Start of presentation: Always ask "Why?" first


Have you ever wondered how legendary speakers like Steve Jobs, Martin Luther King and Co. seemingly effortlessly managed to convince millions of people of something? The author and management consultant Simon Sinek is convinced: The art of inspiring people lies in one little word: "Why?"

Start with the "Why?"

"I have a dream" - words that touched thousands of people and made Martin Luther King one of the most famous speakers of all times. Steve Jobs also regularly managed to convince people of his ideas. Apple product launches under his direction were, after all, among the media happenings that attracted worldwide attention. But what do the two and numerous other famous speakers have in common?

British-American author and management consultant Simon Sinek explains the common ground behind the speakers' presentation technique as follows: "They all thought, acted and communicated in the same way - and this is completely opposite to what speakers usually do."

Think back to the last speech you might have heard at a sales meeting or in a customer meeting or even given yourself. Most of these presentations probably started off exactly the same way: with a presentation of what the company does. The problem is that most listeners already know what the company does - just like most people know what Apple does. The next stage is the question "How?" something is done. But most people also know about that. What few in the audience will know, however, is the "Why?". And this does not mean economic profit - but rather the reason, the idea and the fundamental belief behind what the company does.

The golden circle for successful presentations

Simon Sinek records this in a circle: On the outside is the "What?", followed by the "How?" and in the innermost circle is the "Why? Most speakers start with the outside, but really successful presenters start with the inside: the "Why".




An example: If Apple were to market its products like any other, a speech in the Apple Group would look something like this:

What: We make great computers
How: They're beautifully designed, simple to use, and user friendly
Want to buy one?

But instead Steve Jobs marketed his products as follows:

Why: Everything we do, we believe in challenging the status quo. We believe in thinking differently.
How: The way we challenge the status quo is by making our products beautifully designed, simple to use, and user friendly.
What: We just happen to make great computers.
Want to buy one?

And this is exactly the secret of a successful presentation: Because people don't buy what someone does, they buy why someone does it.

How decisions are made.

The whole thing can be explained with the structures of our brain. Because statements on the "what?" level correspond in the brain with the neo-cortex. The neo-cortex is responsible for our rational, analytical thoughts and for language. What really matters in a product presentation, the desire to buy something, is not triggered there. Because decisions are made in the limbic system. It is responsible for our feelings of trust and loyalty and for making decisions. When communication takes place from the outside to the inside, this influences knowledge and information, but not decisions.

Conclusion: Selling an idea - and not a product

Whoever talks about what he believes in will appeal to people who believe in exactly the same thing. So it is those presenters who start with "why", exactly those who have the ability to inspire others. And these people in turn inspire other people etc. - a chain reaction is created, which is only triggered by the little word "why". So it is worthwhile not only for you, but also for your listeners and all those beyond, to go into exactly this "why". The story behind the "why" is, so to speak, the key to convincing your listeners and establishing an idea in the long run.

The entire theory on the meaning of the word "why" by Simon Sinek can be looked up here.


Top Image: ©Adobe/Feng Yu
Bottom Image: ©Adobe/Fernando Batista