Don’t Communicate with Passion

Too many times, communicators rely on personal passion in their presentation, failing to understand that the audience doesn’t have built-in care.

You discover a truth, understand a principle, or buy into a way of thinking you believe would transform everyone. But just because it’s important to you doesn’t mean it’s important to your audience. Your audience doesn’t approach your topic with the same degree of care.  You think they aren’t connecting with your talk, but the reality is they aren’t interested in your topic.

Failing to understand this principle could cause you to ramp up the energy, passion and conviction even more, resulting in a further separation between you and your audience. Relying on passion might make you appear flat out strange. Too much passion might actually create a disconnect. Consider this scenario:

You strike up a casual conversation with someone at Home Depot before you know it, they are delivering a 10-minute dissertation on how proper ventilation of a basement promotes good health. They may be truthful, but their passion for a subject that you don’t really care about leads you to tell your wife, “Honey, that guy is weird.” Or you’re buying baby formula in the grocery store, and a mom with six kids in two triple-wide rocket buggys starts talking about how frozen breast milk is far superior and should be used to age 3. A great deal of passion actually keeps you from adopting that position.

In communication, you need to use appropriate passion. If you’re not excited about your topic, don’t expect your audience to be. But don’t overly rely on passion. Combine your appropriate passion with the appropriate amount of information – remember, some people don’t want to be inspired to change everything – they like things the way they are.

Make sure you add logos to pathos.