Emphasize the positiveBy Laura Gluhanich on December 6, 2010 in Thought Leadership
There is an adage, if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all, but does it have a place in professional settings? It turns out, people are persuaded more by comments framed in a positive manner than negative.
According to PsyBlog, “A recent analysis added up the results of 29 different studies…found was none of the expected advantage for loss-framed messages, indeed there was a slight persuasive advantage for messages that were framed positively.” In other words, “Emphasising the positive can be more persuasive than pointing out the negative.”
What does this mean for a mentor or manager? If you’re trying to affect change in someone’s behavior, provide the context in a positive light rather than negative, explain the benefits of doing something, rather than the ill effects of the alternative. This extends beyond coaching, to announcements or feedback, and can have a larger effect on a company culture.
In a recent conversation with Kerri Trounce, Head of Production at The College of Law, UK she discussed how Rypple caused a change in attitude of their team based on positive framing. “Thanks has shifted the context from negative to positive. They work hard there but now instead of complaining that a shoot went late they will thank people for staying late. Positive framework shifts the perspective. People feel rewarded and noticed!”
Photo of you are awesome by Torley. Licensed under CC.