Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Real Secret to Connecting with People

To connect with people, we pay attention to their needs and think how our value can help them meet their needs or solve their problems.

So it is always about them (our audience’s needs and problems), never about us.
Many people can gain from the value we create and the benefits we offer. So our success does not depend on any one particular member of the audience.

On the other hand, each member of the audience depends wholly on the value we create and the benefits we offer vis-à-vis their problem or need.

It’s like the story of the boy and the starfish.

One day, a boy and his friend were walking along a sandy beach. Many starfish washed up by the waves were strewn across the sandy beach, dying. The starfish desperately need to return to the sea quickly or they will die. The boy, seeing the dire situation of the starfish, bended over, picked up one starfish and threw it back into the sea. His friend asked: “Why did you do that? What difference would it make? There are so many starfish lying on the beach.” To this the boy replied as he picked up another starfish, flinging it back into the sea, “I made a world of difference to that one.”

So focus on seeing where people need help with their problems or needs, while we create value. Focus on how the values we create can benefit our audience and solve their problems, thus making a positive difference for each individual.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

It’s About Them, Never About You

To be able to persuade, you need to have a connection between you and your audience.

Imagine a connection to be like a rope. You are holding one end and your audience holding the other end. The rope will be taut when the audience is pulling it towards them. The rope will be slack when the audience is not pulling or if they let go of the rope. It is futile to try to keep the rope taut by pushing it towards the audience.

The audience will pull the rope towards them when they know that we create value and can offer benefits to them i.e. we can solve their problem or meet their need.

So to make a connection, our part is to create value and focus on how our value can benefit our audience i.e. solve their problem or meet their need. The audience’s part is to want the benefits we can offer because it can solve their problem or meet their need i.e. the motivation to pull the rope to keep the connection taut.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Follow your Heart

You have heard the phrases “Trust your gut”, “Listen to your heart”.

Most of us are conditioned to dismiss what our gut tells us, and would rather “use our head” to think logically and rationally instead.

We are conditioned to think that "using our head" is a sign of maturity. Only the feeble minded, let their heart and gut "mislead" them.

It may surprise you to learn that modern neuroscience has discovered that following our gut or our heart may not be so far fetched or frivolous after all. Neuroscience has validated what the ancients from across the world had understood all along. Neuroscience has confirmed that the ancients’ belief that the heart and gut have a mind of their own is not a misunderstanding of the human anatomy. Trusting in our heart and gut has basis in how the human mind works.

First, let me ask “Where is our brain”?

Many would say that our brain sits on top of our shoulder, inside our skull.

While it is true that our brain has the highest concentration of nerve cells in our body, nerves cells are spread throughout our body. Besides our head brain, our intestines and stomach, and our heart also have high concentrations of nerve cells. Like our head brain, our gut and heart are truly equipped to think and feel.

Neuroscientists estimate that the nerve cells concentrated in our gut have about the same capacity as a cat’s brain. Hence, our “gut feel” has basis in neuroscience.

In 2002, there was a case of a heart transplant recipient reporting a new found love of certain kinds of music and food, and the memory of certain places which he had never experienced before, prior to the transplant.

The heart transplant recipient’s new tastes remained a mystery until it was revealed that the heart donor was a music and food connoisseur and adventurer, and had loved those music, food and places reported by the transplant recipient.

It seemed that the loves and passions of the heart donor were stored in his heart and they were now transferred to the transplant recipient along with the donated heart.

So listen to your heart, it truly has a mind in its own right. Give your heart a voice in your decision making that it deserves, as your cognitive brain in your head is not the only seat of intelligence that you have.

Following your heart is not a sign of feeble mindedness. Indeed, it is a mark of true wisdom.