Your Invisible Anchor: 6 Steps to Inspire Action
Everyone has heard of Pavlov’s dogs. He showed a dog a steak and rang a bell at the same time. The dog salivated. After a few times of repeating this, he could simply ring the bell, and the dog would salivate. Its stimulus-response, now called classical conditioning. Humans are wired the same way! The good news is you can use this concept to create specific emotional responses in your audiences. How you ask? You can use your position on stage, or in any room you’re presenting in, to guide and direct the audience’s mind, and deepen their emotional response to every story and teaching point.
Up until now, you’ve probably just wandered around saying whatever you want to say and doing whatever you want to do, just hoping you’re holding the audience in the palm of your hand, and that your message is getting across just as you intended. You can be much more strategic and anchor in the response you want; so why leave it to chance?
Here are six steps on how to use your invisible anchor:
- Make a basic outline of each story you tell.
- Within that outline, note which emotions you create during each story. You’ll probably have lots of emotions: happiness, sadness, fear, excitement, possibility, anticipation, anxiety, victory, loss, etc.
- Group these emotions by similarity. For example: With the above list, happiness, excitement, possibility and victory would be similar. (For simplicity, we’ll call them positive emotions.) Sadness, fear, anxiety and loss would also be similar. (We’ll call them negative emotions.)
- Make a map of your stage for the day.
- Designate a spot for positive emotions, and a different spot for negative emotions. I would suggest that positive emotions are in the center or stage left, while negative emotions are stage right. (This helps incorporate our mind’s storage of time since we read from left to right. So on a deep unconscious level, most of us in the western hemisphere are conditioned to connect the past to our left and the future to our right.) I like to anchor the past to negativity and the future to happiness and possibility. Why? You need to put negativity somewhere, and you want them looking towards a bright future.
- As you present, you can ‘casually wander’ to each designated spot during the corresponding emotion in each story.
But what does this do you may wonder? Your audience is unconsciously linking your position to emotions each time you go to that specific spot. After a few repetitions, they will automatically create the emotion within themselves each time you go there. And each time you go there, your audience will go deeper into the emotion you’re creating. No matter how great and unique we think we are, we are paid to create information that’s simple and memorable. Emotion is the key to making information memorable.
How are you going to use this? Sure, you can use this to make your information link to emotion; but you can also use it to move your audience to action. If you anchor possibility and excitement in one area, you want to go there when you pitch your book or back of the room products. The audience will link that emotion to your book! You certainly wouldn’t want to go to the area where you anchored negativity or uncertainty to pitch your product, as that will certainly translate to missed sales. This technique is called stage anchoring and puts some strategy to what seems like casual wandering around the stage.
Now, my challenge to you is to get creative with this technique and use it as often as you can. If you don’t, it certainly won’t work. Good luck!