What advisers can learn from Greta Thunberg

Vanessa Stoykov,  creator,  No More Practice

It’s been a fascinating couple of weeks since 15-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg delivered her passionate address to the UN about climate change.

Her words have roused a movement and an energy around the entire globe. And she pulled no punches:

“My message is that we'll be watching you. This is all wrong. I shouldn't be up here. I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean. Yet you all come to us young people for hope. How dare you!”

“You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words. And yet I'm one of the lucky ones. People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction, and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth. How dare you!”

No matter how you feel about that speech, or the delivery of it, everybody would have to agree that it has sparked a bigger, more urgent focus from people from all walks of life who simply want our governments to do better at climate change solutions.

In other words, there is no stopping a message whose time has come.

Delivered by a teenager, this message flew around the globe in hours. I was in London at the time, and all people were talking about in any meeting I was in that day was her speech. And how it made them feel.

So we get to an interesting inflection point. Are all great messages designed to make people feel first, and think second? I tend to lean toward thinking this is true. Which is why those in financial advice have double the job to do – firstly, to convince people the value of paying for advice, and secondly, to help them overcome feelings of mistrust and skepticism created by findings of the Royal Commission and continued negative press.

While we in finance are great at the thinking stuff, the feeling side of things has been left relatively unexplored. Left to bank advertisements to try and make us feel something about financial organisations we are aligned to. But if we don't tap into how to make people feel good about dealing with us – or at least feel worried enough about what will happen if they don't, then we are not going to get the message through.

It’s never been more imperative for Australians to receive quality financial advice. Large inheritances from the biggest intergenerational wealth transfer in our nation’s history is one huge reason alone that people need to take advice now.

So start thinking about your messaging. Is it harnessing enough emotion in its call to action? Are you going to rouse people’s feelings?

If not, think again. Because if there’s one thing we have learned from Greta, it is that appealing to people’s feelings is what really sends a message to the people.

Until next time,


The opinions expressed in this content are those of the author shown, and do not necessarily represent those of No More Practice Education Pty Ltd or its related entities. All content is intended for a professional financial adviser audience only and does not constitute financial advice. To view our full terms and conditions, click here.

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