Creating inspiration, part 2: make it relevant to your audience

An audience listening very carefully

In this time of change, your ability to create inspiration will draw people to you, motivate them to stay, and encourage them to create better results.

There is no fixed template for how you do this — but just as every great piece of music is formed from the same basic notes, so every great vision is formed from the same basic building blocks.

The second of these blocks is to make your vision relevant to your audience.

This is partly about speaking in language they understand, and partly about appealing to principles they believe in.

But if you truly want to create motivation and inspiration, it is also about creating something deeper. Because as Henry Ford put it:

“Nobody at work is apathetic except those who are in pursuit of someone else’s objective.”

This building block is not simply about getting your audience to buy-in to your objective, it’s about showing them that they have an objective which happens to align with yours.

You can achieve this by empathising with your audience, both rationally and emotionally:

  • What are they thinking about?
  • What are they feeling?
  • What are their hopes, fears, and priorities?
  • Do they want a challenge? Do they want to feel heroic? Or do they simply want to feel safe?

Once you know the answers to these questions there will then be several ways you could inspire your people.

You could copy Martin Luther King and paint a picture of the better world you want to create:

“I have a dream…, I have a dream…, I have a dream…”

Or you could copy Winston Churchill and describe a world filled with endless struggle:

“We shall fight them…, we shall fight them…, we shall fight them… We shall never surrender.”

On the surface these seem to be opposite messages — but they both inspired their audiences at the time because they both communicated the emotional messages their audiences were were longing to hear.

When you talk to the people who matter in your life, do you tailor your message to make it relevant for each audience? Do you engage with them both emotionally and rationally? If you changed your approach, would you get better results?

Adapted from Inner Leadership: a framework and tools for building inspiration in times of change.

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Photo By The U.S. National Archives via

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