Injecting Advice

It’s Not What You Say, But Why

Written by Nigel Brunsdon on . Posted in .

I’ve got aTED conference talk for you today, this one is with Simon Sinek talking about “How great leaders inspire action”.

I watched this for the first time a couple of weeks ago and it got me really thinking about how the best drugs workers/activists/services do what they do so well, by communicating effectively.

Watch the TED Talk

Can this translate into advice

If you’re an NSP worker or anyone who spends time supporting people then think about the way you do this. There’s a good chance that the advice you give is heavily focused on ‘What’ people should do, examples would be:

  • Telling people they need to use clean equipment
  • Telling people to not reuse filters
  • Telling people to get tested for blood borne viruses

You might also cover (to a lesser extent) ‘How’ people can do this, examples would be:

  • Suggesting people keep back spare pins for emergencies
  • Keeping all your equipment separate from other peoples when you’re cooking up
  • Checking the angle of injection and orientation of the needle

But as Simon Sinek talks about in his video we should really think about focusing more on ‘Why’ we think people should do the things we suggest if we want to inspire them to change. Of course this is far more difficult as it moves away from the practicalities that we are used to working with, and into the realm of concepts. This takes more time and requires more skills.

I’m sure some of you are already working in this way (pat yourself on the back, seriously treat yourself), in some cases you might not even have realised that there is a difference, but just think about the workers, trainers, teachers and activists that inspire you. My guess is they’re the kind of ‘leaders’ Sinek is talking about.

Simon Sinek

Simon Sinek is the author of the book ‘Start with Why’ and spends his life trying to teach other people how to become inspiring leaders.

Simon’s Website Watch the TED Talk

Writer: Nigel Brunsdon

Nigel Brunsdon is the owner of Injecting Advice. He’s been working in harm reduction since the 1990’s, previously a frontline needle programme worker he now splits his time between photography and developing online resources for drugs workers and users.

Nigel Brunsdon

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