Persuasion – How to optimize communication according to new research

Persuasion – How to optimize communication according to new research

Persuasion – How To Optimize Communication According To New ResearchListen to the story


Text or Video? Happy or Sad story? New research gives extraordinary results on how to optimize communication. Many will have the intuitive response that a video clip in general would do much more to persuade people than a text. But new research from MIT shows that video clips “have only a modestly larger impact”. The focus of the research was set on that the researchers conducted an experiment about political misinformation involving 7609 Americans. Where the study is directed on credibility and persuasion in our era of fake news. Chloe Wittenberg, the lead author of the paper, explains:

“Technological advances have created new opportunities for people to falsify video footage, but we still know surprisingly little about how individuals process political video versus text. Before we can identify strategies for combating the spread of deepfakes, we first need to answer these more basic questions about the role of video in political persuasion.”

How to optimize communication

But what if we transfer this result to business communication, the conclusion is that there is no magic media format that optimize communication, but a media mix thereby is the way forward. The second reflection is that content is still king, that is where the core of where the message’s persuasiveness is located. However, new research from East China Normal University focused on how successful storytelling can synchronize brain activity gives interesting results. Since it shows that sharing a happy story increases feelings of closeness and synchronizes brain activity between the receiver and the sender.

Happy or Sad story

This means that generally, a positive happy story is more persuasive than a negative sad story. In business communication, this is good news. Since it mostly is directed on information about the company’s products, services, vision and organisation, which you want to show as positive as possible. But it gives much more headache for the producer of fake news since it mostly focuses on bringing down political opponents. Unfortunately, besides those who simply do not know or do not care, the hand too often seems much quicker than the mind. In other words, the synchronization of the brain activity begins too late.

Written by
LarsGoran Bostrom©

Author of the book Learning Design in Practice for Everybody and developer of Storyteller for Business and SOE PublishingLab

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