Everyone Communicates, Few Connect: The Inspiration Equation (1)


In this ninth chapter of his book Everyone Communicates, Few Connect, John Maxwell discusses the fourth set of principles for connecting, namely, that connectors inspire people.

The converse of this is also true, namely, that people who do not connect do not inspire, and in the worst case, they can even discourage others.

Now, this post will get into the meat of the chapter, which is what John Maxwell calls the Inspiration Equation, where he lists the elements you need to have in order to inspire your audience, namely:

  • What They Know
  • What They See
  • What They Feel

In this first segment, John Maxwell discusses

A.   What People Need to Know

Even Aristotle, one of the greatest Greek philosophers, recognized that in persuading an audience, the most important element was not having a set of facts or information, but rather pathos, the ability to connect with the feelings, desires, fears, and passions of their listeners.   There are two ways of letting people know that they trust you and should listen to you.

1.  People Need to Know That you Understand them and Are Focused on Them

Good speakers focus on their listener’s needs, not their own.

One of the most elegant definitions of a bore is by Ortega y Gasset:   “someone who deprives you of your solitude without providing companionship.”    In other words, it’s all about him (or her).    Connectors, on the other hand, help you to talk about yourself.

As you prepare to communicate to others, you must let them know you understand them and want to help them by asking these questions:

a.  What are they thinking?

Find out as much as you can about the people you are going to communicate with.

b.  What are they saying?

Listen not just to what people are saying, but how they are saying it, or even what they are not saying.

c.  What are they doing?

See what activities people are engaged in, and what body language they use when doing them.

2.   People Need To Know That you Have High Expectations of Them

If you believe the best in people, you will believe they can and want to change for the better.    With this belief, you can help people do amazing things.   Steve Jobs once said, “management is about persuading people to do things they do not want to do, while leadership is about inspiring people to do things they never thought they could.

When you  encourage people one-on-one, believe the best about them.  When you write a speech or the manuscript of a boo, imagine readers embracing what you have to say and becoming better people as a result.   People respond positively to enthusiasm, not skepticism.   Believe that people are waiting for someone to challenge, motivate, and encourage them to be all they can be, and then be that someone!

The next post will cover the second element of the inspiration equation, “What People Need to See.”

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