Updated: Jun 28
Emotional Relevance™ is based on an emotional experience followed by having that same experience triggered again, causing us to relive that emotion and hence, engraving that particular emotional memory even deeper in our minds. That trigger could be a song reminding us of a certain romantic scenario, a smell that sends us back to a childhood memory, a picture prompting an emotional reaction, a scene in a movie in San Francisco where you and your daughter just came back from (here is my daughter and I in front of Chinatown downtown SF in a recent trip) and more.
Apparently, and nothing but surprising, words can also be an emotional trigger. The beauty with words is that they don’t just throw us back to an emotional experience we encountered in the past but can trigger emotions through subconsciousness triggering.
Yesterday I met a guy at a restaurant who told me he was from Alabama. I looked at him and said – Roll Tide. He smiled, looked at me and as if responding to me after realizing I know his secret handshake and said…Roll Tide Y’all. I guarantee you that when I said those two words, it triggered some memory, some emotion within him. Thank god it was a positive one because if this guy was an Auburn fan the reaction would have been much different. Although, even if the reaction was different, the essence is the same – it would have triggered an emotional experience.
Here is another one…
On a call today as we are chit chatting with a client while waiting for the rest of the participants to join, one of the girls said she lives in Connecticut. I asked: ”The Yankee side or the Red-Sox side?”. She responded with a firm…”The Yankee side.” And added…”I hate the Red-Sox”. My question, a bit poking, triggered something within her. A history of rivalry for sure but probably also a loud encounter with a diehard Red-Sox fan at Yankees Stadium. Definitely emotional and definitely triggered something.
Now if you ask yourself – well, you just got her all wounded up, what is it good for, I will assume you haven’t been reading this blog long enough but here is a quick recap: One of the main goals of Emotional Relevance™ is to be remembered. When you trigger an emotional reaction you will be remembered. By using Emotional Relevance™ you can determine the type of emotional reaction you want to have on your clients and how you want to be remembered.
Now, let’s dive a bit deeper into the subconsciousness level and look at another form of communication – emails. When I compose an email, I also try to think what I want the recipient to FEEL. How I want to be remembered and what emotional experience I want to trigger. If the recipient and I already had some interaction with some emotional experience, it means an emotional anchor has been planted and the email can be used as a trigger. For example, on my follow up email to the girl who loves the Yankees, I could very easily, in that same email, refer to the score from last night’s game in the Yankee’s stadium. And whether they won or lost I can use that to trigger a positive emotional reaction.
But what if you really don’t have any emotional anchors to refer to? This is where I go back to the core of being human. We all need to feel loved, hugged, accepted which is another sub-context of Emotional Relevance™. This is where I use specific wording in order to trigger an emotion; empathy, sense of warmth. I use Get Personal (one of Emotional Relevance’s three pillars) a lot in these cases and word my email more carefully.
Makes sense? Let’s examine this one for a second (the “Makes Sense” that is). A generic question all of us use a lot. Most likely the answer to “Makes Sense?” is either yes or no. Perhaps with some additional commentary here and there but nothing too elaborated usually. How do you feel when asked – Makes Sense? What if instead of makes sense you will use…What do think? Or…Would appreciate your personal take on it. Just by adding the word “personal” you will make the recipient FEEL a bit more loved, a tad more hugged and hence, pulling some subconscious positive emotions into this communication.
“If you have any questions let me know.”
How many of us have used this line towards the end of an email? How many of you have received this question in an email? How did it make you FEEL? Anything? Let’s try something slightly different…..
“If you think of any questions RELEVANT TO YOU (!!) please send them to me.”
Yes, with the capitalization and the exclamation points if you want. Why not?
How does it make you feel now??
“Don't forget, a person's greatest emotional need is to feel appreciated."
H. Jackson Brown
Again, the goal is to trigger some emotional reaction, in this case, some “we are in it together” kind of feelings. Every word could be that trigger you are looking for.
The other day I sent an email to a new client of mine. We exchanged some emails back and forth. I noticed he uses “I appreciate it” a lot when finishing his emails. A few days go by and I received a follow up email from him with some information he was supposed to send me related to the next steps of our mutual project. I knew he had to dig for this information, and it was a bit of a hassle for him. As usual, he ended up his email with something like:” I hope this is the information you were looking for. Brian.”
I replied to his email confirming the receipt and used this opportunity to finish my email with….”I appreciate it”. Right before sending it, I look at my email, thinking to myself how I want to make Brian FEEL, how do I want to be remembered, what an emotional reaction am I looking for, and which wording could do the triggering job.
I deleted the last line of my email and wrote….
“I appreciate YOU!.