Making them think or making them feel

Part of our jobs as do-gooders is to make people feel things. Because feeling things makes people do things…good things. One feeling that is particularly effective at generating engagement and action is empathy—the  ability to experience the feelings of another person.  Helping your audience feel the feelings of those they are—or can—help helps them see themselves in the story and encourages their participation.

This mailing from the UK’s National Asthma Campaign, circa 1991, is a good example of involving an audience in the story. Few can resist the invitation to experience 30 seconds of asthma, even if just out of curiosity. And then they immediately imagine their life with asthma. And they realize that life with asthma ain’t easy.

Don’t get me wrong, making people think is important too.  But we frequently bombard people with facts, when sometimes what we need to do is help them feel.

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  1. […] You are emotionally involved in your mission. It’s a big part of why you do what you do, right? And as much as that personal connection to mission is a motivating force, it can also work to your disadvantage. Because the people on the receiving end of your communications? They aren’t as invested in your mission. They don’t live it and breathe it every day. It’s your job to get them there.  Caring begins with feeling. Your job, therefore, is to make them FEEL […]

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