Your WHY is Your Compass

25 July 2022

    Business Relationships

    The conversation around finding your WHY is quite prevalent right now.

    If you haven’t seen it, Simon Sinek’s Ted Talk, “Start with WHY” is well worth a watch. It’s a simple but potent message about how successful individuals and businesses communicate.

    As a communication consultancy, we’re all about successful communication. Naturally! We want you to speak in a way that is authentic and inspires.


    Why do you do what you do?

    I cannot tell you how often the question, “Why?” throws people. Whether it’s someone giving a presentation: “Why are you speaking?” Or a start-up working out the raison d’etre for their business. We’re often met with shrugging shoulders or dull, convoluted, corporate or technical waffle that goes on but says very little. We’re always asking clients to dig deeper to explore the reason WHY they do what they do. Or in the context of a presentation, WHY they’re saying what they’re saying. What’s the purpose? When clients get there, there’s a common thread.


    The human drive:

    The driver is always very human- ultimately very emotional. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to cry or bare your soul, (I mean, it might.) It means that as humans, we want to feel things. We’re not robots. There’s no getting away from it. We’re emotional beings. So why do we often try so hard to hide from this? It’s odd. Take Health and Safety. As an industry, it has a bad rep. It doesn’t get you out of your seat. A client of ours recently apologised immediately for dragging us into his boring, process-oriented industry. We were doing some presentation coaching. Yet, when we got him to drill down on his reason to speak, and deeper, on his reason for entering the industry, it was anything but boring. It’s about life and death. It’s about taking steps to ensure that people go home to their loved ones. These are extremely high stakes and a far cry from “boring”. This very human, emotional driver at the core, transformed the way that he spoke. Suddenly, all of the ensuing technical information/stats and graphs became riveting because of the clarity over WHY they were being shared.

    Don Draper, Madmen:

    Interestingly enough, this client brought up an episode of Madmen, “The Carousel” in which Don Draper pitches his advertising campaign to Kodak. It truly resonated with him. I hope it will with you too. If you haven’t seen it, enjoy!

    The success of the pitch is that he celebrates the real, human emotional drive behind the product. He doesn’t wax lyrical about technology and how the product works. He taps into the true reason why the product exists in the first place. “Well, technology is a glittering lure. But there’s the rare occasion when the public can be engaged on a level beyond flash if they have a sentimental bond with the product.” Don Draper. This isn’t fake or sappy. It’s true. We must not shy away from being “emotional” when we communicate. Humans are emotional. Even the ones that try desperately hard to hide it.


    What can we learn from advertising?

    Now, advertising might seem like a more glamorous, exciting industry than Health and Safety, or Financial Services – another industry in which we’ve worked a load. But it needn’t be. There are lessons to be learned from advertising in terms of the emotional, human way that ad campaigns communicate to us. Admittedly, sometimes one feels that they go too far, straying such a long way from what the product is. It’s easy to get cynical. We’re probably right to. Really? That Christmassy wonderland advert’s about coke? A brown sugary drink? It feels more than a little like propaganda. Emotive communication is very powerful. And when loads of money’s involved, it can be used for less than honest means. But it doesn’t have to be.


    A little science:

    The success of this type of “emotive” communication is that it appeals to the limbic centre of people’s brains. The limbic centre has no language or rational thought. It’s where human behaviour is governed and decisions are made. It’s, therefore, incredibly powerful when you communicate with this part of the brain- for you, as well as your audience.


    It must be authentic. Otherwise you won’t buy it. Neither will they.

    As I said, it doesn’t have to be manipulative. It won’t be if it’s authentic. You’re not taking advantage of people. It’s not about finding a catchy line or angle that you think might work. It’s about spending the time to think deeply and find the truth behind why you do what you do, or why you’re saying what you’re saying. This truth will always be human. It will always be about satisfying people’s human wants and needs. Technology, process and corporate structures serve humans. Not the other way around. Alone they’re dull. Don’t get lost, forgetting why they’re there in the first place. Spending time to work out WHY you are doing what you’re doing, in whatever context, will always ensure that you communicate with purpose and in a way that resonates. Your WHY is your compass. Don’t lose it.

    Client Reviews



    Jonny’s expertise in communication and his personalised coaching approach has made a significant impact on me. It was so much more than public speaking coaching; it influenced numerous other aspects of my life. Under his mentorship, not only did my communication skills improve, but my confidence soared, leading to positive changes in my professional and personal relationships. I highly recommend The Speakers’ Gym for anyone looking to unlock their full potential.

    Kate Bright, CEO & Founder, Umbra International Group


    The Speakers’ Gym is like the iPhone. You don’t realise you need it until you have it, and then you can’t live without it.

    Magda Gonzalez, Group CFO, Monex Europe



    It was completely practical and the open-forum feedback was so valuable. You created a safe environment for everyone to learn. Thank you!

    Nicola Koronka, Co-Founder and Managing Partner, Missive



    I was recommended by a friend who works in the same sector to contact The Speakers’ Gym to help me with my presentation delivery skills and I have not been disappointed with the results. Chris and Jonny work with you to provide bespoke training for your goals and needs. They are highly professional and make you feel at ease from the first minute the first session begins. I would highly recommend them to those who have a role which involves public speaking!

    Julia Peake, Technical Development Manager, Sanlam



    It has challenged both my thinking and approach and I will be sure to keep The Speakers’ Gym ‘fireworks’ readily available on my desk to refer to when not only presenting but also when needed through everyday management.

    Liz Paradine – Chief Operations Manager - 7iM


    Transact first engaged with The Speaker Gym late in 2018 where Chris & Jonny made a concerted effort to get under the skin of our business and understand how they could best help us hone our presentational and empathetic skills. The resulting sessions were hugely helpful giving my team plenty of opportunity to practice and also benefit from a great deal of feedback, not just from Chris & Jonny but by including the rest of the Transact team in the feedback and group learning too. I would highly recommend The Speakers Gym

    Glen Sweet, Head of Sales, Transact

    Transact London


    Working with The Speakers’ Gym has been fantastic. We knew what we wanted to say and who we wanted to speak to, so all we needed was technique. Or so we thought. Chris and Jonny helped us to understand the key elements of communication, through a structured process. We now think about communication in a completely different way. There’s a line they gave us that now resonates in my head, every time I write or talk to someone about what we do. We feel we’ve met two great guys and they’ve become an important part of us, our story and how we tell it to others.

    Thomas Skinner, Founder, Barnaby Cecil Financial Planning

    Barnaby Cecil Financial Planning


    The impact of The Speakers’ Gym™ at Mako can only be described as transformational. Over a three month period, they helped transition a group of individuals into a highly collaborative and consultative leadership team. Chris and Jonny have a unique ability to connect individuals with their true purpose, driving them towards self-reflection and ultimately growth. Overall the entire experience of working with them has been a pleasure and I am deeply grateful for their impact. They more than surpassed my expectations and I look forward to working with them again in the future!

    Trystan Morgan-Schauer, CEO, Mako



    We engaged The Speakers’ Gym to provide us with clarity and direction in the look, feel and messaging of the Worldmaker brand in preparation for our official launch. From start to finish, the process has been truly collaborative. They worked with the expertise and experience in our team to create branding that truly represents who we are and what we represent, whilst moving us into a more modern, expressive space – which was our desire. We know that we’re in great hands with The Speakers’ Gym. We’ll certainly be continuing to work with them

    Mollie Marti, CEO, Worldmaker International

    Worldmaker International


    They first took the time to understand our brief and delivered the programme incorporating our culture and brand throughout. They were thought provoking and their unique techniques very well received.

    Mairi Cameron, Learning Manager, Nucleus Financial



    The Speakers’ Gym gave me the skills and confidence to be my normal self whilst speaking and facilitating. They took the anxiety out of public speaking and gave me practical tools to prepare for and manage public engagements. They also helped me to engage more meaningfully with my clients, for which I am thankful. Highly recommend them.

    Matthew Marais, Director, Vertus Capital

    Vertus Capital


    I found the sessions to be a revelation, and I wish I had known some of the techniques sooner. It has completely changed my mindset and focused me in on the needs of the audience. With that, the ability to achieve those aspirations has come more naturally. There is always room for improvement, and I will definitely be revisiting The Speakers’ Gym for a refresher from time to time.

    Kelly Devlin, Wealth Management Consultant, St. James’s Place Wealth Management

    St. James's Place Wealth Management
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