A very wise man once taught me that the key to marketing is not what you say, but how well you can transfer emotion to your audience.


It’s an extremely hard concept to master because it’s subtle. There is no instruction manual on how to transfer emotion. This is bad news for over-analytical types that want the exact formula for success, and good news for creative types that know how to tap into other people’s emotions.

Considering that marketing is a part of everything you do, from getting a date to getting a job to asking your parents (or boss) for money; you would serve yourself well to understand and learn to implement this concept.

Why do you think that top actors are among the wealthiest in our society? They have mastered the concept of transferring emotion from the screen to you in your seat.

Digging Deeper

Steve taught me this concept about a year ago, and since then I have been working on it weekly in my role as a presenter and mentor. Over the last 3 months, I’ve submersed myself even deeper through the process of training my business partner, Shauwn, to present.

It has been a fascinating experience to watch his growth as a presenter from an outside perspective. We have learned without a doubt that Steve was right. Shauwn (or I for that matter) could say the exact same thing on two different nights, but the results might vary drastically based on how well he transferred his passion on the subject to the audience.

Sometimes it even seems like he could say almost anything as long as he transferred the emotion well enough.

The “Ah-Ha” Moment

A few weeks ago, I sat in as Shauwn gave his presentation. I could see in his eye that something had changed. The information was the same (making the same mistakes in the material.. damn you Shauwn!), but the delivery was very different. I found myself looking up and leaning forward in my chair, where before I had the tendency to mentally wander.

It ended up being his best night up to that point. Interestingly enough, he didn’t quite understand why. He told me that he actually felt like he had given a worse presentation than in previous nights. No…., I told him, It’s not the presentation that mattered, it was your transference of emotion. It was there!

I find it fascinating that the difference was so subtle that it was hard for him to put his finger on, but the audience could sense it.

How To Transfer Emotion

You may not be a public speaker like Steve, Shauwn, and I; but the concept still applies to you. Anytime you want something that someone else has, such as money, attention, acknowledgment, etc; you market yourself to get it. To be effective, it’s important to transfer the emotion of urgency, desire, sympathy, or whatever feeling is necessary to get them to take action.

Transferring emotion to another human being takes a delicate balance of passion, communication skills, and empathy.


To transfer an emotion to someone else, you first have to strongly have the emotion yourself… but how do I tell you to how have an emotion?

Feelings are funny, subtle things… especially for men. Maybe that’s why women tend to be better communicators.

If you don’t have passion for what you are selling, writing, asking for, etc; you are not going to be successful. Your audience can sense your feelings for the subject matter. If you are weak in this area, it’s possible that you are suppressing your emotions (a lot of us men), or maybe it hasn’t been properly marketed to you yet.

It might help to go back and become an audience member again for someone who is passionate about the topic. For example, if you are a blogger who wants to write about poetry (and you’re not feelin’ it.) It might help to find someone who gets excited about the ancient poets and listen or read them for awhile to hopefully acquire their excitement for it.

You see, we all pass emotions to each other like currency flows in an economy.

Controlled Passion

Once you have sufficient excitement for your topic, it’s important not to go overboard (I told you this thing is subtle). With practice, you will eventually find that delicate balance between passion and control that your audience will respect.

Too much passion and people won’t believe you. Too little passion and they won’t even hear you.

Communication Skills

In our school system, it’s very hard to find classes on communication. I guess we’ve decided as a society that we should learn it on our own. I made it through high school and 1 year of college before I took an elective class on interpersonal communication; and I will argue that it was the most beneficial class I have ever taken.

Think about how inefficient interpersonal communication is: Right now, I have an idea in my head that I’m trying to transfer to your head. The idea has to be translated into an imperfect language that took thousands of years to develop and put into words on this page before it gets to you. By some chance, it got to you, and hopefully I kept your attention long enough for you to make it this far in the article. You now have to take the words and the language and try and reconstruct my idea in your head.

The closer I can come to reconstructing my idea in your head, the more successful I have been as a communicator. That being said, it is impossible to reconstruct an idea perfectly in someone else’s head.

Mastering communication takes study and practice. Start by learning what makes people tick. Learn the differences between how men and women think. Learn the different Meyers-Briggs personality types. Learn a different language.

Take your knowledge into practice by talking to people. Get in front of groups. Write. Communicate!


The most important part of marketing is actually caring for your audience. You have to actually care enough about how they feel to transfer your emotion to them.

Steve used to tell me to “love your audience.”

The Bottom Line

In conclusion, marketing is tough and takes a lot of practice. It is a pursuit that takes a lifetime to master.

The journey, though difficult, is worth every step. If you can master the transference of emotion, you can have anything that you want in this life.

(featured photo by Martin Fisch)