Sharing and building Solution Focused practice in organisations

Why I failed, and you don’t have to.

Have you ever pitched your dream? I mean, really got the chance to tell the right people your idea?


I have. And it didn’t turn out quite how I expected.

Let me set the scene for you: Years ago I was working passionately on a project supporting female coffee farmers in Rwanda.  I was part of a leadership training at the time, and I was dying to tell everyone about my project, and see what support I could gain.


Suddenly, and without warning, an opportunity appeared.

The facilitator said: “I invite 3 people to come and pitch what they are working on, now, on stage.”  My hand shot up, before I had a chance to stop it.


So I did the best I could. I filled up my short time with hand movements, walking around the stage, messages filled with emotion and names dropped here, there and everywhere.


Claps, head nods my way. My pitch had gone great.

Or so I thought.

Next up to speak was an actor. “Raise your hand if you have ever had a teacher that made you feel so small, that to this day you are not confident in the subject they taught you?’


Every single person in the room raised their hand.


He carried on, speaking about his project and how it related directly to that pain point that everyone was now vividly remembering. I was enjoying his speech, thinking my job was done and getting ready to go back to my networking.


That’s not what the facilitator had in mind.      

Once everyone was done, he asked the audience to stand in front of the person who had resonated with them the most.


50 people in the room…. 2 of them stood in front of me.


The ‘teacher’ guy got a line so long that it literally went round corners.


I was devastated.

What did this mean? That my project had no value? Why didn’t they line up for my dream?


You want to know why?

Because the other guy LISTENED. He found a pain point that everyone in that room would relate to, and he zoned in on that before he even started relaying his message. He spoke to individuals, not to ‘potential supporters’, like I did.


That’s why people heard him. Because he heard them, first.


Painful lesson.

But it has served me, again and again. And I want it to serve you too. Next time you have a speech, or ANY message that you want to get across:


Slow down.

Stop thinking about what you need for a few minutes, and think about how this message can help the people you’re talking to.


How does it relate to them, what’s happening in their world right now that you can tap into? I guess what I’m trying to say is:

Listen first, if you want to get heard.


If you’re interested in free webinars to help you scale your social change impact -sign up here.

Views: 272

Add a Comment

You need to be a member of SOLWorld to add comments!

Join SOLWorld




Jumpstart into Solution Focus

You want to learn more about "Solution Focus"?

You prefer a "step by step" introduction instead to start with reading some
voluminous books?

You would appreciate to have a complete "helicopter view" on SF after the first step…


Created by Hans-Peter Korn Dec 25, 2009 at 10:25am. Last updated by Mark McKergow Nov 3, 2014.

Making the most of

If you’ve just arrived at (the SOLWorld ning group), you may be looking at all the features and wondering where to start.  This note might be helpful…



Created by Mark McKergow Jun 3, 2008 at 4:55pm. Last updated by Jesper H Christiansen Aug 22, 2017.

Open Space at SOLworld conferences

SOLworld Open Space instructions as it was used at the 2011 conference, by Mark McKergow


Created by Katalin Hankovszky Dec 30, 2015 at 10:18pm. Last updated by Katalin Hankovszky Dec 30, 2015.

SOLWorld Resources

Welcome to the SOLWorld Resources section.  This part of the site features information about the SOLWorld network, our past events and materials from our previous website.  It will take some time to update all the information, so thanks for your patience. 

Information in this part of the site is 'read-only'.  If you want to start discussions, please go to the Forum or Groups. …


Created by Mark McKergow May 12, 2008 at 4:08pm. Last updated by Mark McKergow Dec 2, 2022.

© 2023   Created by Mark McKergow.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service