The Art of Balancing Safety and Novelty

Cartoon of Old Brain
Cartoon Brain

Continuing the discussion of the old brain’s communication style, today let’s look at 2 more neuromarketing recommendations.

#2 – Quickly let your prospects know what is unique and exciting about your message.

You want to clearly identify for your audience what makes you different from your competitors.  Make this as black and white as possible because the old brain relies on clear contrast to process input.

It’s also a good idea to make this information as simple and concrete as you can to make it very easy for the old brain to understand what makes you unique.

You need to include what makes your product or service exciting and new.  The old brain craves novelty and excitement, so this will help you keep your audience’s attention.

Finally, be sure to share all the above information within the first 7-10 minutes of any presentation, webinar, or video or close to the beginning of an article, blog post, or other short marketing message.  The old brain will tune out after about 7 minutes if there is nothing happening that commands its attention.

#3 – Be sure to include plenty of non-verbal and visual communication.

This is critical!  As I’ve stressed before, the old brain doesn’t really understand words very well; instead it receives communication mainly through images and emotions.  As I mentioned in a previous post, vision is the primary path of sensory input for most people.

Please note that visual communication does not mean text on a PowerPoint slide!  If the old brain doesn’t use words, then it definitely can’t read.

Reading is a special task that requires a unique combination of different parts of the brain.  I will discuss this further in a future blog post.

You can leave a very small amount of text on your slides (I recommend a one-sentence headline) for the new brain to read, but most of your slide layout should be pictures, shapes, or diagrams.  The more dramatic the pictures, the better!

When you are giving a presentation, other non-verbal communication, of course, includes your body language, tone of voice, movements, clothing, hairstyle, and eye contact and connection with the audience.

All of that has a huge, though unconscious, impact on developing trust and rapport with your audience.  They need to know, like, and trust you before they are going to decide to pay for your product or service.

Since the old brain is the primary decision-maker, this gut-level sense of trust is much more important than any logical information you share about your product or service – information which is processed in the new brain.

Trust is mostly an unconscious, often instantaneous, evaluation that has less to do with what you say and more to do with the feeling your prospects or audience get when they look at you and listen to you.

Confidence, passion, eye contact, facial expression, and a relaxed, open posture will all help immensely.  If any of these traits do not come easily to you, then I recommend you find a coach who can work with you to unlearn your bodily habits that may be sending the wrong message to your audience’s old brain.

Walking the Tightrope Between Novelty and Safety

There is an art to finding the right balance between making the old brain feel  safe and unthreatened and making your message unique enough that the old brain can’t fit it within one of its stored mental models.

Remember, if the old brain thinks your message is something it has heard before, it will tune out very quickly and ignore you.  Instead you want your message to be novel enough that the old brain iinvites the new brain to help with processing.

This is the only way you can get your marketing message through to the new brain, where it can be evaluated more rationally and analytically!

But you also want to make sure the old brain doesn’t shut down immediately because your message is too radically new and threatens to force changes in the comfortable status quo.

When you’re pitching one or just a few prospects, this is easier to do because you can keep watching their body language and you can judge their level of resistance by their questions and comments.

But when you are presenting to a larger group, you have to develop almost a 6th sense about reading the audience’s mood.  The more present and grounded you are in your own body, the more you will be open to this energetic information.

Of course you will have no way of knowing how your audience is responding in the moment to your blog posts, articles, videos, infographics, and such, but surveys can help, as well as the comments you receive.

Check in with yourself and see how you rate on the guidelines suggested above.  I’d love to see your feedback in the comments below!

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