Kevin Hogan

International Speaker

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It’s all about emotion….the question is which one(s)?

You can make logical arguments for your point of view and they still shake their heads. They don’t yield. They don’t change. They don’t see the light. What should be glaringly obviously doesn’t get through.

Then as you become upset, you can make emotional arguments and they still fall on deaf ears.

What’s happening?

Take a step back and take a quick emotional inventory.

The emotions they feel will in large part determine whether they will be moved to your way of thinking.

When people are experiencing “positive” emotions (contentment, happiness)they are more likely to be persuaded to attempt new things or make different choices from a variety of items.

But how often are people experiencing positive emotions when they are in the persuasion process?


The Dominant Emotions of Persuasion

Two negative emotions dominate persuasion and each plays out very differently from the other.

What are they?


Legend Point: People who experiencing fear are risk averse. That means, that when they are experiencing feelings of nervousness, anxiousness, or fear, they are most likely going to choose/select the option in a menu of choices that will set their mind at ease.

People who are in a fearful state of mind not only take and make risk averse choices, they tend to evaluate other choices as far riskier than the choices really are. They are overly pessimistic.

I bet you can already see how this could be helpful to your next encounter….

If someone is experiencing a fear based emotion, your proposed solution should be something that causes the feeling of security and moves the person away from the fear they feel.

Remember, people who experience fear, OVERESTIMATE the risk of options.


Angry people are easy to persuade. Anger is linked to aggression and aggression from an evolutionary perspective is adaptive.

Legend Point: Anger, whether it occurs naturally or in a research setting CAUSES people to think optimistically.

In decision making research you find that angry people tend to evaluate risk in a way that is almost identical to people who are happy.

And by the way…overall…both angry and happy people make lousy decisions.

When someone is feeling anger, presenting them with a challenge or simply challenging them sparks an optimistic can-do attitude.

$10,000 Key: Another useful strategy for influencing people that are angry is to ask them to EVALUATE the risk involved. They will tend to dismiss any risk and tend to move forward with the proposal.

If you work within people’s emotions, you can literally get into the rushing river of adrenaline that drives people’s behavior instead of trying to beat them over the head and do something they don’t feel…which is a steep mountain to climb any day.

If your presentation of information is fairly constant from person to person or group to group, you probably have noticed that your presentation elicits a set of emotions. Understanding what the person’s perception of risk is at any moment (low when angry, high when fearful) allows you to work within those emotions to cause change efficiently and effectively.

Now, let me ask YOU a question. When you work with clients, what emotions are generally experienced by your client and what is your typical result? What would happen if you CHANGED the emotions your presentation causes?!?!?!




How can you ensure that you have a handle on emotions in persuasion and influence? Personal mastery leads to success in many areas of life…

The Three Disciplines: Personal Mastery, Charisma, Self-Discipline with Kevin Hogan, Psy.D.
Discipline, Self Mastery

Discipline: “training, activity or regimen that develops or improves a skill”.

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More information about Personal Mastery

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Author of The Psychology of Persuasion, Irresistible Attraction, and The Science of Influence, Dr. Kevin Hogan is trusted by organizations, both large and small, to help them help their people reach their personal peak performance and maximize influence in selling and marketing. Kevin is an internationally admired keynote speaker and corporate thought leader. In Coffee with Kevin Hogan, he shares his research, observations, and how you can apply them in your life – both in business and at home.

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