Start with who

Imagine you are the proud owner of a tennis ball (high stakes I know) and are trying to convince three different people why they need it.

One person is a tennis player. One is a fetch playing dog owner. One is a backyard cricket enthusiast.

How might you go about communicating the value of the tennis ball to each person?

One approach is to use the same spiel to all three. Something like: “this is a great tennis ball, with many different uses.” This is the most common trap in trying to enrol others in change.

A more effective approach starts by understanding the who. Ask yourself: what is important to this particular individual? How might I communicate in a way that will resonate with them?

For the tennis player it might sound like: “this ball is the perfect way for you to practice your forehand ahead of the tournament on the weekend.”

For the dog owner: “use this ball for fetch and provide endless hours of entertainment for you and your dog, without needing an annoying giant stick.”

The backyard cricket enthusiast: “simply tape half of this ball and you’ll bowl like a champion the next time you play backyard cricket.”

When trying to enrol others in change, start with who. Put yourself in their shoes and get curious about the most effective way to communicate to them.