Move Towards/Move Away

When attempting to motivate people to follow our plan, adopt our strategy or change their behaviour it is helpful to know what specifically motivates them.

Some people are motivated by moving toward their desired values (receiving a carrot), whereas others are motivated by moving away from undesired values (avoiding a stick).  In general, we all have move toward and move away values, but research has shown that for some people one direction predominate.

It is unlikely that you will know which strategy to use for many of the people you are influencing, so the most effective strategy would be to include both in your language patterns as follows:

  1. Talk about what you can do, will achieve and the bonuses/incentives inherent in your plan or idea.
  2. Include what you can help them avoid, problems they can minimise and the things that won’t go wrong.  Emphasise how easy this plan will make their life.

When you use both strategies, you can be sure to ‘win-over’ both types of people in your audience.