If you want to motivate others into action – take some time to include in your talks or presentations your personal WHY – why you are moved to action.
I love the story of Bono’s WHY – why he has been so committed for all these decades to trying to make a difference in the lives of millions of Africans.
It all sprang from one moment in one day and a story about one man and one boy.
Bono’s revealed his WHY in his powerful speech to PENN state: These are his words: (I’ll link to a video of the speech at the end of this post)
“We used to wake up in the morning and the mist would be lifting we’d see thousands and thousands of people who’d been walking all night to our food station were we were working.
One man — I was standing outside talking to the translator — had this beautiful boy and he was saying to me in Amharic, I think it was, I said I can’t understand what he’s saying, and this nurse who spoke English and Amharic said to me, he’s saying will you take his son. He’s saying please take his son, he would be a great son for you. I was looking puzzled and he said, “You must take my son because if you don’t take my son, my son will surely die. If you take him he will go back to Ireland and get an education.”
Probably like the ones we’re talking about today. I had to say no, that was the rules there and I walked away from that man, I’ve never really walked away from it. But I think about that boy and that man and that’s when I started this journey that’s brought me here into this stadium.
Does that move you? It moves me.
This Bono in Africa image from this link (a good read):
Bono’s long-time friend Peter Gabriel supports WITNESS – a cause that gives cameras to people to help them document human rights abuses.
In this earlier TED video – he reveals his personal WHY and you understand why he is so committed to the cause.
It can take guts to reveal your personal WHY. It often means you have to reveal a “failing” or a personal suffering – but think beyond that to the cause you are trying to promote.
Now my personal WHY is not as dramatic or as exciting as the ones above – but it helps reveal my personal connection to the pro bono work I love to do.
I’ve been pretty lucky – with a great education and life experience and an exciting career ( or rather careers) – but I realise not all people are as fortunate. I am forever grateful for my education and great teachers and mentors who have helped me.
I was blessed with wonderful, encouraging teachers – that’s why I do pro bono (for free) work to share what I’ve learned.
I want to give high school kids the same “gifts” great teachers gave me – and to realise the power of words to motivate and inspire others. For me – it was hearing MLK’s I have a Dream Speech - not LIVE of course back in the 60s! (Wonderful teachers taught the power of MLK’s words – at school)
In was blessed with a great education and went on to become a lawyer (briefly) and then a journalist (far more exciting) and a political adviser and speechwriter (a dream come true to an MLK fan!).
I know how to stand up for myself and argue. I know how to require evidence and further and better particulars and to not just accept authority decrees. I know how to defend and challenge. (In fact I can often be TOO DEFENSIVE – but that’s my training)
But not all people are so fortunate – they get intimidated and bullied by bureacratic, official language and as Bono called it “the Kafka-esque labyrinth of NOs” (Bono joked that he was trying to sound all fancy and educated in a speech).
What this all means for YOU!
Anyway, my point is - if YOU want to make positive change – reveal some of YOUR personal WHY. Think beyond any pain or embarrassment to “the cause” you are fighting for.
Create a short, punchy and effective “story” – refine it – so it’s just a small part of your message – but DO IT! See how conicise and compelling the Bono and Peter Gabriel stories were!
Here’s the link to Bono’s Penn State speech:
Both Bono and Peter Gabriel were powerful speakers at the recent TED2013 talks. The videos of their talks haven’t been released yet – but here are links to he TED blog about the talks:
HOW I CAN HELP YOU – PRO BONO
If you or a good cause you support could use some pro bono help in how to use Bono’s techniques please feel free to contact me.
Also, if you know a high school that could benefit from a session on Bono’s use of words – please let me know. I have to fit my pro bono work in with my “paid” corporate consulting work.
I’m based in Brisbane, Australia - and I often travel for work to Sydney and Singapore.
There’s also the potential to travel to other parts of Asia-Pac and the US for my work too.
So What is Pro Bono Bono?
In a nutshell:
1. A dedicated Bono/U2 fan who loves to help organisations with pro bono (for good/for free)
2. Communication coaching for good causes combines professional skills with passions
Communication Coaching + Pro bono helping good causes + Bono’s inspiration and example = Pro Bono Bono
You’ll learn how to improve the way you Present and Persuade by using communication techniques effectively used by Bono.