Sunday, April 23, 2017

Use colour to trigger emotional connection

Well hello, springtime!

Imagine this picture in black and white. It's a collection of bushes in full leaf against some trees with a house in the background. That doesn't offer much of a story. It doesn't call out to you to connect.

But in full colour, you know that this is the kind of spring day that makes people smile as they pass you on the sidewalk or the trail. In colour, this picture invites you to stand next to me and marvel with me at the blue of the sky and the exuberant yellow of the forsythia. In colour, you know that this is a picture of promise and potential.

When you're communicating, you're probably tempted to either avoid the colour (and tell your stories in black and white, just the facts) or to avoid the story (just describe life as it is). The problem with this is that understanding takes an effort and if you want other people to make that effort, you have to give them something that promises the effort will be worth it. Just the facts, the black and white version of reality, relies on the receiver of the communication to make the effort long enough for meaning to be conveyed. That's a big ask of a busy person who already has more on their mind than they know what to do with.

The better way is to offer them that burst of yellow, that blue, blue sky. Let them feel the promise first. It will make it easier for them to pay attention to the facts, and make it easier for them to remember the facts long enough to do something with them.

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