‘Why’ not ‘how’
During one of our PowerPitch training days, a young man described his research work on the capabilities of bamboo.
His knowledge of its attributes was vast. The outline of his ‘how’, his study methods and protocols, was meticulous.
But the purpose for his research, how ‘why’ — the Eureka moment we hoped would reward him and the world for his painstaking study — remained a mystery to us.
The more he spoke about his method, the less we understood. So we kept asking him why it mattered.
Finally, he told us a personal story. He revealed his deep distress about the millions of tonnes of toxic plastic waste in landfill from vehicle interiors.
He explained if he could prove his thesis that bamboo was shatterproof, it had astonishing potential for the transport industry to replace petro-chemical derivatives as the primary material for vehicle interiors.
It was a light bulb moment. He saw how he could explain the impact of his research through ‘why not how’, and this personal and purpose driven story.
So much bigger than the properties of bamboo and ‘how’ he was researching them, his ‘why’ as a quest to rid the world of unnecessary plastic waste made for a much more compelling pitch. Who would not want to get behind it?
What’s your why? How could you shift your personal story from how to why to more powerfully articulate it to engage, connect and boost recall of your key messages?