We Need to Talk About Ginger

David Thompson / Instant Impact  / We Need to Talk About Ginger

We Need to Talk About Ginger

The Spice Girls Were Right

“This will NEVER catch on!  It’s bubblegum! No. That’s not fair – to bubblegum. This is candy-floss. No one needs this.  I give it a week.”

That was my reaction to ‘Wannabe,’ the debut single from the Spice Girls, which is now, officially, the catchiest song of all time.

Seriously. They’ve done research and stuff.

But back in 1996, I was convinced that 5 scantily clad young women bouncing playfully to synthesised pop would never make it in the entertainment industry.

How could they when the world so clearly needed more electric-folk-jazz-world-funk fusion?

Just Give Me What I Want

As powerfully penetrating an earworm that ‘Wannabe’ is, it’s real genius is in the lyrics. As the Girls put it “Just gimme what I want.”

All too often, we make the mistake of focusing on what we think people need – or what they should do – rather than what they want (which is what they will do).

What I Really, Really Want

As the popularity of Downton Abbey, UKIP and Type II Diabetes will attest, people are motivated more by what they want than what we think is good for them.

And, let’s face it. Most of the time, when we tell people what they need, we’re usually telling them what wewant.

For Example:

  • “You need to provide a more structured project plan,” actually comes across as “I want a more structured project plan.”
  • “You need to work on your presentation skills,” means “I want you to get to the point faster so I can talk.”
  • And “we need to increase head count” translates as “I am a socialist who hates freedom.”

But, sadly, no one cares what you want. They care about what they want.

To motivate action, focus on what the other person wants.

For Example:

  • “You want to stay on time and on budget. A project plan with clear timelines and deliverables will help you do that.”
  • “To get the buy-in from your audience, tell them straight away how your idea will help them.”
  • “Adding a member to the team will help us reach more customers and seize more market share.”

By shifting your attention – and your language – to what someone else wants, you’re much more likely to get through.

You know you want to.