Goosebumps Never Lie

The Guess Who had it right. Unless people are shakin’ all over, your issue, campaign or movement will sputter.

If you want to rally more than the usual suspects get spines tingling.

That means having a bold vision that cuts through the debris and chatter. Which means paying attention to the words you use. Your vision must be simply described and presented with flair and perhaps even humour. Otherwise, you’ll have people glued to their seats rather than jumping out of them.

Remember, a vision isn’t a set of demands. A common mistake of activists is to start by reminding people of everything that is wrong. (Guaranteed to make people feel bad.) And then to pepper them with facts, statistics and logical arguments. (Guaranteed to make people feel overwhelmed.) Of course, details are important but at the right time and in the right place. And in moderation.

More important is to convey a sense of your destination. A picture, a tune, a yearning, a smell, a taste, a feeling will make a big difference when attracting supporters. Goosebumps never lie.

That means of course that musicians, artists, storytellers, farmers and cooks are essential companions of twenty-first-century change-makers. They are the folks who can help you breathe life into your pursuits. And get backbones quivering and knee bones shivering.


We need to switch our metaphors from mechanical metaphors to life metaphors. The limits of our language become the limits of our world. (Michael Jones, author, composer and pianist)

Musical accompaniment this post is, guess who? Of course. Here is my preferred version of “Shakin All Over” with Chad Allan who was their original lead singer.


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