Kristi Hedges is a leadership coach specializing in executive communication. You may have read one of her articles in “Forbes” or encountered her other book, The Power of Presence. Her extensive research and survey into what inspires people was fascinating. I recently asked Kristi about her latest work on inspiration in the workplace.
“When we highlight potential, we boost confidence.” -Kristi Hedges
Tell me more about the four factors that enhance our inspirational effect, what you call the Inspire Path.
The Inspire Path puts a structure to the research I found that uncovers what communication behaviors inspire others. It’s a guide to increase inspirational impact. While we can’t force someone to be inspired—and if we try to push, it backfires—we can create the conditions that foster inspiration. People are most often inspired through certain types of conversation with others. If we want be more inspiring, we should focus on being:
“What we concentrate on gets stronger.” -Kristi Hedges
Actors, sports figures, musicians, and even a former United States President have been doused in ice-cold water in recent days. If you haven’t witnessed this, you may be enjoying a summer on a remote island with no connection to any media. For those of us who have watched this phenomenon take off, we may ask what lessons we can all learn from it all.
Why did this take off? What is it about this campaign that made people act?
The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is for a meaningful purpose: to raise money to find a cure for a devastating and fatal disease called amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or Lou Gehrig’s disease. The financial results are stunning. If the challenge were not tied directly to a bigger purpose, it would have failed. Not many people would participate without an important cause. It’s hard to turn down a challenge with a purpose.
“An idea spreads faster when purpose is married to challenge.” -Skip Prichard
Technology has changed everything. It’s easy to record a video, upload it to a social media account, and see what happens. The video brings multiple senses and emotions into play. We can see our friends’ reaction to the water; we can almost feel the cold of the ice; we hear the laughter in the background. It’s a powerful multi-sensory appeal. When you add the emotional appeal of the cause, the call to action becomes almost irresistible.
“An idea spreads faster when more senses are involved in the call to action.” -Skip Prichard
The challenge has a uniquely personal appeal. One person challenges others to join in. Instead of merely forwarding an email or sharing something on social media, it demands participation. That’s where it becomes uniquely personal. If this challenge were a cookie-cutter replication, it would not spread. It’s the personal spin that draws us in. Bill Gates didn’t just have water thrown on him; he sat down and designed a better way to execute. The personality of each participant shines through.
“An idea spreads faster when personalized.” -Skip Prichard