Everyone Communicates, Few Connect: The Inspiration Equation (3)


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 third segment, John Maxwell discusses the third element, “What They Feel.”

C.  What People Need To Feel

Although the first two elements listed above, namely, making sure people know what they need to know and see what they need to see, are important elements for inspiring others, John Maxwell feels that the third element, making people feel what they need to feel, is the most important element.    The following are the three ingredients for this element.

1.  People Need to Feel Your Passion for the Subject and Them

Vision is the creation in the mind’s eye of the goal, but passion is the fuel which gets you there.

Do see if you have passion for your subject and your audience, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I believe what I say?
  • Has it changed me?
  • Do I believe it will help others?
  • Have I seen it change others?

If you can answer “yes” to these questions, you have the passion for your subject that you can transmit to your audience.   Just remember the saying by the Roman philosopher Plutarch who once said about the education of a child that “a child’s mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled.”    Just go into your presentation with expectation that the audience is thinking the same thought as that of another modern philosopher, Jim Morrison of the Doors, who famously intoned, “C’mon, baby, light my fire!”

2.  People Need To Feel Your Confidence in Yourself and Them

People need to be able to say yes to the following questions with regard to your presentation, especially those where you ask the audience to take some action:

  • Was is worth it?
  • Can I do it?

One of the most confidence-inducing presidents in American history was President Franklin Roosevelt, about whom Labor Secretary Francis Perkins once said that he made her feel better after talking with her, “not because he had solved any problems, but because he had made me feel more cheerful, stronger, and more determined.”

You can gain a sense of natural confidence if you approach communication the right way.

3.  People Need to Feel Your Gratitude for Them

John Maxwell feels that gratitude is probably the most neglected and least expressed of all the virtues.   When you are grateful for something, you see it as a gift.   When you see a gift, your eyes are open, you see the object for the first time, and you take in everything, from the packaging, to the colors, shape and form of the gift itself.    But the object is also bathed in the warm emotion of gratitude not just for the object, but for the person who gave it to you.

In a similar way, you need to be grateful for audience so that you do not take them for granted, but see them as if for the first time.   In this way, you could give the same speech 100 times and yet have it be as fresh and new as the first time, because you are giving it for the first time to this audience.

Even those things that go wrong teach you valuable lessons which improve you as a speaker so you should not anticipate problems, but when they do happen, deal with, move on, and look at them in the rearview mirror with a wave, a smile, and a “thank you” for making you a better person.

Now the next post is going to be the culmination of the ninth chapter, and it is the culmination of the Inspiration Equation which answers the question “What happens when you put all three elements together?”

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