The importance of starting with the ‘why’

In many cases, the first thing people are going to want to know when your organization has an announcement is why it matters.

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Good communicators know the importance of “starting with the why.”

Whether you’re telling customers about a price increase, employees about changes in company policy, or encouraging people to get a flu shot, leading with the “why” helps everyone understand the purpose of your message right up front. Here’s an example:

Because we are uncertain of the health risks associated with the use of electronic cigarettes, these devices have been banned at all facilities.

The usefulness of this technique was recently made clear to me by my 11-year-old son, in what I now regard as the best example of “starting with the why” that I have seen.

Following a fight with his younger brother, my son left this note taped to his bedroom door:

Dear family,

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