Have you ever heard of an Emotional Bid?
What you’re about to read could change every relationship you have for the better.
I know that’s a BIG promise — so bear with me.
If you apply this lesson, it will deepen and strengthen your connections with loved ones.
It can improve intimate relationships. Relationships with your kids. Relationships at work.
Nearly any relationship you have can be strengthened by understanding and applying what you’re about to hear.
And no doubt, by the end of this, we’ll find a way to turn you into a better marketer as a result, too.
In short, would you like…
— Better SEX?
— Better LOVE?
— Better MONEY?
If so, keep reading!
What’s an Emotional Bid?
No doubt you’ve made them. And you’ve also received them. Even if you’ve never had a name for them, they’re an everyday part of human experience.
Imagine, you’re sitting at the breakfast table with your loved one, and they point out the window. “Look, a cardinal! That’s such a pretty color of red,” they say.
In this moment, you have three choices:
- You can “turn towards” them, and accept and acknowledge what they’ve just said. Maybe look out the window and look at the bird for yourself. You’re not necessarily agreeing with them, but you’re seeing and hearing them.
- You can “turn away” from them, by largely ignoring what they’ve said, continuing to do whatever you were doing, or maybe interrupting with your own thoughts without acknowledging theirs.
- You can “turn against” them by acknowledging what they’re saying but immediately disagreeing or invalidating their experience, such as by saying, “That’s okay, but the cardinal I saw yesterday had an even more beautiful red.”
Emotional Bids and these “turning” reactions were defined and documented by world-renowned relationship researcher Dr. John Gottman.
And something as simple as how we react to someone else pointing out a bird outside the window is a profoundly powerful factor in the health of a relationship.
In fact, Dr. Gottman was able to predict with over 90% accuracy which couples would get divorced, based on watching how they responded to each other’s Emotional Bids when talking about mundane, everyday topics.
Here’s the secret…
Newlyweds who were still together six years after getting married had turned towards each other’s Emotional Bids an average of 86% of the time. Basically 6 out of 7 times one partner reached out to the other, they were accepted and acknowledged (again, even if they weren’t agreed with).
On the other hand, newlyweds who were divorced within six years after getting married had only turned towards each other’s emotional bids 33% of the time. That means 2 out of every 3 times, when one partner reached out to the other they were either ignored or immediately contradicted.
I was thinking about Emotional Bids last night…
Last night was the first night of my Improv II class. This is the next step from the improv class I took earlier this year.
And although I’ve done improv on roughly a monthly basis with at least some of the members of the class, we were all a little rusty. Plus there were new folks in the mix, and that of course changed the dynamic.
Well, with everybody being a little rusty, we ran into the occasional snag.
Nothing more obvious though than direct violations of the core rules of improv…
— Accept your scene partner’s contribution.
— Add information to move the scene forward.
— Be fully committed.
Now wait a second here…
Let’s go back to that red cardinal mentioned above.
Let’s say you reply to your partner, and you say, “Yes, that is a pretty cardinal. It reminds me of that time last year when we saw those cardinals on our trip to…” That’s accepting the first statement and contributing more to the conversation.
Is it good relationship? Is it good improv? YES! (And…)
On the other hand, you could turn away (in improv or relationships) and say, “NO! That’s not a cardinal. It’s a parrot!”
Okay, so that could be funny, played right, in improv.
But the point is when you meet someone’s initial contribution with immediate and direct resistance, it kills the scene.
Or there’s the hidden no, in the form of, “Yeah, but…”
“But” is a word that IMMEDIATELY INVALIDATES everything that came before it. And “yeah, but” is probably even more sinister than a direct “No,” simply because it’s hidden in this veil of agreement.
(Here’s our HUGE lesson for marketing: Be very careful with the word “but” and make sure you ONLY use it when you intend to invalidate what was just said. Such as when you’re acknowledging a claim of competing products. E.g. — “Oh, yes, their training videos are so well produced, you’d think they hired Hollywood directors. But our philosophy is that it doesn’t matter how well-produced the training is, if you don’t have the best instructors doing the training, you’re not going to get any real value out of it.”)
The secret of Emotional Bids…
… Is also the secret of improv.
Listen. Be present. Accept what the other person is bringing as their real and valid experience and contribution to this moment. Start your response from a position of acknowledgment of their experience as valid. And then contribute to the interaction — whether agreeing or disagreeing — in a way that honors the acceptance and acknowledgment. And do it all in a way where you’re fully committed to the greater context (of the scene or the relationship).
(Another business lesson: Imagine if you handled prospects’ objections in this way, with a layer of curiosity added in. “Oh, that’s too expensive? I definitely understand it’s not cheap. For context though, I’d like to know what about this you think is too expensive. Is it the payment amount? Are you not willing to pay more for this level of quality (or these features)? Is it the sticker price? Or is it something else?” Instead of fighting or you turning tail and running, this lets you have a real conversation!)
Here’s the thing…
While this is taught in Marriage and Family Therapy psychology, and while it’s taught in improv, this way of dealing with the world is RARE.
Some people are naturally better at it than others.
Some have better teachers or role models.
But most of us SUCK at it.
Which means everyone who you interact with has spent most of their life having others turn away from or turn against their emotional bids. And feeling lonely, isolated, and down as a result.
When you show up in their life and apply the lesson above, they’ll feel like a light is shining into the darkest, most neglected parts of their very being.
They will connect with you.
They’ll want more.
Whether they’re your lover or your friend… Whether they’re a colleague, a boss, or an employee… Whether they’re a prospect or a past client…
They will feel connected to you.
And that is incredibly powerful.
The longer you use this lesson, the more you’ll come to understand the fears, frustrations, and failures of those around you — as well as their dreams, desires, and sense of destiny for who they can become.
They won’t be able to describe it, yet they’ll feel naturally attracted to you, drawn to you.
They’ll feel like their best self comes out when you’re around.
And the more you honor and contribute to that, the more love, fulfillment, and success you’ll enjoy as a result.
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,
PS: The recording of last Friday’s Emotional Direct Response Copywriting webinar is now published and available for instant streaming at BTMSinsiders. If what you read above resonated — especially the bit about how we’ve all gone through most of our lives having others turn away from or against our emotional bids — I think you’ll find this training fascinating. The training is about helping your prospects make decisions that will help them lead better lives, acknowledging that this is where they’re coming from and this is their life experience. I think it’s quite powerful. I hope you agree.