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Start with WHY
Written By: Sandy Bjorgen, IMPROV-able Results ~ 6/8/2023



In marketing, business people communicate what their organizations do/provide and often how they do it. Unfortunately, they tend to leave out the WHY. The WHY is the reason for coming into existence in the first place. It’s what will make you stand out as remarkable and visible to people who care (your target audience). You won’t differentiate yourself by saying things like, “We provide this and this and we do it better, faster, cheaper, etc.” You do it by sharing the WHY: the purpose, cause, belief – the passion - that set all this in motion.

What is your cause? Who can identify with it? Who believes in it? Who gets excited about it? These are the people that need to hear from you. When you talk about your WHY, you attract the people who share your passion and beliefs.

Here’s an example – my WHY:

Speaking up in class, in meetings, at social gatherings, before an audience …. used to be painful for me. Over time, I learned ways to creep out of my shell. I learned that I was not the only one suffering from self-imposed isolation due to fear of interacting with others. I believe that people suffering from stage fright and social anxiety can learn to survive these situations, to actually thrive in them, to enjoy being heard and navigating the uncertainties of communication. I love seeing them surprise themselves with their courage and capabilities. This is WHY I now train people to think and speak under pressure before an audience, on camera, and one-to-one.

To shed more light on this approach, try an experiment. Next time someone tells you what they do and how, ask WHY they do it. If you get answers like this, you need to dig further: “I discovered I have a talent for this.” “I saw a need.” “I love helping people.” “I can make a lot of money.” This tells you nothing inspiring. Ask them to be more specific: what about this business hooked them and keeps them hooked. If they don’t sound excited about this, they just might be in the wrong job. Or maybe they’ve forgotten why they got into it in the first place.

In one of my workshops, a young woman stood and delivered a very canned elevator pitch. After she sat back down, I asked her what else she would have shared if she’d had more time in the spotlight. More canned responses. She sounded like a typical boring advertisement. Then I had an idea. I asked her why she’d initially started her business. She paused and started to tear up. Then she shared an emotional story about how much, at one point in her life, she’d needed a service like hers but no help was available. Bingo. Her story, her WHY. That’s where the juice was. The thing that made her remarkable.

Figure out your WHY and start sharing it. If it’s difficult to uncover, ask someone to help you. Someone who keeps asking you the right questions until you find it or remember it. Until you’re forced to set aside the features you get preoccupied with - and discover the benefits you offer – because you know what it feels like to need them.

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Sandy Bjorgen
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