How To Make People Care

Make it something they can relate to


I went to a storytelling class tonight.

Four different people shared stories, and then we had an open forum where others participants in the group took 10–15 minutes to respond.

We didn’t need that much time.

Because the majority of the time, the response was only one:

“I can relate to this” (so: I like it!)

At one point, I was shocked by how many people claimed to like a certain piece — three people in a row; that was their first and most heartfelt feedback: “I can really relate to this!”

I sat dumbstruck… because, to be totally frank (and I hope the poor girl never, ever, ever finds this, because obviously her story was not even a thinly-veiled version of her life, but really and truly her real life) I found the story totally boring. And not only that, but her way of telling it — right down to her voice — got on my nerves.

So when the fourth person chimed in and said not only “I can really relate to this, too!” but then added “and you have a beautiful voice,” I all but spun around in my chair slack-jawed and staring, like “are you for real over there?”

But here’s the thing: the only reason I didn’t like it is because I couldn’t relate to it (or, more probably, I related a little too closely to it, and it actually reminded of some angle of some insecurity, otherwise I would have felt nothing at all, only boredom.)

People first and foremost like themselves, and they want to be reminded of themselves — in positive light, or at least light that lets them know they’re not alone.

Give them something that offers that, and they’ll respond.

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