How is important but don’t forget why


I did a presentation last night for some of my business partners and their guests. The objective was to get the guests to either invest in our business directly or provide referrals to our partners.

I talked about the history of our company, the value of our services, and the size of our market.

Lots of facts and figures. Very compelling, if I do say so myself.

But in order to get the ball over the goal line, I made sure I also told them why.

Why the facts I recited are important. Why I got involved, and why they should, too.

I did this by telling stories about some of our partners, their backgrounds and motivation, and also my own. I showed them what motivated us. Facts are static and lifeless. Stories have people in them and everyone wants to know “what happened next”.

Whenever you want to persuade people to act, tell them why. What’s in it for them? What will they get if they do? What might they lose if they don’t?

On your web site, tell people why they should opt-in to your newsletter. What’s the benefit? What do they get? Why will they be better off as a result?

In your demand letters, tell them why they should say yes. Why is it in their best interest? What might happen if they refuse?

In your oral arguments, explain why something was said or done. Tell the judge why he should accept your version. Tell him why he should grant your request.

You may have the weight of evidence in your favor, but it’s your job to interpret that evidence and tell people why it matters. Don’t assume they will know. It’s not always obvious. And even if it is obvious and even if they do know, tell them anyway. Tell them stories that reach beyond their intellect and pluck the heart strings of their emotions.

How is important but don’t forget to tell them why.



  1. Hi David: Now that was a great piece of information that I will use at a similar gathering tomorrow night. Nice when the information appears just when it’s needed! Thanks, Paul