Rebecca Solnit’s essay on “Preaching To The Choir“, illuminated the value of engaging with those who already share our beliefs.
In business, the primary assumption behind the idea of preaching to the choir suggests that we often mistakenly assume that our primary audience should be our adversaries, not our allies.
How frequently have we employed terms like “conversion”, “transformation”, or “win rate”, as if our primary goal was to sway those who hold opposing views?
Yet Solnit astutely observes that preaching extends beyond mere conversion; it also deepens understanding and nurtures curiosity.
Should we strive to win over those with contrasting opinions, or should we serve and respect those who already stand with us? Does the choir exist to sing to the unbelievers or to inspire the faithful? What consequences arise if the devoted cease to attend, contribute, and engage in our work?
Viewing our audience as enemies rather than allies can lead to neglecting existing relationships and shared interests.
Your business can benefit from motivating those who already agree with you and can grow by focusing on your current clients and followers – your “base” or “fans”. Overturning opposition is not the immediate answer.
One reason we emphasize conversion is that we tend to believe that ideas matter more than actions, that beliefs directly determine behavior, and that a preponderance of agreement will result in economic and social change.
Yet, in truth, the ways we think about gender equality, justice, innovation, or AI should not be our sole fixation. If they were, we would have already resolved these issues. Instead, we must concentrate on actions that address these concerns. To achieve this, we don’t need to persuade those who disagree with us, but rather, we must inspire our own.
Many of us tirelessly search for minds to change, unaware that a network of people, eager to listen and help us share the benefits of our work, already surrounds us.
What should we do, then?
- Build a list of fans, cultivating an atmosphere of compassion, love, and support.
- Organize events for them, like meetups, webinars, courses, and weekly Q&As, and invite them to bring others who share their passion.
- Delve into the same questions, topics, or ideas, but from different angles, timeframes, tones, or styles.
Solnit beautifully states:
“What’s more, to suggest that you shouldn’t preach to the choir is to misunderstand the nature of preaching. Conversion or the transmission of new information is not the primary aim; the preacher has other work to do. Classically, the sermon is a kind of literary criticism that regards the key sacred texts and their meanings as inexhaustible. Adults, like children, love hearing the great stories more than once, and most religions have prayers and narratives, hymns and songs that are seen as wells of meaning that never run dry.”
Your team, clients, and prospects also need to hear the “sermon” on multiple occasions.
To establish a thriving business that you cherish, you need don’t need to convert those who differ from you; instead, you must galvanize your own.