In the News: Leading with Emotion and Expertise

In a recent study, Quantified Communications analyzed speech samples from Fortune’s 50 greatest leaders of 2016, focusing on the type of appeals they used. What they found was that these top leaders used three times as many appeals to emotion and intuition as they did appeals to logic.

For the purpose of the analysis, appeals to logic include “studies, statistics, data, and proof.” Appeals to emotion include “stories, imagery, metaphors, and visual aids.” Appeals to intuition include “achievements, testimonials, citing sources, and case studies.” In the language of The Science of Speaking, these are essentially equivalent to head, heart, and expertise.

While the analysis doesn’t explicitly examine the effects that this trend toward emotion and expertise has on the audience (though other research suggests it will be positive), if you want to speak like the greatest leaders of today, it clearly tells you what you need to do.

In the News: Truth Is Not Enough

Today in Slate‘s “The State of the Universe,” Jess Zimmerman writes,

It’s time to give up on facts, or at least to temporarily lay them down in favor of a more useful weapon: emotions. . . . Truth is not enough. It never has been.

In the terminology of The Science of Speaking, it’s a pitch for the utility of Heart over Head. Or, at the very least, in addition to it.

The whole article is worth a read, but here’s a tl;dr version:

When the argument is an emotional one, fighting with facts is unlikely to work. Instead, it may be more effective to directly engage with the emotions at play (in an empathetic way).

For example, as Zimmerman writes,

If someone says that the Muslim ban is OK because all terrorists are Muslim, it might be more worth it to ask about their fear of terrorism than to rail against the falsehood about terrorists. That can yield a more useful conversation. What’s really going to make them safer? How much safety is really possible, and what are we willing to trade for it?