‘Why’ not ‘how’

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?

If you would like to find out, contact me for details of our latest  PowerComms training.

How stories inspire people to think, act and buy

How do stories inspire people?

What’s the record attendance for which event at the Melbourne Cricket Ground?

You might take a stab at 100,000 plus for an historic Australia versus England Test match, or a Carlton – Collingwood Grand Final. You wouldn’t be even close.

It’s still a Billy Graham preach-a-thon. Upwards of 130,000 people crammed Australia’s cathedral of sport to hear the master speaker tell his stories they wanted to be inspired by.

How do you inspire people to think, act, or buy? Do a Google search and at the top of the search is an article that starts with … ‘Let me tell you a story.’

SmartCompany says marketers’ most common complaint is ‘Why don’t prospects get what I’m saying?’

SmartCompany also says the biggest inhibitors to brilliant sales are dehumanizing jargon and statistics. Genuine storytelling has re-emerged from decades of silence as every business’s most effective and inspiring sales weapon.

Where attention is our rarest commodity, Forbes magazine reminds us that successful communication must have these six attributes: appeal, clarity, directness, stickiness, credibility, and transparency.

Hello great and inspiring storytelling.

Can’t do it?

When you were a child, you couldn’t swim, ride a bike, play an instrument, speak another language. Great storytelling’s a skill. You can learn it, and get to love it.

Uncovering your stories, and learning to share them with people who want to hear them is real and do-able, not warm and fuzzy.

Why you’re here, and what you stand for

When you know and love your story, others see you through a different lens. They learn who you are through the windows of your eyes. You spotlight your principles and values. Your beliefs announce themselves loud and proud. You show you’re a leader and you demonstrate all the hallmarks of trust – competency, capability, disclosure, transparency, and authenticity.

You need a little courage to begin, just as you did getting on that bike, or jumping into that pool. And it’s never too late to line up your essential ducks — purpose, principles, people, product and positioning — and get them flying in unison so you can tell stories that inspire.

Becoming a good storyteller is a reward in itself. The bonus is it demonstrates leadership and gets your message across. Great stories make people listen, remember, and act.

If you would like to learn how stories inspire people, you can book the next PowerPacked Stories workshop here.  Or how to use story powerfully in your pitch, check out our next city-based workshops here.