The power of emotional generators in the written document.

Essentially, emotional generators cause states to be triggered in ourselves and others. The generator may be a word, an action or an attitude. The consequent emotion can be positive or negative. As you might imagine negative emotions will raise barriers to your message while positive emotions will generate enthusiasm and support for what you are communicating.

When we talk with someone, we have the instantaneous feedback of micro expressions to let us know if we’ve lost their attention or generated a negative and therefore destructive (in terms of their acceptance of your message) emotion. This feedback allows us to modify our language and, or approach to try to recover their attention or make their mood less negative. 

In the written document we do not have that luxury. If something we write, especially in a bid response, generates a negative emotion we will not know. The reader’s eyes will continue through the document but their conscious brain will be bouncing around the whys and wherefores of the assumed insult. By the time their consciousness returns to reading your document their eyes have moved on and may be a page or more in front. If this missed text includes an important message or a positive state you want to promote, you’ve lost the impact.

In reviewing documents such as bid responses, proposals or strategies, we look for a word, a claim, a lazy assumption, implied attitude or self important waffle*. We also look for questions with multiple sections as more often than not the response author remembers the question for the most significant part and can pay less or no attention to other parts of the question again potentially generating negative states. 

In terms of bid responses, frustrations and therefore negative emotions can be nearer the surface as the typical evaluator has to read the answers from multiple bidders. If yours is the bid response that makes the evaluator’s life easier they may feel warmer towards you and your answers. They certainly won’t feel more negative.


*Self important waffle is a term we use for text that makes the writer feel good but makes the evaluator’s job harder in that they have to firstly find the answer to each part of the question and secondly try to establish if the writer has provided evidence to support any claims.

The Unnecessary Bidding Overhead - in 30 seconds