What if you could get accurate and unbiased understanding about how people were reacting to your messages?  And what if you could then adjust those messages to ease people’s anxiety about a proposed change initiative?

Now you can.

In 2013, I spoke at the Association of Change Management Professionals Global Conference about how emotions are key in guiding people through change, and how wonderful it would be if people had “dials on their chest” to gauge their reactions.

My presentation was a guide on how to match emotion to the missing change pieces and what to reinforce based on emotional reactions. The problem was how to engage the person in conversation long enough – and to be smart enough – to determine what they were feeling.

Several new companies are now offering facial recognition technology (e.g., Emotient, Affectiva) to provide a measurement of attention, engagement, and emotions by analyzing videos of stakeholders as they experience presentations, marketing, or delivered messages.

With new computing power, large data sets and several years of development these companies have overcome real-world problems such as eyeglasses, facial hair, poor lighting, and consumer grade webcams. The level of accuracy is greater than 95 percent of primary emotions.

Using this exciting new technology for change efforts could provide a great leap forward in improving outcomes and reducing time and effort with stakeholders.

There are many possibilities:

  • Message testing to find the best way to influence stakeholders
  • Reactions to how a key executive delivers to their audience to provide coaching
  • Testing and adjusting message delivery to stakeholders
  • Culture neutral feedback to tailor message reactions around the world
  • Elimination of bias in written surveys

With the ability to gauge how our stakeholders really feel about what we are telling them will be invaluable to improving our efforts to implement change.

As the old adage goes…

“They may forget what you said — but they will never forget how you made them feel.”