by: The John Maxwell Company
Michael Faraday was a British physicist and chemist, and one of Albert Einstein’s heroes. He is best known for inventing the electric motor in the 1820s. After performing an experiment in the 1850s, during which he demonstrated electromagnetic induction, Faraday was approached by William Gladstone, Britain’s Minister of Finance. Gladstone was impressed by the feat, but “What,” he asked, “is the practical value of electricity?” “One day, sir, you may tax it,” Faraday quipped in reply.
Faraday saw the potential of electricity to change the way humans interacted with their world. Indeed, in 1879, Thomas Edison innovatively applied Faraday’s principles to commercialize incandescent electric lighting. William Gladstone, on other hand, was clueless about its technological possibilities, so Faraday phrased the significance of electricity in language that the financial minister could understand—tax revenues.
The exchange between the two men illustrates a key insight about connecting with others. You persuade people, not by insisting on your perspective, but by relating to their perspective. To get through, put yourself in the other person’s shoes.