Learning Lab

Paper Power in Leadership

Leading people often involves evoking emotion in them. We know the power of being in an emotional state to elicit it in others, but have you considered the power of paper in evoking emotion?

An emotional state means that a person has certain chemicals flying around their body, causing them to be physiologically primed in a certain way. They are likely to experience some feelings as a result of these emotions too. This primes them for certain behaviours, which leads to certain results. So you can see the power of emotional states. They lead to the results we get at home, at work, in every area of life.

If you or a team member aren’t getting the results you want then gaining greater emotional state control is hugely beneficial. There are a series of processes you can easily learn through training that will empower you to enjoy an increased level of control and subsequently, better results.

At Synaptic Potential we look to various sources to find the latest scientific discoveries and set about looking at how the business community can benefit from these. The branding agency Milward Brown conducted a research project using fMRI scanning to show how paper-based marketing and digital marketing get processed in the brain differently. The study showed:

• Material shown on cards generated more activity within the area of the brain associated with the integration of visual and spatial information (the left and right parietal).
• This suggests that physical material is more “real” to the brain. It has a meaning, and a place. It is better connected to memory because it engages with its spatial memory networks.

• More processing is taking place in the right retrosplenial cortex when physical material is presented. This is involved in the processing of emotionally powerful stimuli and memory, which would suggest that the physical presentation may be generating more emotionally vivid memories.
• Physical activity generates increased activity in the cerebellum, which is associated with spatial and emotional processing (as well as motor activity) and is likely to be further evidence of enhanced emotional processing.

These things are great from a marketing perspective but also anytime we want to use different ways to evoke emotion in people, like during leadership. We have the added bonus with marketing of standing out from the crowd as fewer and fewer companies use paper to make an impression.

To elicit an emotional response in a person consider writing a note on some textured paper telling someone what a great job they are doing, rather than sending them an email. Think about writing a note or a little card asking someone to be part of a big new project. Or when agreeing on deadlines for components of a project actually write them on a nice piece of paper with the person there and then hand it to them.

There are lots of creative ways to have more of an emotional impact on people. Trial and error can give us some experience to play with, and solid new scientific research gives us a great reliable starting point to start experimenting from.

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