- “You should follow me.”
- “You should do what I tell you to do.”
- “You should buy my company’s product.”
- “You should care about my cause.”
- “You should read my book.”
My immediate response is, “Why?”
I’m busy. I have a business to run, friends to spend time with, and other things to do. Why should I drop what I’m doing and listen to you? Why should I abandon my previous opinion and adopt yours? Why should I do anything that you tell me to do? Why should I care?
Does That Make me Mean?
No. I’m not alone in this attitude. When you saw the title for this post, you subconsciously asked yourself why you should click the link. When you read the opening lines, you asked yourself why you should continue.
Even as you come to this sentence, you’re asking yourself why you should care.
If the text doesn’t compel you forward, then I lose you. The coming paragraph could be the most important thought that I will ever convey to you. Sadly, you’ll never read it if I haven’t successfully navigated your series of “whys.”
Answer the Question
As a writer, the question I face with each and every sentence is, “why should they keep reading?” As a marketer, the question I face with each promotion is, “why should they ask to learn more about my services?” As a leader, the question I face with every communication is, “why should they be moved by what I am saying?”
The question of “why?” is truly a question of relevance. We’re all busy. We’re all over-communicated. We’re all tired of people trying to drag us this way and that. By asking why, we activate our natural defense mechanism.
That mechanism is a filter that stops us from becoming fatally overwhelmed.
Lead; Don’t Lie
Your only chance to lead effectively is to make it through the filter; to be relevant. Note: I’m not suggesting you alter your vision or your passion for the sake of winning influence. In no way should you alter the truth of your cause, or your mission, or your product.
That would be deceitful and manipulative leadership. Bad juju.
What we must do is learn to cast our vision in a way that makes sense to whoever we are trying to lead. We’ve got to communicate our intentions in a way that naturally answers the question, “why?” It is only then that we can truly start to influence others.
Have you ever wondered why a leader asked you to do something?