I watched a TED video called “How great leaders inspire action” by Simon Sinek, an author of the book Start with Why. As the title of the speech implies, this presentation inspired me a lot. This video might have inspired many more people – more than 3 million have watched this video clip.
I looked at this presentation using the frame of Monroe’s motivated sequence that I found in Lucas’ The Art of Public Speaking (2011). Monroe’s motivated sequence consists of five steps of persuasive speech: attention, need, satisfaction, visualization, and action.
Simon Sinek began the speech with a brief introduction of the purpose of his speech and what he was going to talk about: what made Apple, the Wright brothers, and Martin Luther King’s speech successful. He began with the example of Apple. He quoted Apple’s motto, “Everything we do, we believe in thinking differently” and insisted that Apple advertised their values before they introduced actual products. Then Apple says how they will achieve their belief, and their products are outcomes based on their belief. Sinek said this was not his own idea but that it came from human biology. He introduced the structure of the human brain and claimed that starting with “why” works well with the human brain. This example made me pay attention to his message.
After this attention-getter, he provided some examples of how others failed, including TiVo and Samuel Pierpont Langley, who was studying aviation technology but gave up his study after Wright brothers’ success in flying with their gliders. In this need stage, Sinek discussed the problems of a company and a person who did not begin their project with “why.”
Finally, he suggested a solution by talking about the Wright brothers and Martin Luther King’s “I have a Dream” speech. He visualized what happened when the Wright brothers kept pursuing their purpose instead of focusing on the outcomes. He also visualized 250,000 people gathered at Martin Luther King’s speech in the middle of August in Washington, DC because they agreed with Martin Luther King’s dream and beliefs, not his plan itself.
In the video, Sinek did not call the audience to action, which would be the action stage of Monroe’s motivated sequence, but he used specific examples supported by theories in biology and marketing communication to build credibility of the speech. He also followed Monroe’s motivated sequence except for the action stage. I don’t think it is very surprising that this video clip was very inspiring for me and has been watched by so many people.
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