Leadership training focuses a great deal on the idea of using facts to move forward, especially in situations of contention, dissent, or set backs. Focus on the facts, not the interpretations. When you can put the emotions and individual interpretations, or as we like to call them, misinterpretations, aside, you can get right down to the issue at hand and make progress.
This often manifests in the utterance of the ever-so-soothing phrase “Stating problems without offering solutions is just whining”. Yep, that has about the same effect as telling an angry person to “Calm Down”.
What’s interesting though is those same coaches, those same leaders, also push the EQ factor, or Emotional Intelligence, and the ability to empathize with others. Well, wait, that’s feelings, isn’t it? No, they say, you’re misinterpreting. Oh, ok. I’ll just “calm down” then, right?
Reality (Facts) vs. Perception (Feelings)
Typically there’s that one person in the office who always touts the Perception is Reality worldview, especially when that person is higher up on the food chain, but is incredulous that there could ever possibly be more than one perception of said reality, leading to an eventual pair of ‘downs’, melt and show.
Facts not feelings is also a rally call in life. Especially now. We’re in what has been deemed a “Post Fact” existence now. One thing is clear, Facts lost the election, emotions won.
Now our vernacular involves verbal and mental gymnastics of deciding if we should take things ‘literally’ or ‘seriously’, or if fact checking is insulting to folks who want plain-speak and answers, but not evidence. (Is calling out lies being mean, targeting?)
It’s a confusing time.
Except for marketers.
Marketings Manage both Facts and Feelings
Facts Don’t Sell
Marketers know that facts don’t sell, emotions do. Marketers live in a world where facts aren’t the defining elements in a sale, arguably of ANY type.
That doesn’t mean facts aren’t important, they absolutely are. Whether they’re considered specs, benefits, features, or ingredients, they do matter. Facts bring you into contention, and if presented right, can keep you or remove you from consideration.
But facts don’t sell.
Feelings Sell: The importance of the WIIFM: What’s In It For Me
I was recently helping my dad find a new laptop. I knew what he used it for, and what he didn’t. I went with him to the store to pick it out, and walked past all the flashy ones, all the new shiny ones with their big budgets for in-store placements and promotions, their signage, and their glowing programs beckoning us to try them out. Having written and produced some of those programs in a former life I know the fun, care, and meticulousness that goes into those, yet still, I wasn’t there to appreciate the effort. I wasn’t the customer.
To the back, the lonely shelf of the lost souls of laptops with the low prices. Price brought us to them.
The purchasing decision process involved finding the group of products that met the requirements we had.
I found them. After that, it was up to my dad, who is not at all technical, and trusted me to select what would work for him.
He made the decision based on emotion, which one he liked better. It had nothing to do with name, hard drive size, RAM, etc.
We narrow our searches or selections by facts, (features, benefits), but ultimately, our decisions are made on emotion. How it makes us feel, what it does for us.
Facts Still Matter
Don’t get me wrong, I can go just as crazy as the next person in demanding facts be checked and making decisions on facts. But facts don’t drive us. Not in business, not in life, not in purchasing. And certainly not in politics.
Merging Facts and Emotions
That right there is the big test, and the next great frontier. We have to feel good about facts, and be able to personalize them. Discourse will be the impetus for this. How facts affect you personally is the road we need to travel, and to understand how the f
cts affect others personally.