Bill Hybels once said, “Motivated employees are 87 percent less likely to leave an organization compared to an unmotivated employee.” There is no doubt that everyone benefits from motivation. Think back to a teacher or coach who inspired you to something greater. The fact is that some people inspire us more than others do.
It all Adds up to Inspiration: As someone begins to communicate with them, people ask questions. They want to know what’s in it for them. Maxwell gives an Inspiration Equation:
What they know + What they see + What they feel = Inspiration
What People Need to Know: When non-connecting teachers think about what their students needs to know, they focus on information. Maxwell states that in the context of connecting, people need to know you’re on their side. Aristotle wrote about pathos, a communicator’s ability to connect with the feelings, desires, wishes, fears and passions of their listeners.
That you understand them and are focused on them: No one is inspired by people who are concerned about themselves. Self-centered people don’t generally connect with others. Good connectors get to know their students. They need to know that you are for them and in their corner. People do things, like making changes in their lives, for their own reasons, not for the reasons of the teacher.
Maxwell writes that a gossip is someone who talks about others, a bore talks about himself, but a brilliant conversationalist is one who talks to you about yourself. What are people thinking? What are their dreams? About what do they worry?
- What are people saying? The most called upon prerequisite of a friend is an accessible ear. Good leaders are good listeners. Maxwell has this pattern: listen, learn then lead.
- What are people doing? Watch them and their behavior; including their body language.
That You Have High Expectations of Them: Abraham Lincoln once said of a sermon that it was brilliantly conceived, biblical, relevant and well presented; but it failed because it did not ask us to do something great. Inspiring communicators always expect a lot from their students. Maxwell says that management is about getting people to do what they do not want to do, while leadership is inspiring people to do what they never thought they could.
What People Need to See: If these are not present, people will simply turn you off.
- Your Conviction: Conviction is something you cannot fake. If the teacher does not have conviction about his subject, why should the students?
- Your Credibility: When people trust you, they will listen to you. If you walk does not match your talk, credibility will be lacking.
- Your Character: They need to see evidence of your character. A mediocre teacher tells, a good teacher explains, a great teacher demonstrates. As teachers and leaders we must strive to be the message. Connecting has a lot to do with letting who you are influence everything you do. The decision of your students to listen every week is based on a deeper perception related to the teacher’s credibility.
What People Need to Feel: This is the most important factor in the Inspiration Equation. People may not remember what your said or what you did, but they will remember how you made them feel.
Your passion for the subject and them: Vision alone does not inspire change; it must be strengthened by passion. Your teaching will be nothing if it does not come from your heart. Teaching is not just going through the motions and showing up Sunday to lead the lesson. Ask these questions each week:
- Do I believe what I teach?
- Has it changed me?
- Do I believe it will help others?
- Have I seen it change others?
You will do more than light a fire under people, you will ignite a fire within them.
Your confidence in yourself and them: Passion motivates because the questions asked is, “Is it worth it?” People must also see your confidence and ask, “Can I do it?” If you don’t have confidence in a speaker, are you likely to follow that person?
Your gratitude for them: This may be the most neglected and least expressed virtue. Silent gratitude is not good for anyone. Matthew Henry once wrote in his diary about being robbed, “Let me be thankful first because I was never robbed before; second, although they took my purse, they did not take my life; third, because although they took my all, it was not much; and fourth, because it was I who was robbed, not I who robbed.”
Action – Inspiration at the Highest Level: Often we encourage people, make them feel good, help them to feel confident, but they never more on toward action. Action changes lives.
Say the right words at the right time: Timing is often the difference between success and failure.
Give people an action plan: For most people, their knowledge far outweighs their follow-through. A motivational speaker wants you to feel good; while the motivational teacher wants you to do good. Make lists of what you have learned by using this ACT plan:
- Put an A next to the items you want to apply.
- Put a C next to the items you need to change.
- Put a T next to the items you need to teach to others.
Make a Commitment to Continually Inspire Others: One linguist notes that in 20 primitive languages, the word hearing and doing is the same word. Actor Will Smith once said, “The way I like to measure greatness is: How many people do you affect? In your time on earth, how many people can you affect? How many people can you want to make better? Or how many people can you inspire?” The true test of inspiration is action.
Connecting Practice: Connectors inspire people.
Key Concept: What people remember most is how you make them feel.
Character, above all else, will make the greatest impression on people.
- A heart to serve.
- A person of good values.
- A helping hand.
- A caring spirit.
- A believing attitude.
People want to know what you have done, this adds credibility.
- That you can lead by example.
- That you will only ask them to do what you have done or are wiling to do.
- That you will teach them only what you have already done.
- That their success is more important than your success.
- That they will get credit for accomplishments.
- That you will celebrate their success.
Your students need to know that you enjoy being with them and want to help them; that you are a friend, that you are not perfect, but growing, that you are conversing with them, not talking down to them, that you believe in them and they can believe in themselves.