Help Others Find Their Win (So You Win)

“You will get everything in life that you want if you just help enough other people get what they want.”

– Zig Ziglar

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I recently received an email that reminded me of this quote from Ziglar. It also prompted me to think about how we are more likely to win or persuade when our focus is on helping others. Check out the email below. I think this email a good example of why it’s important to put your focus on others—not yourself.


We’re really trying to fill the room on this one. We’ve got some congressional staff that will be in attendance and some higher-ups from DC in town.

Do you think you can help us get some attendees?



Although I like the sender as a person, I had no motivation to jump in. I was swamped with my own to-do list, emails to return, writing, etc. Like always, I faced a day with lots of problems to solve. Could I have helped? Did I know people that I could have urged to attend this event? Did I have the ability to reach out to them? Yes. But I didn’t. The sender didn’t persuade me. The request was about him, what he needed, with no attempt to convince me that attending would be good for me as well.

But with a few, quick tweaks to the ask, I might have responded differently. Take a look at this revision to the ask:


We’ve got some congressional staff that will be in attendance and some higher-ups from DC in town, and I know you are building your network of DC power players. The room is full, but I could add you and a couple friends if you want to bring someone.



Do you see the difference? I can tell you that I likely would have responded to the revised version. That version is written in a way that shows me how the request meets my needs. And the sender would have won too.

We often think of persuasion as a way to get what we want. But it’s all about your audience. Always. They care about themselves, their health, finances and families and friends. Your challenge is to remove yourself, to begin to see things through your audience’s perspective and to find a way to message from their needs, wants and desires. Step into their shoes. What matters to them? Determine what that is, and adjust your messaging accordingly. Speak to their needs. Address those needs, and you’ll win as well.

So how do you help others find their win? I think it can be broken down into three easy steps: listening to where your audience is, asking questions and then seeking alignment. Let’s walk through three effective tools to make your audience your primary focus.

  1. Listen

You have a lot to say. I get that. We all do. And I’m willing to bet you’re passionate about the issue at hand. That’s fantastic. But are you willing to put that on the back burner – just for the moment – to listen? There’s information that you need, and you’ll only get it by listening.

I’m talking here about three types of listening: (1) informational listening (to learn); (2) critical listening (to evaluate); and (3) therapeutic or empathetic listening (to understand feelings).

Here’s what I can promise you: If you’ll commit to active listening, people will likely tell you everything you need to know.

  1. Ask questions

One of the best ways to show you’re listening while also showing that you value what your audience is saying is to ask questions. As discussed earlier, allow your audience to communicate without being judged.

I would encourage you to refrain from leading questions. At this stage, it isn’t about taking your audience somewhere. It’s really about understanding them.

Ask open-ended questions, clarifying questions, and questions that might uncover emotions.

  1. Seek alignment

Here’s where your magic begins to happen. This is the phase where your skills really come into play.

You understand exactly where you want your audience to be. You understand where they are. You understand why they are where they are. You understand your message and reason for persuasion. You understand where the person is. Now the question is, “Where is the alignment?”

Now, can you move your audience? Can you solve their problem, and demonstrate the value? Can you understand them and guide them to a new place? Frame your conversation by speaking to the values of the people you wish to persuade.

Again, winning is ultimately about your audience. Help them find success, and you’ll find success. You can persuade them. You can get what you want. Just start with them. Help them win, and you’ll win too.




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