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Connectors Inspire People

By John C. Maxwell | November 2, 2009
Connectors Inspire People

Chapter 9 Synopsis

Connectors Inspire People

When someone begins to communicate with others, the first thing listeners do is start asking questions at a subconscious level. They want to know what’s in it for them. They want to know if the speaker is credible. But they also care about how the person communicates with them.

As I have watched effective communicators inspire people, I have come to the conclusion that there is a kind of formula, which I call the Inspiration Equation, which comes into play. It works like this:

What They Know + What They See + What They Feel = Inspiration

Do people know that you care? That you understand them? Can they see that you are credible? That you live what you say? Can they feel your passion for your message and your confidence in yourself and them? When a communicator is able to bring all three factors into alignment, it creates a synergy that inspires people. And from that place of inspiration, you can often lead people to take action.

Norm Lawson tells the story of a rabbi and a soap maker who went for a walk together. The soap maker said, “What good is religion? Look at all the trouble and misery of the world! Still there, even after years—thousands of years—of teaching about goodness and truth and peace. Still there, after all the prayers and sermons and teachings. If religion is good and true, why should this be?”

The rabbi said nothing. They continued walking until he noticed a child playing in the gutter.

Then the rabbi said, “Look at that child. You say that soap makes people clean, but see the dirt on that youngster. Of what good is soap? With all the soap in the world, over all these years, the child is still filthy. I wonder how effective soap is, after all!”

The soap maker protested, “But, Rabbi, soap cannot do any good unless it is used!”

“Exactly,” replied the rabbi.

According to some scholars, there hasn’t always been such a divide between understanding and action. One linguist says that in up to twenty primitive languages, the words for “hearing” and “doing” are the same word. Only in our modern context have we divided them.

Actor Will Smith once said, “The way I like to measure greatness is: How many people do you affect? In your time on earth, how many people can you affect? How many people can you make want to be better? Or how many people can you inspire?” In the end, what good is our communication if its impact ends the moment we stop speaking? The true test of inspiration isn’t people’s applause; it’s their actions. That’s what makes a difference.

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