Article Details

Talk to the Elephant

What you will get: How to communicate with emotional impact


“Speak to the elephant!”


Successful people speak to other people’s elephants.


Most people don’t, they just speak to the rider of the elephant!


What am I talking about?


Communicating with the correct part of people’s brains.


You see…


We all have an elephant – which represents the subconscious part of our brain (the limbic system)


And then we all have a rider – which represents the logical, intelligent part of our brain.


And the elephant is bigger and more powerful – so it drives all our behaviours, habits, emotions, beliefs and, ultimately, our levels of success and happiness in life.


The elephant does not understand logic or language – so trying to persuade it to do something with reasoning simply does not work.


So in order to engage the elephant, we need to communicate in pictures, sounds, shapes, smells, stories and metaphors.


So let’s take an example…


I could come into my sales pitch to the management team and explain that we need to increase sales by 21% in the next year. And I can give lots of logical reasons why and even detail the process needed to achieve this.


All very clear – but not very exciting and not engaging the part of the brain that drives behaviour – the elephant.


How about this as an alternative…


“Right now, our sales are fine. They are like a comfortable family car, a light blue Ford Focus, cruising along a pleasant country road. Can you picture this?


Now how about this – a brand new red Ferrari firing its way up a breathtaking mountain – all the way to the top.
And nothing can stop it. And what’s more, the ride to the top is pure pleasure. Enlightening. Fun. Exciting.
Can you picture this?”


So which version grabs you more?


Of course the second one.


Why? Because it speaks to your emotional brain – your elephant.


And sadly…


As I already said, far too many business interactions just focus on rider to rider communication.


It may be clear.
It may be rational.
It may make sense


But it won’t drive behaviour change.
It won’t engage people’s interest.
It won’t inspire to take action.


So is it time you started to speak to people’s elephants more?
And while your at it – how often do you speak to your own elephant to get it motivated?


I’m off to drive a Ferrari up a mountain – how about you?


To your success.







Steve Neale
“Europe’s Leading Expert on Personal and Professional Growth”


Psychologist, Executive Coach, EI Practitioner, Award Winning Trainer, International Author, Psychodynamic Therapist, Hypnotherapist, Mindfulness Instructor, International Speaker, Creator of the LPS, Creator of the Accredited Masters in High Performance Leadership

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