Enthusiasm beats logic

The preacher was sermonizing on evangelism. Between squirms to prevent dozing off, I was contemplating the state of the industrial maintenance profession.


The preacher was sermonizing on evangelism. Between squirms to prevent dozing off, I was contemplating the state of the industrial maintenance profession. I was wondering, why don't companies realize the value of good maintenance procedures?

Then he said it. And it jabbed me like an elbow in the ribs (not an unknown sensation to me in church).

"You do not persuade people in life by your logic," he said, "only by the sharing of your enthusiasm ."

Yes, that's right, I thought. All these years, we've been concentrating on logic. We've been trying to convince on the basis of facts, on the pure beauty of logic, on the unquestioned power of statistics.

What fools we've been, I thought, when what we really needed was enthusiasm !

The preacher continued with a list of four techniques to use in evangelizing, and I realized he was listing four of the basics for any effective communication. But suddenly, coupled with enthusiasm , they took on a new level of importance. They became (if you'll pardon the expression) gospel.

Go where the people are. If you're looking to make converts, if you're on a quest for supporters, you have to go to them. Wait for them to come to you, and you've already lost. If you want to be part of the action in your plant, go to where the action is. Whether it means hanging out in the appropriate coffee room or foraging through the administrative maze, you need to make personal contact to share your enthusiasm .

Talk as people talk. How often have you pondered something written by a lawyer and thought, "I wish they'd use plain English?" The language of plant engineering and maintenance may sound like lawyereze to your financial people, or like some kind of code to your production planners. You need to speak the right language to communicate your enthusiasm .

Tell what you can tell. You're a knowledgeable person, an expert in certain areas. You can speak authoritatively on things you know to be true. But don't try to tell too much. Don't try to bluff your way through matters you know little or nothing about. That will kill your credibility and stifle any enthusiasm you've built.

Invite people to share in your enthusiasm. Ask them to be part of whatever it is you're doing. Get them on your team. People like to associate with winners. And a big part of winning is enthusiasm .

Don't get me wrong. Facts are critical. Logic is important. Statistics must be considered. But to really persuade, to make true believers, you've got to share your enthusiasm .

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