Identify The Why

Organizations spend roughly 15% of their time in meetings, 71% of which are considered unproductive.

If you want listeners to willingly act on what you say, begin with their "why" in mind.

How many times have you heard a facilitator start off a meeting by saying “We are here to talk about…”

It’s in that moment the speaker invites listeners to check out. You already know what the purpose of the meeting is, you accepted the invitation, after all!

Nevertheless, we are all guilty of doing it. When we speak with others, we tend to focus more on the ‘what’ than the ‘why’ and then wonder why attendees glance at their smart phone or start checking emails.

When listeners check out, the ‘what’ isn’t the problem, because there is no such thing as a boring topic, only a boring communicator.

The ‘what’ only implies the desired end state or outcome, but it fails to create the motivation needed to get there.

Your message will only gain traction if you let your listeners know the value and benefit they’ll receive.

For example, consider these two statements and then ask yourself which is more likely to influence you to act:

“We are meeting today to discuss how we can save money by cutting 10% from our budget.”


“Giving our employees a larger raise this year ensures we retain top talent. Let’s brainstorm how we can financially reward our workforce.”

I hope you’re thinking the 2nd example…because you’re right!

Next time you host a meeting, consider your listener’s ‘why.’

‘Why’ do they care?

‘Why’ is this conversation happening now? Why does this topic or message impact them?

Only then will you accomplish ‘what’ you came to achieve which I’m guessing is to influence action.

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