The basic human emotions and how to use them in events (virtual and in-person)

You can spark emotions that drive business!

As we design the research study seeking to measure the impact of shared experiences on pipeline and revenue generation, we've learned so much about human emotions.... but what stood out to us most was that of the core human emotions, the majority of them are negative. Happiness, Sadness, Fear, Disgust, Anger, and Surprise were defined in the '70s as the six core human emotions.

Over the years, additional research has revealed that there are 8then 10, and now maybe even 27, but one thing's for sure, in this world of virtual events the ones that are activated the most are not positive ones. As we look at Zoom faces and review public survey results and then look at the list of 27 emotions... we can pick out the two that are evoked in most virtual events:

Admiration, Adoration, Aesthetic Appreciation, Amusement, Anxiety, Awe, Awkwardness, Boredom, Calmness, Confusion, Craving, Disgust, Empathetic pain, Entrancement, Envy, Excitement, Fear, Horror, Interest, Joy, Nostalgia, Romance, Sadness, Satisfaction, Sexual desire, Sympathy, and Triumph.

I see Boredom and maybe... if we're lucky... Interest. So there is plenty of opportunity to create an experience that will evoke one or more of the other 25 emotions to make your virtual experience stand out from the rest.

Just look at that list of emotions and imagine how you could capitalize on on them as you create the experience. For example, let's say you want to target evoking the feeling of Satisfaction. You know what I find satisfying? Popping bubble wrap. What if you create a pre-event experience kit with some incredible multi-colored bubble wrap? Then create a moment in your virtual event for everyone to not get an item from their experience kit, but to get THE BUBBLE WRAP from their kit and pop the bubbles!

Want to evoke a feeling of Envy? Arrange a virtual event experience of an exclusive private car collection. Jay Leno's garage perhaps? Or the Prince of Monaco's incredible collection? This shared experience that evokes an emotion is unique, fun, and creates a shared experience that your participants will remember... and even better: it's something they likely couldn't actually do in person.

At Haute Dokimazo, when we craft our virtual adventures and event experiences, we generally attempt to activate the feelings of Amusement, Awe, Excitement, Joy, and Nostalgia.

Our experiences create a shared experience and conversation that produce a sense of love, bonding, and well-being, releasing Oxytocin.

Our experiences create excitement, anticipation, and pay off with the reward of a mind-blowing experience, releasing Dopamine.

Our experiences create a sense of adventure, trying new things, building confidence and self-worth, releasing Serotonin.

We literally create happiness and belonging.

How do these emotions help you drive pipeline and revenue? And shared experience that evokes an emotional response creates a bond between those sharing it. The experience creates a memory and capitalizing on that memory creates a warm and fuzzy feeling that makes connection easier. Can we truly correlate it to business? We're working on that.

Experience Design in a virtual world

When it comes to designing event experiences, these concepts are not new. Tahira Endean dedicated an entire chapter to this concept in her book Intentional Event Design: Our Professional Opportunity.

In it, she states that "Many factors allow brains to be at their optimum performance, particularly over multiple days, often including early and late event. A key area where we can have an impact is in crafting appropriate environments and shared experiences." This concept is extremely important for virtual events, too. Creating the right environment for the right content, and evoking the right emotion to tie the experience to a memory is the secret sauce for success.

Connecting the emotions to business

But how much of that experience - or the memory of it - drives your event outcomes? Having the opportunity for a sales person to reach out and talk about the shared experience or to form a bond by having that experience together is a huge relationship moment. Permitting your sales team to be there when the emotions are felt and have that same WOW moment with your clients is a great connector. Hopefully you are creating a shared experience that drives your customers and prospects to a positive association with you and your brand.

When they are open to having an emotional connection to you, now you can leverage the positive emotions felt during the shared experience, and also use the traditional means of emotional marketing to drive prospects to a close. 100% of all purchases are either to avoid something negative or attain something positive. Selling a weight loss app? You are selling no longer being overweight AND/OR being in shape (it's up to you to determine your buyer's motivation). We love this fabulous chart from Martech Group highlighting which emotions generate the most intense feelings.

Now our next steps are studying how we connect those feelings to shared experiences and if we can draw real conclusions toward the generation of pipeline and deal acceleration. Meanwhile, we encourage you to run your own tests and share your results!

Join the Convo

Haute Dokimazo is embarking on a year-long research study to connect emotions evoked during a shared experience and their impact on pipeline and revenue generation. If you are a leader of a sales or marketing organization at a commercial or enterprise company, apply to be part of the program. Applications are being accepted for one more week.

If you are interested in being a program partner and gaining access to the research results, strategy sessions, and program insights, reach out to me at

In 2022, we hope to share our findings of 1) how much shared experiences impact pipeline and revenue generation, 2) which emotions need to be ignited/evoked to drive those results, and, 3) that profitable relationships are sparked by genuine connection created in this type of environment.

If you are a leader of a sales or marketing organization, apply to be part of the program!

Liz Lathan, CMP is co-founder and CEO of Haute Dokimazo,sparking profitable relationships anchored in genuine connection through rousing shared experiences and conversations. Explore the #HugLife community for event professionals and Convo, a new year-long program for marketing and sales executives. Subscribe to our Journal of Human-Centric Marketing to get weekly content.

Haute Dokimazo is part of Haute Companies, a family of companies that believe in human connection, from events to media (podcasts, videos, and more) to direct mail to swag to entertainment talent management to strategy session facilitation. Contact Liz at