R3

Stop Pissing off the Little Voice inside People’s Heads – Tell a Story

August 21, 2018

Stop Pissing off the Little Voice inside People’s Heads – Tell a Story

Take three seconds to evaluate my statement about you:

“I am 100 percent positive that you talk to yourself all day long.”

1 … 2 … 3 …

A few things just happened here.

In the first second, about 90 percent of you agreed that you do talk to yourself while the other 10 percent of you said to yourself, “I don’t talk to myself”.

Regardless of which way you swung on the statement during the first second, during the next two seconds that little voice inside your head chimed in and started to picture your “typical” day and find some point where you don’t talk to yourself. This little voice in your head just started an argument.

Let me say in full disclosure that I have no idea if the “all day long” part of the statement above is scientifically correct. Or not.

The part of this we want to focus on is the little voice inside our heads. It’s always there, it never takes vacation and in reality this little voice is the number one influencer in our lives telling us whether to conform or diverge on essentially every single thing in our daily lives. Studies on social influence will tell us that this little voice can be persuaded in many directions. But regardless of which direction that is, the voice is always there.

The truth is, as a community we have been pissing off these little voices in people’s heads for years. That’s why we are in the position we are in, and that’s why R3 is even a thing. Despite years of failure in our messaging we can’t help but do the common sense thing and relapse to the conventional communication route.

In our situation as an R3 community, our problem is we need more hunters – and we need to educate people on the threat that a loss in hunter numbers could bring. In comes conventional communication. Conventional communication in this situation doesn’t direct our intuition to go out and tell someone a story but rather go out there, lay out the facts, display the data and hope that people listen. We often reason and resort to conventional communication thinking to ourselves, “Why, we would try to elicit indirect thinking (stories) from someone and chance their interpretation.” Or, “Why not be direct in our messaging and basically go out there and hit people between the eyes with it in an abstract directive?”

The problem with this is that when you hit someone between the eyes with information, they respond by fighting back. You have just pissed off the little voice inside their heads. The way a message is delivered to someone is a direct cue eliciting a predictable reaction. If you make an argument (for example: Hunting is Conservation), you are implicitly asking them to evaluate it, judge it, debate it, criticize it and then argue back. The little voice inside our heads just can’t help itself from forming this reaction.

But this is exactly what conventional communication does. The conventional view of communication tells us to ignore the little voice inside our head and hope it stays quiet and that the message will somehow get through. Reality check: nothing gets past the little voice.

So how do we stop pissing off the little voice in people’s head?

We engage it!

Here’s where stories come in.

To any of you who have pitched a modern and/or new marketing strategy to “senior staff” at your state agency or company, you were likely met with some level of resistance. Anything that triggers indirect thinking is far outside the box. It often violates their intuition which is conditioned to conventional communication. The idea of trying to deliver a message within a story seems ambiguous, peripheral or anecdotal. They just can’t help but wanting to go with the direct messaging and, in turn, pissing off the little voice.

So how does a story fix this issue?

By telling a story we engage the little voice by involving it with an idea and giving it something to do by participating with us in the story. When involved in a story we get caught up in the narrative and our little voice’s own internal story – so much so that we lose the cognitive ability to argue the facts. Stories allow people to visualize how an existing problem might change. They tell people about possibilities and hold the major advantage of combating skepticism and creating buy-in.

Obviously, not all stories are the same. We must carefully craft the story and more importantly, how we embed the message or the core of our idea into that story. Essentially, we need to tell a story which elicits a second story from the little voice. By doing this, we shift the attention of the audience into a problem solving mode. This can be considered mass customization when done correctly. This second story essentially allows each person to follow the story and problem solve for themselves while visualizing themselves within the idea/core message of the story.

When done properly, this is what makes a story powerful. It mobilizes people to act and focus on potential solutions. Stories hold the power of emotion which is something that no amount of data displayed on a lame meme is ever going to replicate.

Good stories don’t silence the little voice in our heads but rather direct the little voice’s opinion in our favor.

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