Motivational content is about winning hearts and minds. It is most often born from the passions of those who are emotionally committed to the cause. They bring a perspective which shapes customer perceptions.
It comes in many forms
Tony Robbins and Bob Proctor are known for selling a generic version of your own ambitions – to you! Whether it’s found in industry, politics, the military, or any other area of interest, motivational content can be complex and created by a broad range of talents. Let’s break it down.
Optimism sells, but isn’t a requirement
One of the most profoundly optimistic self-help messages can be found in a book (and subsequent film) titled “The Secret.” In it, Bob Proctor states “Why do you think that 1% of the population earns around 96% of all the money being earned?” and follows up with an argument which is built around what he calls “the law of attraction.” Simply put, he argues that if you believe something will happen, it will. He goes so far as to suggest that your ambitions can be transmitted by pure thought to your surroundings and helps bring them to fruition. Nineteen million copies of the book sold worldwide, and it’s been translated into 46 languages. And as “The Secret” demonstrates, it doesn’t need to bear the burden of proof or stand up to a scientific consensus.
“You see something move out of the corner of your eye. You assume it’s a hyena. You run, you live. If you assume it’s the wind and you’re wrong, you die. We have the genes of the ones who ran. We’re genetically hard-wired to believe living forces that we cannot see.”
– Gil Grissom, CSI (season 8, episode 3)
On the opposite side of the spectrum
Fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) sell too. For example, negativity in the press is self-evident. As a species, we seem drawn toward bad news. A survey by the Pew Research Center found that the topics followed most closely in the news include violence and disasters. People are most easily motivated by the topic in which they’re most interested. They’re also moved by words which affirm their personal beliefs, irrespective of whether those beliefs are rational.
Combined, we learn that pushing the right “buttons” can induce both optimism and pessimism within the target demographic. To understand what works, we must identify the common denominator between all motivational content.
- Understand your intended audience. What are the hot-button issues that stir their emotions? Which ones cause negative responses and which ones bring a smile? Select your talking points and frame your purpose and their benefits in your presentation.
- Mean what you say. Exhibit confidence and passion. If you’re not confident, there’s almost no chance that your audience will follow. Remember that “passion is both infectious and contagious.”
- Consider your ethical boundaries. Your narrative doesn’t need to follow the scientific method in order to have any perceived value. The only thing to keep in mind is to use care when blending science and personal beliefs. Not thinking this through can create dilemmas from which you may not be able to escape, resulting in damage to your reputation and a sharp decline in followers.
State your business and share your passions. You may discover that the product or service you’re selling has more than just intrinsic value and that your customers become more loyal than you might expect. The first step in finding out is to project those values which you think are most important in your business!
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About Our Guest Blogger
Nick Rojas is a business consultant and writer who lives in Los Angeles. He has consulted small and medium-sized enterprises for over twenty years. He has contributed articles to Visual.ly, Entrepreneur and Tech Crunch. You can follow him on Twitter or reach him directly by clicking on these links.