Pique People’s Interest in Coming On Your Team with the Door Metaphor

Posted by Kristin Arnold on September 1, 2020

Putting together a volunteer team for an association, charity, church or other non-profit organization is always a fine balance.  You want to make sure your potential prospects hit the trifecta:  1) able to do the job, 2) willing to do the job and 3) you can trust them to do a good job.

The typical tendency is to reach out to the usual suspects: those dependable stalwarts within the organization who have repeatedly demonstrated their ability and trustworthiness.  Unfortunately, that’s a recipe for obsolescence.  Newer members will just throw up their hands and quietly leave because we haven’t asked them to get involved.

When given a leadership position, dig deep within the organization to find diverse talent – people of diverse backgrounds, ethnicities, race, and creed.  And don’t let yourself off the hook too easily – there are always options.

Once you have identified a potential volunteer, I always like to offer options to get involved.  Even though you have the perfect “task” in mind, they might say “no” to that one idea and then the conversation stops cold.  Instead, pitch your offer as “I’d love for you to get involved.  I have two or three different ideas that I would like to share with you.”

Once you have piqued their interest, pre-empt their objections by saying, “I hope you will like at least one of these ideas, but if none of them interest you, that’s okay.  We’ll still remain friends and I’ll be 100% okay with whatever you decide.  Sound good?  Want to hear what’s behind door #1?”

And now they are really interested!

I then share each of the options in enough detail that they get the gist of what it will entail and why it will benefit them, their business, and the organization.  Pause and answer their questions about the first option (door #1) before you move on to door #2.

Door #1 is what I really want them to pick, door #2 is another option that they are equally qualified to do, and door #3 is always a lesser-involved, bite-sized task that can be easily done.

For some reason, the “door #1, door #2, door #3” metaphor seems to resonate with people.  Perhaps it is because they feel like they have options and aren’t being told what to do?  I don’t know why.  I just know that it works.  99% of the time, they pick one of the doors!

It’s a win-win.  They feel good about volunteering and you have identified the best fit for the job on your team!


For more information about how to lead conversations like these in the virtual environment, use these resources.

KRISTIN ARNOLD, MBA, CPF | Master, CSP is a high-stakes meeting facilitator and professional panel moderator.  She’s been facilitating teams of executives and managers in making better decisions and achieving greater results for over 20 years.  She is the author of the award-winning book, Boring to Bravo: Proven Presentation Techniques to Engage, Involve and Inspire Audiences to Action.

Recent Articles:

How to Facilitate a Virtual Meeting: Roles, Tips, & Responsibilities

What to Look For When Hiring a Meeting Facilitator

Stretch your Leadership Team’s Ability to Think Strategically

Photo by Christian Stahl on Unsplash


Skip to content