The Why Factor is critical to any communication and to be effective needs to feature early on, regardless of the format.

I see and hear a lot [of communication] where the Why Factor is either missing all together, buried, or left until the bitter end and all the while to get to it you’re asking yourself, ‘Why do I need to read/listen? What’s in it for me?’

Why? The Why Factor provides the motivation to the audience to want to read or want to listen, be it: email, presentation, letter, negotiation, report or speech. It grabs the listener’s/reader’s attention by explaining at the outset the reason(s) to pay attention. In other words what’s in it for them; what they’ll get/not get; what they’ll achieve/avoid etc.

When you get the Why Factor, it’s a Eureka moment; things are clear and you know what’s required. ‘That’s why! If only you’d said earlier, I’d have paid more attention.’ If its not up front but you eventually find it, and its compelling, you’ll want to re-read because you now know what to look for. If it was spoken and the moment has passed the speaker has failed.

When you receive communication, you’re a Why Factor judge and need to determine if you’re hooked from the start, part way through the performance or not at all.

When preparing communication, think of yourself as a Why Factor contestant: your job is to get it [the Why Factor] in early so the audience is on your side and you get their vote.