Empathy, emotion, and making your message hit home

Pretty sure the artist wasn’t going for “proud”. More like “done”.

The origins of emotion

I had a chance to explore this concept again a few weeks ago. We were split into groups and tasked with creating a video in a day on our allocated topic: in our case the government’s changing policies on asylum seeker rights and support. We got to choose the intended audience and the purpose of the video.

Natasha wasn’t even going to be in the video. She was sitting in the chair so we could test the setup.
Friendship or loss?
Playfulness or perspective?
Self-confidence or dinner?
  1. Set the tone. Use colours and images (and typefaces, perhaps) that create the feeling you want to convey / invoke. Alternately, use words to evoke the tone you want in your imagery.
  2. “I am rubber you are glue.” You can tell a story with emotional content without getting all teared-up yourself. Tell them about that time your puppy was sick, and you let her outside, and it wasn’t until an hour later that you went to check on her and saw she had collapsed in the backyard because she was so weak. And you realised you had been sitting inside drinking wine while your poor little bear was lying on the cold pavers unable to move. (True story.) They’ll get how terrible and sad you (still) feel. You don’t have to act it out — they’ll put themselves right there in your shoes.
  3. Set the stage for your emotional finish. Build the emotion and then drop your product into it.
“I hope you’re not, like, vegan or anything.”



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Pete Lead

Pete Lead


I work with startups, teach entrepreneurship, and freelance in improv and leadership coaching.