August 09, 2013

We don’t see the world as it is, we see it as we are.

– Anaïs Nin

 

We love this quote. Anaïs Nin, perhaps best known for her famously risqué storytelling, hits the nail on the head here—and when it comes to credible communication, it bears repeating.

 

Our clients often ask us things like:

 

    Why can’t we just explain it to them truthfully? The facts are on our side.

 

    It’s logical, it makes sense…why don’t they believe us?

 

Years of Instant Response research with hundreds upon hundreds of audiences have taught us one important reality that’s difficult for many well-meaning clients to deal with: personal baggage always trumps the logical truth.

 

If the listener comes to the table convinced of unchecked greed and corporate corruption in the financial industry, a bank will have a hard time telling them the number one priority is the consumer. If your audiences’ experiences, biases, or preconceptions don’t jive with your message—it’s not a story you can credibly tell.

 

So how do we tackle this? One of the ways we like to describe this concept, so aptly encapsulated by Nin, is of two divergent world views—yours and your audience’s. Great communication comes in finding the sweet spot between the two.  Ignoring this dynamic is basically demanding that your customers, clients, voters, or skeptics see the world through your eyes, rather than you offering to see it through theirs. Odds of persuading an audience that has to do all the work for you are pretty low.

 

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