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“I Think …” vs. “I Feel…” ? Which Is More Persuasive For Presentations?

by Adam Noar

I recently read an article from one of my favorite internet marketing influencers, Derek Halpern, who is the founder of socialtriggers.com – a website that explores psychological research behind what makes people “tick.” If you’re not already subscribed to Derek’s free newsletter I highly recommend you join.

Within the article, a really interesting question was raised:

Which word is more persuasive?

“I Think” (i.e. I think you should consider investing in my product)


“I Feel” (i.e. I feel you should consider investing in my product)

This is a really important question for presenters to consider, since we know that presentations are all about persuading an audience to take action on your message.

From first glance, you might think that the difference between the two words is TOO minimal to matter. However, the article goes on to share some of the research findings around the question, and shows that, depending on the audience, using one word versus the other DOES have a significant impact.

word choice has influence when it comes to presentations

Yes, knowing whether you should use “I think” or “I feel” CAN give you some extra persuasive boost, when you need it for your presentation.

Here’s the CliffsNotes breakdown of the research findings:

  • People who are more EMOTIONAL are persuaded by using the word “feel”.
  • People who are more COGNITIVE are more persuaded by using the word “think”.
  • There is a GENDER DIFFERENCE when it comes to “think” vs “feel”. In the research, women were more persuaded by ads that touched on “feeling”, while men were more persuaded by ads that talked about “thinking”.

So what does this mean for your next presentation?

#1 Know whether you are speaking to a male or female group: The data shows that when talking to women you should be using the “I feel” message, and when talking to men you should be using “I think” type messaging. This may seem like a broad generalization, but that is what the data suggests. So, it is worth at least testing in your next presentation.

#2 Know your type of audience: If you think the audience you are presenting to are a bunch of “feelers” then make sure you use more of that type of messaging, and vice versa if you think the audience is comprised with mostly “thinkers”.

So here’s my question for YOU …

Are you, by default, a “Thinker” or “Feeler”?

After reading this article, do you believe you’ll be more conscious about whether you use think or feel going forward in your future presentations? Leave a comment and let me know.

Also, do you know someone who will find this research just as interesting as you?

Take a second and share it with them.

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