Action + Benefit = Motivate Your Audience

WRITTEN August 5, 2021 Author: Rich Atkins

Why do people do anything?

Most of us act because we want to accomplish something. If you take a sip of water, the goal was to quench your thirst. If someone wants to stay healthy or build strength, that person will work out. In these cases, people are doing something—performing an action, so that they will get a benefit from doing it.

For the promise of gain, people will do what it takes to get what they want—as long as they see value in it. They must be convinced of the benefit they will receive in order to get them to take action.

They are motivated to do the challenging thing so that they can get the gain. 

To motivate people, use an Action-Benefit Statement. It could also be stated as:

“Do X, so that you can get Y.”

“Do this, so that you can get that.”

People generally are motivated act for three reasons:


The benefit here may be that they see that they will get a top-of-the-line vehicle that is fully loaded with all the options that they want.

Brush your teeth to keep good dental health.


On the other hand, there may be fear that they will miss out on having the latest and greatest. These two examples show promise of gain and fear of loss as motivators to do something.

Brush your teeth so that you don’t get cavities.


Another reason that people may act is because of their honor. Why would people donate to charitable causes; give away their money, and not get anything tangible in return? In many cases, it touches their sense of honor. They give to the Vets, Scouts, or religious organizations because they see it as “the right thing to do.” It’s something that does good for other people.

Brush your teeth to be a good dental health example to your children.

The strongest way to get people to act is with positivity. Try using the Action-Benefit statement format. Tell someone to do something, but couple it with how it will benefit them, to increase their motivation to do it.

“Get your expense reports in on time so that you can be reimbursed quickly.”

“Take careful notes when providing customer service for clients so that you can solve all their problems with one interaction.”

“Use improving communications training services to develop a more pleasant and efficient workplace environment.”

An important factor to consider is that you must start with a verb and tell people to do something. Sometimes, writers and speakers are afraid of giving a direct command. Work through the fear and get past that quickly. It will strengthen your writing and speaking.

These examples are weak because they do not directly tell the audience to do something:

Using this technique you will motivate an audience

By using this technique you will motivating an audience 

When you use this technique you will motivate an audience 

If you use this technique you will motivate an audience

Look at this example of a strong action benefit statement:

Use this technique and you will motivate an audience.

Remember to start with a verb and tell people to do something.

Framing an action within the benefits that are possible can address a need of your listener. Having a need fulfilled is emotional, and creating an emotional connection is a great way to motivate people to follow through on the suggested action. When you need to move a project along, close a sale, and just generally change a behavior the Action-Benefit statement is a powerful tool.

This information is discussed in our Staff DevelopmentSales, and Leadership curriculums. If you’re looking for ways to improve your communication skills, register for one of our upcoming public classes or online classes & webinars.

Image by Kevin Shorter from Flickr 

Other Resources:

Over 350 Power Verbs For Your Benefit Statements

5 Simple Steps to Write a Benefits Statement

How to Write Benefit Statements that Get Leads

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