If only the wolf had studied neuroscience and had told a story, instead of wasting his breath with all that useless huffing and puffing! You see, neuroscience teaches us that we build up beliefs and views of the world through a process called Bayesian learning. The end result is...
Of course, you know the story of the 3 little pigs. The first one builds a house of straw, which the wolf blows over in short order. The next pig builds a house of mud, which again is no match for the wolf. The third pig builds a house with bricks, and saves the day.
If only the wolf had studied neuroscience and had told a story, instead of wasting his breath with all that useless huffing and puffing!
You see, neuroscience teaches us that we build up beliefs and views of the world through a process called Bayesian learning. The end result is like a brick wall of strongly held beliefs. Combined with another phenomenon known as 'confirmation bias', we hold fast to the schema in our minds, and selectively focus on evidence that confirms our beliefs; and that strengthens the wall of belief even more. Conflicting facts and data bounce off the brick wall like all the wolf's huffing and puffing on the brick house.
If you're in sales trying to convince a prospect that your product or service is superior... Or.. if you're a start-up trying to persuade investors to invest in your next great idea... Or.. if you're a business leader espousing the company values to your team... well, chances are you know what I'm talking about.
In my livestream interview with Neuroscientist Marc Hurwitz, he explained that the most efficient way to get through that Bayesian brick wall is by combining facts and emotion. Our brains are wired to pay more attention to emotional content than to data. 'There's no sense fighting it,' he says, 'that's just the way the human brain has evolved.
And there's no better way to combine facts and emotion than in a story.
In fact, Marc told me that a good story with a strong emotional hook is one of the very few ways we can overcome a belief in the listener – whether that belief is based on actual fact, or fiction, a hunch, a fear, a stereotype, a skepticism.
So, you can keep on huffing and puffing your way through powerpoint -- or you can reach through that brick wall of existing beliefs with a good story.
In the interview, Marc also told me about another neuroscience experiment. Apparently, if you use a few neuroscience terms in your conversation or presentation, your credibility goes up. Insular Cortex. Basal Ganglia. Prediction error. Amygdala. Dopamine. Cognition. Brain mapping.
P.S. If you want to watch the 30-minute livestream interview with Marc, you can link to it here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0_wjDwb9nb4