Why emotion beats logic every time

1: A group of enterprising entrepreneurs have gathered on Necker Island in the British Virgin Islands.  Legendary business icon Sir Richard Branson is their host.  The Virgin Group founder owns the entire island and today it is the setting for the Extreme Tech Challenge.

Each entrepreneur is given 10 minutes to pitch his or her idea.  For one of the participants, their life is going to change forever.  

Imagine this is you.  You have 10 minutes to pitch your idea.  What is it the prospective investors want to hear?  What will set you apart from the other competitors?

“Most people who are given 10 minutes to pitch their idea mistakenly assume their potential investors want to hear all about the financials, the numbers, and the data,” writes Carmine Gallo in The Storyteller’s Secret: From TED Speakers to Business Legends, Why Some Ideas Catch on and Others Don’t.  

“They are only partly right.  These entrepreneurs are neglecting the core findings of neuroscience: emotion trumps logic,” writes Carmine.  “You cannot reach a person’s head without first touching their heart and the path to the heart runs through the brain,” says Carmine.

2: That’s where the power of story comes in.  

“Those who have mastered the skill of storytelling can have an outsized influence over others,” Carmine writes.

The human brain is hard-wired to pay attention to captivating stories.

Princeton University neuroscientist Uri Hasson explains the storyteller’s art is the most powerful weapon in the war of ideas.  A skilled storyteller can actually plant ideas, thoughts, and emotions into a listener’s brain. Story explains why “many ideas fail to gain traction, while others trigger global movements. It explains why many leaders fail to inspire their teams, while others persuade people to walk through walls,” Carmine writes.

3: One moving story is far more persuasive than a “data dump” with 75 PowerPoint slides.

“In the next 10 years the ability to tell your story persuasively will be decisive—the single greatest skill—in helping you accomplish your dreams,” Carmine writes.

More tomorrow.
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Reflection:  When in the past have I told a story that has helped persuade my audience to a call to action?

Action: Consider an upcoming situation where I aim to persuade others.  What story might I tell to make my point?

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