By Jane Thurlow, Ethicore Associate
We are emotional beings, with studies suggesting that only 10%of our decisions are rational. Understanding influence becomes key to tapping in to the motivations of our target stakeholders and decision makers.
Asking someone straight, what drives or influences you, won’t necessarily give you the answer as we find it really difficult to assess how we make decisions. We tend to ‘post-rationalise’ a decision which has in fact been made in an emotional and intuitive way, making it difficult to get to the bottom of what’s driving a person’s decisions. So what does this mean for generating insight into emotional decision making? There are some research tools and techniques which you can use to develop a deeper, more emotional insight:
1.Reframe questions to encourage ‘in the moment’ thinking: e.g. ask a stakeholder to describe how they experienced a meeting, a process, a decision or a relationship; ask them how they feel about an issue, not what they’re going to do about it.
2.Talk to decision makers together: ask them to describe their drivers and decisions: look for divergence and agreement in their narratives to identify truths.
3.Observe what people do: use net-nography and diares if appropriate and digital observation of behaviour and interests: what are they doing and talking about online?
4.Triangulate different sources of insight: desk research, qualitative research, surveys and observation: the truth will be closer where these sources overlap.
If you are interested in the psychology of decision making, Watch this video to find out more about system 1 (emotional) and system 2 (considered) thinking and how this affects the decisions we all make. 
Understanding emotional decision making better is the key to developing better influencing strategies. With that deep insight and understanding, one can unlock those emotional drivers to build successful engagement. More on that another time …
Jane has over 20 years experience working in research, strategy, innovation and marketing in the commercial and charity sectors. She enjoys informing thinking and decision making, highlighting the strategic choices that an organisation needs to make.
 Daniel Kahneman, Thinking Fast and Slow, Penguin Books 2011