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Need Funding? Laugh, Get Angry and Show Fear

It's not that you should fling yourself on the ground and start crying when you are looking for funding but a new study says that entrepreneurs who express emotion do better when investors are considering them for loans.


According to a new study, newswise.com says that those who used a variety of three emotional expressions--happiness, anger and fear--had the most #fundraising success.


"Despite perceptions that entrepreneurs should always be positive about their ventures, a study led by a Washington State University researcher found that entrepreneurs whose facial expressions moved through a mix of happiness, anger and fear during funding pitches were more successful.," the site reports.


"Our findings show that there's a role for different emotions in pitches," the site quotes Ben Warnick, WSU assistant professor in WSU's Carson College of Business and lead author on the study. "For example, an angry facial expression can convey how much you care about something, instead of just smiling, which on the extreme end can come off as insincere or overoptimistic. It's good to balance that out. There are different reasons for using different expressions."


While previous research--and advice for entrepreneurs--has focused on using happy or positive attitudes in pitches, Warnick and his co-authors looked at several additional emotions: happiness, anger, fear and sadness. Only showing sadness, quite noticeably, was not successful.


The first three emotions had the most fund-raising success, the study finds.


"In a qualitative analysis, the authors found that many successful entrepreneurs used different emotional expressions at different points in the pitch. For instance, many entrepreneurs would start their pitch in a happy way, introducing themselves and talking about how proud they are of their team," newswise notes.


"They would then use anger to talk about their determination or the problem they were trying to address. When the entrepreneurs talked about obstacles, the risk they were taking or need for resources, they would often use facial expressions conveying fear," the site points out.


In contrast, people who expressed very little emotion on their faces did not do well in garnering funds even if the words they were saying were compelling. Entrepreneurs who stuck to just one emotion also did not do as well.


Yet there were limits to the use of emotion in pitches, even if it was varied.


"There's a Goldilocks point where you can have too little or too much,"Warnick tells newswise. "Expressing happiness, anger and fear all promote funding up to a point. But if you express any one of these emotions too frequently, you're hurting your funding prospects."



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