Language develops in the brain. The one who wants to be communicating effectively needs to know what happens there while we are talking, listening or reading. Neuro-Rhetoric shows how the latest findings of brain research can be used for personal communication.
We are not able to make a decision without our emotions.
Two experiments illustrate this:
In the first experiment porbands got 50 pounds each. After this a picture with two options has been shown to the probands for four seconds. In the first option they could keep 20 of the 50 pounds directly. The second option was a game with a change of winning of 20 to 50. The both option are therefore similar on the medium-term. By the time the scientist explained to the probands: “Either you can keep 20 pounds directly or participate at the game”, 43 % decided for the game. On the other hand if the scientist formulated: “You have to give away 30 pounds or you can participate at the game”, 62% decided for the game. A rhetoric trick that is based on the knowledge: Human beings are reluctant to give something away. But they like to gain something. Hence, you have to present your listeners always the benefit they can gain.
Our brain always pursuits simplification. The more complicated a problem seems to be the more we are prone to decide not rational but emotional – and often the result is not so bad with this method. For example scientist have let probands evaluate cars by technical criteria in an experiment. They had to find out the best car in a short period of time. In the first experiment probands got three different criteria about the cars. With a high probability the probands made the right decision, in the sense of the technical superior car. In the second experiment the probands got 12 different criteria about the cars. They brain was overstrained with a rational evaluation – they made their decision with their guts. Famous brands with a good image, independently from their technical data, had better results.
The consequences of the research results for your rhetoric: Emotions arrive every listener. One cannot withdraw from these. Even if you are talking about very technical contents, you cannot forget the emotional components.
If you like to get your listeners to decide rational you need to reduce the number of your information! Many technicians and distribution managers think that the more information they pack in their presentations or sales material the more they will convince their listeners. This is a false conclusion. If your product is better you should present less information – but these information especially insistent. Only if you represent a big company with an inspiring confidence name, but with a bad product you need to bet on as many information as possible for your benchmark that your customers cannot process them. Hence, they will decide for the famous name. But you will not keep this up a long time, because in the long run your customers will see through your trick.
Already Aristotle’s has noted in his second book about rhetoric that even a good speaker with good arguments can failure, if he neglects the emotions. He had the opinion that a speaker needs to be able to steer the feelings of his listeners.
Read the full chapter 11 exclusively here (only available in German).
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