Dietmar Dahmen: “Why your event needs big emotions to get big results.”

04. January 2021 – Mandy Weinand

Dietmar Dahmen rocks. There is no one who shoots information and emotions into the brain so skilfully like Dietmar Dahmen. He is the king of transformation, a stage rock star, motivator, innovator and change lover.His stage performance burns itself into the minds of the audience, he knows how to convey knowledge with show interludes. We interviewed Dietmar Dahmen to find out why he does this in his own special way.

“Why your event needs big emotions to get big results.”

Premium Speakers: Mr. Dahmen, you are truly a rock star on stage, and understand like no other, how to combine information and emotion to move your audience. With the abundance of already fascinating knowledge that you convey, why do you find emotion so important?

Dietmar Dahmen: Knowledge leads to conclusions: “ one should do this and don’t do that”. This fills the audience with great intentions, with one problem: they might never act upon them.

That’s where emotions come in! Emotions leads to action. Emotions are the spark that lights the audiences’ fire and transforms intention to bold action. The BAMM moments that I build into my talks, inspire the audience to ACT. It helps to kill overthinking, or “ANALYSIS PARALYSIS”, as I call it.

PS: Fascinating. You are on stage all over the world. Do you see differences between the countries?

DD: Definitely. Generally speaking, Europeans are often world-champions in KNOWLEDGE ACCUMULATION. But when it comes to action and implementation, the US and China are ahead of us. They are world-champions of jumping into ACTION. Europeans need to move past over-thinking ideas and see pleasure in the implementation of new tools, ideas and methods.

There are, of course, unique cultural differences between individual countries and companies as well. I adapt every keynote as precisely as possible to these differences.

PS: Sounds good. Can you tell us more on how do you go about doing this?

DD: The trick is in perfect mix of macro and micro messaging. I forge the big emotions through emotionally very strong, often “archaic symbols” that transport my knowledge points not only into the minds, but also into the hearts of the audience.

PS: The flamethrower, the chainsaw, and the shark that you ride?

DD: Exactly. There are also more modest props that transport powerful imagery: a skull, a megaphone or a few red roses I might give out to the audience. What is IMPORTANT here, is that the IMAGE is SIMPLE. And often the simplest of images are archaic ones, like the skull, the shark, or even the verbal expressions I use, such as “Bamm! Bamm! Bamm!”

PS: And what about the micro messaging?

DD: The micro level is all about the emotional details. The imagery is more intimate. At a factory opening in Mexico, I once drank a whole (theater) bottle of local tequila, just to explain the benefits of the blockchain.

PS: Sounds memorable.

DD: Yes, the audience was emotionally pumped up by the fourth glass. Everyone knew the drink for ages, and could personally relate. Their hearts opened, and through this door I was able to push the “hard information” on the blockchain into their hearts – with EMOTION and INDIVIDUAL RELEVANCE. Otherwise, not everyone listens to such challenging topics.

PS: “Individual relevance” sounds like a great approach. But how do you manage that with an extremely heterogeneous audience, – for example, with global, virtual keynotes. Everyone is so different there.

DD: It is always about finding the COMMON GROUND. Commonalities create an emotional openness to a message. Virtual keynotes are a great way to establish the common ground, because everyone is sitting in front of a computer, everyone is “digitally isolated”.
Here, you need to create CONNECTING emotions to bring the decentralized audience together.

For a global customer in London, we sent a sealed envelope with “superhero masks” to each of the participants in advance. At one point during my keynote, everyone around the world was cued to open their envelope simultaneously. At that moment, the mask put a smile on everyone’s face and opened their hearts at the same time. This UNIFYED everyone- I, too, put on a superhero mask, and was then able to transport the knowledge-content (in this case, a new business strategy) with the emotion of feeling heroic. This would have been possible offline, as well, but came across especially strong at the virtual event.

PS: So, you use the emotion to make the knowledge more lasting to the audience, and because it is also more engaging, they are more willing to implement it.

DD: Precisely. “Knowing” and “acting” are two completely different things because the “knowledge part” of our brain is actually quite superficial, and does not go particularly deep. New knowledge is constantly being added, often changing or replacing the old knowledge. We all have to be knowledge-agile in order to constantly learn new things.

So now we have the new knowledge. And what do we do? In the worst case: Nothing. We continue as before. We are knowledge-agile, but action-conservative. We like to find reasons why “the new” does not apply to “our special case,” and why it is better “for us” to do everything just as before.

PS: And that has to do with emotions?

DD: Yes! Our emotions go much deeper. They are also much harder to change. They last a long time, and are not overridden with new emotions as often, compared to knowledge and information. Emotional experiences are more rare, they go deeper, and are longer-lasting. They are like the ballasts that protect the ship from capsizing. While ballasts stabilizes movement, it can also make us resist to change. Still, at their best, ballasts and emotions enable us to master the stormy waters of change and conquer new (business) territories.

PS: Does that also apply to topics such as the latest future trends, change, digitization, or sustainability?

DD: Certainly! Because all these topics influence our FUTURE ACTION! And because we tend to take the road that doesn’t take us out of our emotional comfort-zone, we need to WIDEN that emotional comfort zone.
That’s why a good keynote that calls for any new behavior or action has to be emotional. It must set emotional hooks and create individual relevance.

To get past mere intellectual intention and get real change, the call to action must tap into a power that lies deep within, and you can only get there with emotions.

PS: Thank you for the interview!

Would you like to find out more about stage rock star Dietmar Dahmen? Write to us:

Dietmar Dahmen

Rock Star on Stage - Disrupter, Gamechanger, Innovator & Motivator