What are the nine most important words in the English language? Money. . . love. . .sex. . . health? As far as individual words are concerned, I don’t know the answer. But when strung together to form a single sentence, I know of nine words that are more powerful than any others. At least they have proven so to me. These words have enabled me not simply to make more money but to unlock the love instinct in others. Do you want to know what they are?
How I Learned to Speak
First, let me give you a little background.
I started out as a writer. Then I discovered how to take and use photographs to illustrate my articles. From there I moved to producing slide shows consisting of 35 mm slides synched to a sound track. Next thing I know, I’m writing speeches for corporate executives and professional speakers. Soon I started speaking myself and continue to address audiences to this day.
I remember the first time I delivered a public speech. It was during a program for which I had written talks for other speakers. I had all of nine minutes to make my mark. I guess I did a pretty good job because afterward a number of audience members came up to me and told me they enjoyed my address the most. I booked another $5,000 worth of speaking engagements on the spot thanks to those nine minutes.
An Important Revelation
I’m still plugging away, hop-scotching the country and delivering speeches. It’s a great life but an exhausting one. One day, I studied my bookings and made an important discovery: I could make a lot more by changing my travel patterns. I realized I wasn’t getting much work near my home. The people in Dallas and Miami seemed to know me better than my neighbors in Michigan!
So I made a resolution: I would allow the people of Michigan to discover me the way the folks in other parts of the country had. And it was at this point in my life that I found those nine magic words.
The 9 Words
Those nine words are: “I’ve got a problem and I need your help.”
Disappointed? Expecting something more elaborate? Well, bear with me another few moments and I’ll explain.
Each time I’d finish a speech, I’d walk up to the person who booked me and say: “I’ve got a problem and I need your help.” Then I’d explain that my problem was that I wanted more bookings in Michigan but wasn’t well known in the state. “If you think I’m an okay speaker, would you help me out by mailing my brochures and a personal recommendation to three meeting planners that you know in Michigan?,” I’d ask.
By golly, it worked. Before long, I had tripled my Michigan bookings. Since then I have found that this nine-word sentence is a magic formula that works in all kinds of situations.
People are good. They want to do good things for others, especially if they believe in the value of what that other person has to offer. Just as important, they like to be asked to help. Being asked for help makes them understand their own value.
“I’ve got a problem and I need your help.”
I urge all of you to try out the sentence in your own personal and professional lives. I’m sure it will work as well for you as it has for me.