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The key to a meaningful event message: emotion

Dec 14, 2017

It’s not enough for your message to be understood; real meaning happens when your message is felt.

If you’re planning a corporate meeting or event, you’ve got a lot of your mind: transportation, agendas, logistics, budgeting, rehearsals, food and beverage. The list is long and stakes are high. The time, energy and resources funneled into an event means one thing: you’ve got to get this right.

Any good planner driving towards the finish line of an upcoming event is focused on messaging, presentations and making sure the content is looking perfect. After all, sharing information is what meetings are all about. Unfortunately, too many event professionals overlook something major as they craft and refine their key message: emotion.

Information perfectly packaged into concise bullet points will mean nothing to your audience if they don’t feel a connection. It’s not enough for your message to be understood; real meaning happens when your message is felt.

Start with a simple question: How do you want your audience to feel?

Inspired? Excited? Empowered? Optimistic? Proud? Ambitious?

Take time to ponder how emotions can work in your favor. Consider using Plutchik’s model of emotions to refine your direction and keep the following in mind:

  1. Emotions are complicated. Plutchik’s model demonstrates that our feelings are often a result of more than one sentiment. Case in point: optimism is the result of experiencing both joy and anticipation. Having a deeper understanding of complex emotions will help you craft a more thoughtful event and effective experience.
  2. Your attendees are not blank slates. Keep in mind that although you may have an outcome in mind, your audience may have contrary feelings. If you are trying to build trust in the wake of recent layoffs, you’ll need to navigate carefully. Your best bet is to directly address current emotions (i.e. anger and fear) before jumping into trust falls.
  3. Emotions are experienced on a spectrum. Keep in mind that the same emotion can be experienced mildly or intensely. Take time to consider different ways a single emotion may be felt. As an example, mild apprehension can devolve into abject terror.

As you carefully craft your meeting message, don’t forget to weave feelings into the experience. If you want your message to hit home, create authentic moments to foster meaningful emotions.

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