Thursday, June 3, 2010

Sinek on Why

Simon Sinek presented a very good TED talk that I that I learned about from a useful site, Presentation Zen. Sinek's premise, which he's published as Start with Why, seems incredibly simple, yet it quite ignored by many speakers. Sinek argues that to persuade people you have to let them know "why" before going on to "what" or "how". Sinek calls upon contemporary brain research to argue that we begin with motives arising out of the emotional part of the brain. When we reflect upon this, it's really old hat dressed up anew: Aristotle emphasized the trio of logos (reasoning, logic), ethos (the trustworthiness of the speaker), and pathos (emotions). Those who persuade effectively have always known this insight, at least intuitively. Sinek, however, does us a favor by reminding us mortals that we cannot take the importance of placing the emotional grounds up front as given. Sinek agrees with the premise of the book Switch, which I'm now reading, that uses the metaphor of the elephant and the rider; the elephant is the emotional drive, the rider the rational decision-maker. Both have to work in tandem to complete a change or switch. Sinek's take away line: MLK didn't give the "I have a plan" speech; he gave the "I have a dream speech." So true! This book will go onto my list to read.

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