain support for their position.
So the next time you are want to sell a concept, especially to skeptics, keep in mind that it is their gut feeling on the issue that will drive their opinions from that point on. Stick to the facts and understand that in today’s world, people are much more informed that they were in the past. They have access to the Internet which can provide them with more than enough information to either sway or reaffirm their position on any one matter. As I am often prone to say, “it is not the “what” but more the “how” that will achieve success. In the case of dealing with people, the “how” is being honest, open, transparent and factual that will usually win the day.