Inspire like Pope Francis

Pope Francis captured the global spotlight when he visited America last month.
Here's how social innovators can follow suit. Image courtesy of the AP.

The spotlight follows Pope Francis no matter where he goes, but when he came to the American continent last month, it shined especially brightly. It was impossible to ignore his presence; you would have had to turn off all TVs and radios at all times of day, avoid blogs and news sites online, plus plug your ears whenever you went out on the street, given the frequency with which people were talking about him, mostly in inspirational terms.

This is the sort of traction that all social innovators crave and something that many of them deserve given the importance of their message. Wouldn’t it be grand to have 1.2 billion people pledged to your cause?

I was pleased to read this article by our client Nancy Duarte on LinkedIn’s Pulse Blog that broke down why Pope Francis’s visit, and his speech to Congress in particular, was so persuasive. Turns out that the highest Catholic in the world uses some basic techniques that we all can learn from in inspiring others. Here’s the lowdown:

  • Make your audience the hero

You don’t matter. Seriously. Your audience is everything. They’re the focal point, since it’s their allegiance that will make or break your movement. Pope Francis, renowned for his humility, emphasized the importance of the people he addressed.

  • Connect with what they care about most

To inspire a movement around yourself, you need to insinuate yourself into the deepest parts of a person’s beliefs. You need to get into their soul, fire them up and make them believe. In the US, Pope Francis used the language of the American dream and espoused other values that are held in high regard in this country.

  • Link their cares to your own

Get into their soul, then show them that their soul is your soul. You are aligned. Pope Francis did this in relation to political divisiveness and immigration, and was compelling because of it. He channeled Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King, Jr. in the process. It was a virtuoso performance and thus deeply inspiring.

I encourage you to read Duarte’s full article here.


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