“Tell them, show them, make them” is a twist on the old Chinese proverb:
Tell me, I’ll forget
Show me, I’ll remember
Involve me, I’ll understand
My friend Joe Alexander was giving some advice on coaching. He was saying this in reference to improving people’s movements and cueing them. Specifically with regards to verbal, visual and tactile cues. However, the implications go far beyond that. It’s a good thing to keep in mind for ourselves and when working with others. If you want to make change you have to be involved, you need to feel it and the new action must be assimilated.
How often do you say to yourself, “I should do that” with regards to something that will improve your situation? Whether it has to do with losing weight or reading more. More often than not we KNOW we should do something or how to do something. But knowledge of how to lose weight will not take the pounds off. Ultimately, what holds us back is taking action: DOING IT.
“Make them” is not as authoritarian or coercive as it sounds, it just means finding a way to get into action. You can ask, prod or trick them into action and once they start momentum takes over. The trick is to find a to overcome inertia and start moving and getting others to move towards their goals.