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Updated: May 28, 2023

Generate Contagious Optimism

When people tell stories that others can relate to, a connection is created. A group’s culture is based on the stories members tell themselves. Positive stories about the challenges people have overcome promote a positive culture and positive behavior. The more a story spreads, the more people it influences. By going viral, a positive broadcaster can unlock his or her full potential.

Those who want their messages to go viral should pay attention to the following six elements:

1. Activate the Hidden 31. In a survey of more than 600 professionals, more than 31 percent said they were positive but not expressive of it at work. Instead of working to change the minds of those who are negative, positive broadcasters should focus their energies on getting these “hidden broadcasters” to spread their messages.

2. Raise the broadcaster’s status. People naturally want to be “in the know.” Positive broadcasters should share smart, unique stories with others so that those individuals can share them with their circles and build social capital.

3. Communicate high emotion. Studies have shown that stories with high and positive emotion are more likely to go viral. Even if it is bad news, if the story is framed in a positive way, people are more inspired to share it or take action.

4. Make it practical. For a story to go viral and be effective, it must be practical. The story must be something that benefits the audience in some way. For example, a positive broadcaster might share an article on ways to avoid toddler tantrums with friends who have young children.

5. Lower the activation. When a story is easy to share, it is shared more often. This can be done through catchy headlines or infographics.

6. Operationalize the message. It is important to repeat the message, get others involved, and spur action.

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