To sway an audience or bring around colleagues to their point of view in office meetings, most people intuitively use emotional language to enhance their persuasive powers — knowing clearly that the effort could even backfire, researchers say.
The research showed that people tend toward appeals that aren’t simply more positive or negative but are infused with emotionality, even when they’re trying to sway an audience that may not be receptive to such language.
“Beyond simply becoming more positive or negative, people spontaneously shift toward using more emotional language when trying to persuade,” said researcher Matthew D Rocklage of The Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.
According to the study that was published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, we might imagine that people would use very positive words such as “excellent” or “outstanding” to bring others around to their point of view.
The findings, however, showed that people specifically used terms that convey a greater degree of emotion, such as “exciting” and “thrilling.”