What’s my motivation?

Sometimes it’s no good directly asking people why they do or like something. Most of the time we don’t give our actions that much thought. So when you need to get insights from people (your customers, stakeholders, audience) try a different angle:

  • Indirect questions: “what do you think people in your position would say about X?”
  • Analogy: “if X was like a car, what type would it be?”
  • Word association: “what words would you associate with the perfect X?”
  • Future scenario: “in two years’ time, what could X look like?”
  • Role play: “if you were in charge of the budget for X, what would your priorities be?”

Use a cartoon to get at the differences between what we say, think and feel. Print the worksheet at the bottom of the page and give it a try. Or you can use photo cards to help people to make analogies – download this deck of random images.  

Meanwhile, the father of modern acting Constatin Stanislavski thought there were seven questions every actor should be able to answer about his character. Use these to get a better insight into what’s driving you or your customer/audience:

1. Who am I? physically, sociologically and psychologically.

2. Where am I? and what is the relation of the character to this place – a familiar place, first time there, doesn’t fit, etc.

3. When? Why now? What happened before?

4. What do I want? and more importantly…

5. Why do I want this?

6. How will I achieve my goal?

7. What must I overcome? This is where the dramatic tension comes in. And it could be where you get to help your customer/audience to their goal.