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Knowing this will make you a better communicator and listener…

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Remember the “ice-bucket challenge”?

It was the summer of 2014.

The social media trend that began as a way to raise awareness and funds for ALS, went viral.

And suddenly our feeds were inundated with people throwing ice cubes on their heads.

Did you join in? Or were you one of those annoyed by the constant Facebook tags?

Anyway, what started out as a great way to spread awareness, turned into somewhat of a status signalling device.

It did its job, don’t get me wrong, raising $115 million for the ALS Association in the United States (compared to the $2.8 million raised during the same period in the previous year).

But still, it’s yet another example of something deep going on when it comes to human motivations.

It’s the “warm-glow giving” theory.

It states that “people experience a sense of joy and satisfaction for “doing their part” to help others”.

Makes sense right?

But when you peel under this layer, you quickly realize that we might seek this warm glow for two reasons:

  • Pure altruism: when we do something purely for others
  • Impure altruism: when we do something for others, but expect benefits for ourselves too (status or conscience).

Problem is, a lot of people tend to forget the latter.

And when dealing with others, we expect them to always have our best interest at heart.

That’s a recipe for disappointment and confusion down the line.

The sooner you accept that humans have deeper, more selfish motivations balancing out their selfless ones, the better communicator and listener you can become.

Remember it when you’re writing your copy: how can you be the one to let your prospect experience this “warm glow”? How can you make them feel good for giving something away (i.e. their credit card information)?

And what non-monetary reward are they getting in return? Is it status? Is it being at peace with their decision? With their conscience?

The rabbit hole goes way deeper than we think.

P.S. For the new folks who recently joined (but also for those who missed it), I’ll be running a giveaway just for you guys who follow me in these daily ramblings. I’d love your feedback on what you’d like to get. Have 20 seconds to spare?

Quote and reflection of the day:

“Is the glass half-empty or half-full? The answer is always ‘compared to what?’ The glass is half-empty if the person next to us has a full glass. The glass is half-full if the person next to us has an empty glass. We live our lives in a constant state of comparison. So constant that we don’t even notice it. And that should be the main purpose of all planning and research. Context. What is the context we are speaking into? What is the context we want to create? Control the context and you control the choice.”

– Dave Trott, One Plus One Equals Three.

You can only have good judgement and be effective, when you consider the context in your life experiences. The secret is that you can both look at the context and fabricate it. It’s up to you to choose when to do what.

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