In business communication there is a need for Clear steps
Use engagement and clear communication to motivate change, not fear
Studies have discovered fear fails as a motivator towards action. Specific positive steps are required to lead to change.
Students, in one study, were given information pamphlets, either high-fear or low-fear, explaining the impact of tetanus, and the benefits of tetanus inoculations. The high-fear group got detailed and graphic images describing how tetanus impacts people. The low-fear group was only told that shots were available.
Those exposed to the high-fear pamphlet claimed they were more likely to respond. The high-fear pamphlets produced more anxiety, greater intent to get the shots than the low-fear group, but not many actually went and got the shots.
This fear study has a clear relationship to numerous people who are told they need to reduce their intake of unhealthy food, quit smoking or need more exercise or they will suffer heart attacks or from other life threatening attacks. Many of these people, according to the literature, are unlikely to follow through on the advice, even though they fear the outcome if they don’t. This includes doctors and other medical practitioners who know the results of inaction.
Create clear and specific steps to motivate change
There is good news however, those in the 3rd group in the fear study, who received specific action steps on how to get tetanus shots, were statistically far more likely to get them than those with less specific information. i.e a map and times the clinic was open. Even though they intellectually knew where the clinic was and the times it operated, this knowledge was not enough, a reminder of this information led to action.
The studies showed that fear arousal alone is not enough to influence a change in behaviour. A person is far more likely to change when provided a clear path of action, the specific steps they need to take in order to change.
In our business and relationship communication this means we need to create Clear Steps for clients or our partner to take once we raise the issue. If we raise a problem or fear tainted issue it will cause anxiety but is unlikely to lead to change unless clear action steps are agreed to in the moment and action is taken immediately. Otherwise actions will be taken “tomorrow”, which is always a day away.
If you want to learn how to create One Clear Message in your communication and create Clear Steps contact us today!
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