The best way to get people to actually care


How do you get people to care about what you care about?

Whether you’re launching a new blog, podcast, book, business, throwing an event, giving a speech, or just updating your social media status, how do you get people to actually care?

This weekend, I had the tall task of speaking to an auditorium full of amazing creatives, entrepreneurs, and speakers at the Tribe Conference. It always feels daunting speaking to a large room full of people more creative and talented than you.

But also at this three day conference, I would speak second to last. As I listened to amazing speaker after speaker, I could definitely feel my own insecurities rising up for a direct attack.

“Paul how are you going to follow all of this?”

Yet, when I gave my talk and walked off stage, I felt like I’d given one of my most powerful messages ever.

Here are the three key things I did that I think took my talk from “good” to possibly transformative.

3 Key Things I Learned About Helping People Care

  1. I started off with my many rejections and failures

I began my talk by reading actual rejection emails I received from publishers turning me down years before my first book 101 Secrets For Your Twenties was published. I took my own advice from 101 Questions You Need to Ask — 

“We don’t connect over our pretend perfection. We connect over our shared struggle.”

Really all three of my books are built on that concept. I lead with talking about my own failures to create a safe space and community for readers to smile and say, “thank God I’m not the only one.”

When you lead with your own insecurities, doubts, failures, and fears it allows your audience to take a deep breathe. To sigh and nod and say I’m not alone.

Being honest about your failures doesn’t hurt your credibility, it establishes it. (click to tweet that)

It takes courage to talk about where you lack the most courage. And in that conversation, you breathe life and courage to others.


Here’s a screenshot of one of the more amazing tweets I’ve ever received after a talk. And as a shout-out to Jordin who wrote it, check her out on Twitter at @weirdlivesblog

2. You have to show people you care about them before they will care about you

The most important thing you can do to prompt someone to care about you is to first show that you care about them. 

I always care about the audience I’m speaking to. I always want my words to inspire and encourage them.

But for this talk at the Tribe Conference, I really was intentional to tell them how much I cared about them. I told them how brave they were to be creating. I told them how important their work was and how much I loved the audience.

I wasn’t saying this to patronize them. I truly meant that from the bottom of my heart. Because again, I know what the struggle feels like to try and get your work out there through one obstacle and rejection after another.

Yet, I wanted the audience to know, beyond any doubt, that I truly cared about them and their work. When you show someone you care about what they say, then they in turn, care more about what you’re saying.

If they don’t think you authentically care, and are just there to sell them something for your gain, then they won’t trust you. Then they won’t care.

3. I led with what I do best

As I listened to other amazing speakers I could feel my insecurities rising up and telling me to play it safe. I could feel the fear gripping me.

Yet, I made the intentional choice, and had a sense of peace, that I just needed to fully be me. 100 %. That I was going to use  my communication strengths of telling emotional, compelling stories and using self-deprecating humor to the max.


An amazing tweet from Nicole Akers who was that smiling, encouraging face in the front row. Find her on Twitter at @TheNicoleAkers

Don’t try to be better than everyone else. Just be the best you.

Lean into, and lead with, what you do best. That’s authentic. That’s powerful. That’s transformative for you and the audience.

For this talk I made the intentional choice that I was going all in. I was going to use my signature sauce to the best of my ability.

I’ve said it a thousand times, but need to always keep reminding myself that:

“The possibility for greatness and embarrassment both exist in the same space. If you’re not willing to be embarrassed, you’re probably not willing to do anything great.”  – 101 Secrets For Your Twenties


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