Want to inspire someone to do something new? Want them to hire you, buy something, follow your lead, become more earth-friendly?
Start by drawing a compelling vision of the future outcome.
Or as Simon Sinek says in this persuasive video, start with the WHY. Only then will people listen to the WHAT and HOW.
Sinek gives memorable examples of successful persuasion, from Martin Luther King, Jr., to the success of Apple. If these ideas are at all confusing, take a moment to watch this important video. And at least remember this:
[MLK] gave the ‘I have a dream’ speech, not the ‘I have a plan’ speech. ~Simon Sinek
How to Apply This “Start with WHY” Principle
Start with meaningful inspiration. That means you’ll focus on heart-centered passions and values. Most people try to talk first about the what and how (the left-brained, linear stuff). But people’s brains won’t pay enough attention to that unless you focus on WHY first.
For example, you’re at a networking event and you want to make a good connection with someone you’ve met. You can say what you do, briefly, but you better quickly get to the part about why you’re passionate about what you do and how it makes a difference. A good way to do this is by using a story.
Going for the meaningful part right away is what keeps them listening.
If you’re a leader of some kind (e.g., business owner, manager, change agent, activist), you will only be able to gain true followers if you keep this inspiration concept in mind.
If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.
– Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Wondering about your own purpose in life?
Check out my take on how people figure that out:
The Joy and Challenge of Finding Your Purpose.
Wondering how to apply these concepts in business or social change?
Using brain research about what motivates people, these bestselling books provide entertaining stories and concrete ways to apply these ideas in the world of work. In both books, you’ll see that defining the bigger purpose is a key factor for persuasion.
- Start with Why, by Simon Sinek
- Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard, by Chip & Dan Heath
- Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, by Daniel Pink
- Delivering Happiness: The Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose, by Tony Hsieh