Simon Sinek’s “Start With Why” doesn’t just apply to brand and product marketing. Starting with “why” captures the attention of my audience when I present research.
I start each of my reports with a background slide. The background slide talks about “why” the research study was originally commissioned – its main objectives. But I’m not talking about this “why”. I’m talking about “why” there’s a user research team in the first place. What value does the company get from us in exchange for paying us? Well, we talk with users and make recommendations, intended to improve the product, based on this user feedback.
So now I start my presentations with something like:
“Product X is being launched in September. UX Designers sent us a prototype, we showed this prototype to users and got their feedback on it. The goal is to improve Product X based on this user feedback before its launch.”
First, stating the obvious humbles me in front of my audience. I’m no longer tempted to inflate my contribution with smoke and mirrors. Everything is on the table and, if the higher-ups don’t see the value in my “why”, then being let-go would make life easier.
Second, starting with why, primes the audience to listen and engage. Whenever someone jumps straight into details, for the first several minutes, I ask myself: “Ya and how does this apply to me.” Facts in isolation mean nothing to me, and if I can’t connect them with my “why”, then it’s impossible to effectively listen.
Finally, starting with “why”, gets me in presentation-mode. It retests my conviction in what I’m about to say, and what I do for a living. Afterall, conviction, and belief, in what one is saying overcomes any amount of fear of public speaking.