If We Win- I Am In

If I ask you to envision a chair, what do you see?  How about an elephant?  Now, what do you see when I mention youth education program?

Here is my anxiety about trying to connect with individuals using features and benefits as the primary point of intersection.  Taking the elephant example, you may have pictured an adult elephant standing in a zoo enclosure.  For someone else they see a young juvenile running in the African savanna.  Another image may be of a purple elephant dancing.  Additional renditions might include an ivory tusk sitting on bookshelf in a study. How about the whole cartoon depiction of elephants?

Favorite cartoon elephant is?

  When you talk about a service or program as an introduction to your organization’s work, odds are high that the person listening has a very different picture in their mind than the one you are trying to articulate.  However, when we start by talking about what we believe, that brings a strong emotional response that offeres an authentic point of intersection.  It is not deceptive or misleading since belief is one that resonates powerfully for both parties.  Programs and services change over time.  They can easily inspire and disappoint at the same time.  Beliefs stay true if the actions you take to manifest them are consistent.

I would highly favor identifying a point of connection around a shared belief than feature.  Ask any sports team that builds a fan base while winning and then watched it crumble when they endures losing seasons.  The true believers continued to come to the games because the shared a connection that was not defined by a win-lose record.

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