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Monday 16 July 2007

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caption to describe a photo.

As communicators inhabiting a cynical world, we need to understand and address the nature of ambivalence.

Researchers have long understood that ambivalence results from conflicting positive and negative views on a subject, a service or a product.

What new research from marketing and psychology professors from three US business schools has shown is that the mere anticipation that conflicting evidence exists also produces this conflict and results in ambivalence.

They are saying that even if we ourselves don’t have negative attitudes towards something, we increasingly accept that there must inevitably be another side to the story.

This results in ambivalence and indecision.

Interestingly, this behaviour is confined to educated, “thinking” people. And these people are our targets for professional service and community communications.

So how do we best communicate to avoid ambivalence based on real or imagined conflicting views?

At the very least, we should canvass all sides of an argument or position.  We need to admit that the position we are prosecuting is not the only possible view. But we need to demonstrate that our position is the best of a range of competing views.

But how can we do this in an environment of increasing “noise” and shrinking attention spans?

We need to keep it simple and effective but, at the same time, address the issues.

Like all things, it’s all about balance.


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