4 Universal elements to capturing hearts and minds when presenting

Maurice DeCastro
7 min readFeb 4, 2024

The expression ‘capturing the hearts and minds’ is one we are all familiar with. It’s stood the test of time because it’s one of our greatest human needs when connecting with others. Creating an intellectual understanding of something is all well and good but real and lasting change comes with an emotional connection.

The idea was presented to us 2500 years ago when the philosopher Aristotle, shared his belief that what determines the connection of hearts and minds is:

Ethos, Pathos, Logos

Ethos relates to the human appeal to moral principles. Logos refers to logic and reason. Pathos relates to our emotions.

When communicating with others, conveying logic, reason and evidence on its own isn’t enough. We also need to ensure that we connect the information emotionally and that it appeals to their moral nature and beliefs.

Have you noticed that sometimes we know exactly what to do, why we should do it and even exactly how to do it but we still don’t.

How intelligent is that?

Well-being

There is no big secret to general health and well-being. All we have to do is eat well, move well, sleep well and drink well.

The UK government has stated that:

‘In 2021 to 2022, 63.8% of adults aged 18 years and over in England were estimated to be overweight or living with obesity. This was an increase from 2020 to 2021 (63.3%).’

Obesity is of course just one of countless factors which can adversely affect our well-being.

Intellectually, most of us know exactly what to do but something still prevents us from doing it.

Sadly, the catalyst for change is often a shock or tragedy which challenges us emotionally.

When it comes to presenting and public speaking most people know that saturating slides with data alone is painful. Despite that knowledge, we still see presenters doing exactly that every day.

For anything to change we have to capture hearts and minds

Capturing hearts and minds is a critical part of public speaking and presenting.

Facts, data, research and evidence alone is often insufficient to influence change or action, especially in a presentation. We also need to connect emotionally with our audience.

At Mindful Presenter we believe that Logos is relatively easy to achieve. After all, we just have to state the problem or opportunity, present the evidence we have and appeal to the logic of our audience.

Logic, evidence and reason is not enough

Capturing hearts and minds requires Logos, Pathos and Egos .

There are 4 Universal elements to support these:

– Collective Consciousness

– Social Cohesion

– Emotional Contagion

– Energetic Communication

  1. Capturing hearts and minds through collective consciousness

We are all connected.

Despite enormous division in the world, “We are all connected; To each other, biologically. To the earth, chemically. To the rest of the universe atomically.” Neil DeGrasse Tyson

Émile Durkheim, who is regarded as one of the principal architects of modern social science, refers to the ideas of collective consciousness as beliefs and sentiments common to average members of society, forming a determinate system that has its own life.

I believe that collective consciousness is our biological need to belong and connect with one another.

From a mindful presenting perspective that means that everyone in our audience has hopes, fears, challenges, beliefs, aspirations and feelings. As presenters, we don’t have access to our audiences consciousness but can make an effort to do so.

That begins by leaving aside the notion that everyone feels the same way about our idea, topic or message.

Tapping into our audiences collective consciousness

Long before you open your laptop to begin building your presentation tap into your audiences collective consciousness by finding out:

– How much they know already

– Any thoughts, opinions or feelings they have on the topic

– If they have any resistance to your idea and why

– What concerns them the most

– Why they could care about what you have to say

– What they have in common on the topic

– Their shared or disparate beliefs

Don’t leave it to chance

Once we have absolute clarity of our message and the purpose of our presentation, our first challenge is to understand how our audience see’s things. That doesn’t happen by assuming that that we know the answers to these important questions.

Take the time to ask your audience before you begin crafting your content.

From an academic and psychological perspective the idea of collective consciousness can be difficult to explain and accept.

For the mindful presenter it’s simply about connecting with the consciousness of our audience on a holistic level.

2. Capturing hearts and minds through social coherence

Every presenter’s goal is to create consensus and unity withi their audience; social coherence.

I like the way it’s described in an article named, Science of the Heart: ‘Social coherence refers to the strength of relationships and the sense of solidarity among members of a community.’

‘When members of any work group, sports team, family or social organization get along well there is a natural tendency toward good communication, cooperation and efficiency. In a coherent team, there is freedom for the individual members to do their part and thrive while maintaining cohesion and resonance within the larger group’s intent and goals. Social coherence is therefore reflected as a stable, harmonious alignment of relationships that allows for the efficient flow and utilization of energy and communication required for optimal collective cohesion and action.’

How to achieve social coherence

Social coherence when presenting to an audience comes from:

– Getting them to like being part of the group. That means making your presentation interesting, stimulating, interactive and enjoyable.

– A sense of belonging. That means ensuring our audience know that they are in the right room and that everything we share will be of relevance and value to them individually and as a group.

– Helping them to see the future. That means making it explicitly clear how our message will make their lives better, easier, happier, more efficient or effective; individually and as a group.

– Making them feel something. That means connecting emotionally as well as intellectually.

From an academic and psychological perspective the idea of social coherence can be difficult to explain and accept.

For the mindful presenter it is simply about unifying our audience.

3. Capturing hearts and minds through emotional contagion

I like the way emotional contagion is described in article, ‘Emotional Contagion: What It Is And How To Avoid It.’:

‘Emotional contagion, first characterized by Elaine Hatfield, describes how people who observe the emotions and behaviours of another tend to copy those emotions and behaviours. For instance, when someone smiles happily around others, those around them are more likely to smile and feel happy.

Emotional contagion can spread through facial expressions, vocal tone, and posture. Emotional contagion can arise from interactions between people as well as interactions between people and non-humans.’

We can be emotionally contagious through:

– A smile

– Humility

– Vulnerability

– Passion

– Belief

– Our voice

– Facial expressions

– Body language

– Humour

– Stories

– Empathy

From an academic and psychological perspective the idea of emotional contagion can be difficult to explain and accept.

For the mindful presenter it is simply about making our audience feel what we feel.

4. Capturing hearts and minds through energetic communication

At Mindful Presenter we hold the belief that energy and enthusiasm are critical to connecting with an audience. Our presentation has to revolve around energetic communication.

I like the way it’s described in the article, ‘Speaking from the Heart: What Is Energetic Communication?’

‘Energetic communication is the belief that your emotional state can affect the vibrations and energy fields you emit.’

In his YouTube video ‘We Communicate Through Energy,’ one of my favourite authors, Dr Bruce Lipton says:

‘The chair I’m sitting on is energy. The air I’m in, breathing is energy. I’m energy. You’re energy. We are all connected in this energy. But the fact is, energies are communications, and we vibrate and broadcast just like a radio. We’re broadcasting who we are out into the field, and we author what is going on.

It’s not on language, it’s not on communication, it has nothing to do with words. It’s an energy that’s available if you just want to feel it. And I think that’s the big issue. FEELINGS. Because feelings are telling you, you feel good? Yes, I’m having more energy. You’re feeling bad, you’re feeling weak, I’m having less energy.’

Tapping into your energetic communication

Mindful presenting comes from expanding our consciousness and awareness energetically before we begin to present.

That comes through:

Breath — Spend a few minutes breathing mindfully. Notice each breath in and each breath out. Don’t try to change or evaluate your breath, just notice each breath.

Stillness — Become quiet and notice. Notice how you are feeling in the moment. Don’t try to judge or change it, just notice.

Asking — As you breathe mindfully in the stillness, ask yourself who you want to be.

Memory — Remember just how far you’ve come already, all you’ve achieved and all you’re capable of.

From an academic and psychological perspective the idea of energetic communication can be difficult to explain and accept.

For the mindful presenter it’s simply about remembering that energetic communication extends way beyond our verbal delivery.

If you’d like help capturing hearts and minds when presenting:

– Book yourself onto a powerful public speaking course.

– Invest in some really good one to one public speaking coaching.

– Get yourself some excellent presentation training

Image courtesy of Canva.com

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Maurice DeCastro

Author, speaker, trainer, presenter - former corporate executive passionate about personal leadership, people and results.