I’ve been trying to write this article for three months. The original plan was to re-write an article I read in Entrepreneur Magazine titled “10 Common and Effective Emotional Triggers.” If you read the article, you’ll understand my struggle. The concepts outlined by the writer are solid marketing strategies, but I’m a bit disturbed that her top two triggers are “fear” and “guilt”. I’m not an advocate of using those to market Masonry.
And then … My wife entered the room.
Behind every successful man is a good woman. Those of us who give countless hours to the craft and are often out three or four nights a week understand this perhaps better than most. Our wives make it possible. In my case, my wife is also my muse, my creative sounding board, and the one person who is never afraid to tell me when I’m wrong.
She read the title of this article (which I was still wrestling with) and gave me this pearl of wifely wisdom: “That’s a great topic,” she said. “When I get frustrated with technology I’ll usually just close my computer and walk away. I’m not emotionally connected at all and have a hard time trying again.”
The creative floodgates opened …
Overcoming a Fear of Technology
Call it fear, call it reluctance, or call it an emotional disconnect. It all boils down to the same thing. Some folks just don’t have an affinity for technology. In our district, where Hiram’s Edge was conceived, only two of the six lodges have actually embraced it. Why is that? Everyone raves about how great the program is, but there are senior officers who “don’t use” technology and have that emotional block my wife is talking about.
The term for someone who has a fear of technology is “technophobe” and it’s common among older folks (if you winced at that, I’m probably talking to you). Freemasonry, in case you haven’t noticed, has quite a few elders in positions of authority. These are the very men who must embrace technology for our fraternity to grow, but they are also the group positioned furthest away from the technology revolution of the 21st Century. How do we overcome this obstacle? The answer, as always, is education.
A 2015 piece in “Senior Planet”, a website targeted to elderly readers, provides some excellent suggestions for technophobes. It’s titled “How to Overcome your Fear of New Technologies.” I recommend you check it out. In the meantime, the best advice I have for you is from a Nike slogan – “Just do it.” Fear is caused by a lack of knowledge or faith in something. Learn how to use what you’re currently afraid of. Hiram’s Edge can help, as can countless other courses available online and through community centers.
And now for today’s lesson …
Let’s talk about emotional triggers. Four of the emotional triggers mentioned in the article I referenced at the top of this page are:
I’m going to focus on these and leave out the other triggers that round out that author’s top ten list. Those others, in case you’re interested, are fear, guilt, competition, instant gratification, trend-setting, and time. You may want to revisit some of those once you’ve mastered the art of content development with the four emotional triggers I’ve selected, but leave them be for now. Here’s the exercise:
Step One: Select a medium
If you’ve been doing Hiram’s Edge the way it’s laid out, you now have a number of media outlets to choose from. Your website is the primary outlet, particularly your blog. There’s no better place to wordsmith the phrases you need to tap into human emotions. You can also use your email marketing program, but there’s a slightly different technique for that. Word counts have to be lower and you need to get to the point faster.
Step Two: Select a Trigger
Choose one of the four emotional triggers above and write a paragraph describing your own emotions, feelings, and thoughts on that trigger. Do you trust your brothers in Freemasonry? Explain why and outline an example. What about the value of Freemasonry in your life? Does that sense of belonging make you feel more a part of the world? Have your new leadership skills helped you get a promotion at work?
Step Three: Use your Emotion to Understand Theirs
Take what you’ve written and imagine you are the reader. What feelings are triggered by your words? If you can’t do this conceptually, have someone read your words and give you feedback on their emotions. Does your story about belonging make them want to belong? Are they aspiring for a better professional position? You don’t have to limit yourself to just one message. Try a few and publish them separately so you can track responses. The tools to do that are built into WordPress and Constant Contact.
Step Four: Find a Powerful Image to Portray your Thoughts
There are millions of images online. Search for one that fits your thought process and post it as part of your blog or email. To capture an image, right click and use the “Save as” option to save it to your desktop, then use the “Insert Media” button in WordPress to add it to your post. Here’s a video showing exactly how to do that:
Writing Exercise #2 – The Five Senses
The emotional trigger steps above are a writing exercise. Practice the process as often as possible and you’ll see an improvement in your writing and the responses you get from it. Another exercise I personally like is called “The Five Senses.” These senses, as we all know from our second degree, are:
Take a blank piece of paper or open your laptop and write one sentence describing your senses at that moment. What do you see? What do you hear? What are you feeling with your hands (and feet)? Is there a certain smell in the air? Can you taste anything at the moment? Do this regularly and not only will your writing improve, but your senses will be sharper and more in tune.