People need to like you before they will like your idea.
In his book, Thinking, Fast and Slow, Nobel Prize-winning Daniel Kahneman talks about two modes of thinking that he portrays as characters in a story: System 1 and System 2.
System 1 is intuitive and makes rapid judgments based on things like memory, associations, and knowledge you’ve accumulated over your life. It works all the time, automatically. It requires no conscious effort on your part, but you also have no voluntary control over it and only limited awareness.
System 2 is working whenever you need to exert mental effort — for example, to perform a calculation, analyse a problem, or make a deliberate choice. System 2 is lazy and works only when it has to.
System 1 is constantly suggesting impressions, feelings, and intuitions to System 2.
Most of the time, System 2 will accept these suggestions because it’s easier than making the effort to deliberately question where they came from. And then System 2 will find logical-sounding reasons to support a decision that was really made at a more intuitive, involuntary, emotional level.
If System 1 likes you, it will suggest to System 2 that your idea is a good one. Your proposal should be accepted, you should be hired for the job, your plan is worth following.
However, if you ignore System 1 and start speaking directly to System 2, you’ll get both of them off side, and System 2 will turn its considerable analytical powers to poking holes in your proposal. (You may have experienced this in meetings.)
What does this mean for anyone with an idea to communicate?
It means it’s worth investing a little time and effort to make a good impression on System 1 before you start talking with System 2.
Make a human connection before you bring on the analysis.