The Power of 'Imagine'

On this day, 47 years ago, John Lennon released his highest selling solo single and one of the greatest songs of all time.

‘Imagine’, now rightfully crediting Yoko Ono as a co-writer, was written at John and Yoko’s country estate in England in May, and released in October of the same year. 

While the lyrics and core message of the song are still as relevant today as they were in 1971, there is one word in the song that is one of the most underused yet powerful tools to help pitch ideas.

Starting a presentation or any exchange where you are seeking to introduce a new concept to someone with the word “imagine...”, has been shown to switch the receptors of the brain to be more open to possibility. Being open to possibility increases the chance of agreement and acceptance.

I’ve sat in so many presentations where people start with the boring (but necessary) detail. It’s much more productive to start with what the end result will be for the person you are taking to. Starting with “Imagine” forces them to visualise the concept you are talking about.

If you’re selling a car, it’s not about the superior handling and extended warranty - that comes later. It’s about the customer imagining themselves going on a holiday with their family. If you’re teaching maths, it’s not about the numbers - it’s about the student imaging themselves as a pilot flying high above the clouds and needing to know how to calculate airspeed and altitude.

So on this anniversary of a song that has become rightfully recognised as a mantra for how we can positively influence the world, take some time to Imagine. And ask your customers to do the same. It’s a powerful song and a powerful word to use in business and in life.