When you focus on what you have to offer instead of the needs of others, they discern it and quickly lose interest. Even in an endeavour as noble as sharing your faith, you can become so engrossed in your presentation and in ‘getting results’ that you leave the other person cold.
In his book Presenting to Win, Jerry Weissman points out that when people communicate, they focus too much on the features of their product or service instead of answering the question, ‘Can you help me?’ The key, says Weissman, is to focus on the benefits, not the features. He writes: ‘A feature is a fact or quality about you or your company, the products you sell, or the idea you’re advocating. By contrast, a benefit is how that fact or quality will help your audience. When you seek to persuade, it’s never enough to present the features of what you’re selling; every feature must be translated into a benefit. Whereas a feature may be irrelevant to the needs or interests of your audience, a benefit, by definition, is always relevant.’
Caring about the other person must always be your motive and starting point. Paul writes: . ‘If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.’ (I Corinthians 13:13 NIV)
Bottom line: first, you must care about others.