Top Takeaways from Derek Sivers’ “How to Start A Movement” TED Talk
You might feel passionate about issues like climate change, gender equality, or medical research for a particular condition. But how do you turn that passion into a movement for change? You might not feel like you have what’s required to start a change movement, but entrepreneur Derek Sivers says otherwise.
In his TED Talk available here, Sivers uses the example of a lone dancer at a concert to illustrate some key points about leadership and what you need to do to inspire others and start a movement. The film shows a lone shirtless dancer busting out some crazy moves and having a great time. Another dancer, then another, then joins him until a whole crowd is dancing along. As Sivers says, the lone dancer has created a movement. So, what does this tell us?
- Don’t worry about looking silly.
The lone dancer starts dancing for his pleasure. He doesn’t try to convince anyone else to join in and doesn’t care that he might look foolish. Anyone watching can see that he’s having fun.
- The first follower is crucial.
The second dancer is the one that turns one guy’s fun into a group activity. And the way the first reacts is key. He embraces his follower as an equal and doesn’t try to tell them what to do. He welcomes him, and they dance together.
- More than one follower is a movement.
The second guy to come and dance creates momentum, and others start to join in. Suddenly it’s not what Sivers calls ‘a lone nut’ but a group of people doing something great.
- Keep it simple
The dance wasn’t a complicated series of moves everyone had to copy. The first guy was doing a simple, joyous dance for others, and joining in meant simply dancing along and having fun together.
- Encourage your early adopters.
As the momentum builds, the early adopters look fantastic, and everyone wants to join in. The group is now more important than the first dancer. Anyone not joining in now seems like a killjoy or a coward.
What does it mean for your change movement?
- Don’t be scared to go it alone. Have the courage of your convictions and stand up for your beliefs.
- Welcome and share the spotlight with your first follower. From the get-go, act as a team as your following grows.
- Keep your message and your goal simple.
- Make it about the group, not about you.