Getting Support Is About Finding The Right Story

For the first five years or so of my career, I used to think data was a silver bullet.

If I had data and examples that proved the value of community, I’d bring people around.

Turns out data is better at convincing people rather than persuading them (and if they don’t like what the data says they simply find ways to ignore it anyway).

You need to find the right story that matches their current worldview.

Some people need a story of fear. “If someone else does this before you, you’re going to lose out”

Some people need a story of ego. “This is what the best people in the world do”

Some people need a story of change. “This is what the future of the field looks like”

Some people need a story of ego. “Imagine how great it would be to be standing on stage presenting this to the world”

Some people need a story of togetherness. “We can create this amazing thing together…”

Some people need an underdog story. “They don’t think we can do this…”

Some people need a story of pride: “We do this better than any of our rivals, let’s not ruin that”

Some people need a story of love. “If we truly care about them, we should do this”

Your story has to be believable. It has to be visual. You should come equipped with examples and data. Most of all, it has to be the right story. And the secret to finding the right story is to build a strong enough relationship with someone (by asking questions and listening) to know what emotions really drive them.

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