The Art of Evangelism

1984macOut of curiosity, I went to SimplyHired, a vertical search engine for jobs, and looked for openings containing the keyword “evangelist.” Amazingly, there were 611 matches–and none were for churches. It seems that “evangelist” is now a secular, mainstream job title. Indeed, the first eight matches were for evangelist jobs at Microsoft–go figure.

As people hit the streets with this title, they need a foundation of the fundamental principles of evangelism. Fulfilling this need is the purpose of today’s blog.

  1. Create a cause. As the previous blog called “Guy’s Golden Touch” explained, the starting point of evangelism is having a great thing to evangelize. A cause seizes the moral high ground. It is a product or service that improves the lives of people, ends bad things, or perpetuates good things. It is not simply an exchange of things/services for money.
  2. Love the cause. “Evangelist” isn’t simply a job title. It’s a way of life. It means that the evangelist totally loves the product and sees it as a way to bring the “good news.” A love of the cause is the second most important determinant of the success of an evangelist–second only to the quality of the cause itself. No matter how great the person, if he doesn’t love the cause, he cannot be a good evangelist for it.
  3. Look for agnostics, ignore atheists. A good evangelist can usually tell if people understand and like a product in five minutes. If they don’t, cut your losses and avoid them. It is very hard to convert someone to a new religion (ie, product) when he believes in another god (ie, another product). It’s much easier to convert a person who has no proof about the goodness or badness of the evangelist’s product.
  4. Localize the pain. No matter how revolutionary your product, don’t describe it using lofty, flowery terms like “revolutionary,” “paradigm shifting,” and “curve jumping.” Macintosh wasn’t positioned as the third paradigm in personal computing; instead, it increased the productivity and creativity of one person with one computer. People don’t buy “revolutions.” They buy “aspirins” to fix the pain or “vitamins” to supplement their lives.
  5. Let people test drive the cause. Essentially, say to people, “We think you are smart. Therefore, we aren’t going to bludgeon you into becoming our customer. Try our product, take it home, download it, and then decide if it’s right for you.” A test drive is much more powerful than an ad.
  6. Learn to give a demo. An “evangelist who cannot give a great demo” is an oxymoron. A person simply cannot be an evangelist if she cannot demo the product. If a person cannot give a demo that quickens the pulse of everyone in the audience, he should stay in sales or in marketing.
  7. Provide a safe first step. The path to adopting a cause should have a slippery slope. There shouldn’t be large barriers like revamping the entire IT infrastructure. For example, the safe first step to recruit an evangelist for the environment is not requiring that she chain herself to a tree; it’s to ask her to start recycling and taking shorter showers.
  8. Ignore pedigrees. Good evangelists aren’t proud. They don’t focus on the people with big titles and big reputations. Frankly, they’ll meet with, and help, anyone who “gets it” and is willing to help them. This is much more likely to be the database administrator or secretary than the CIO.
  9. Never tell a lie. Very simply, lying is morally and ethically wrong. It also takes more energy because if one lies, then it is necessary to keep track of the lies. If one always tells the truth, then there’s nothing to keep track of. Evangelists know their stuff, so they never have to tell a lie to cover their ignorance.
  10. Remember your friends. Be nice to the people on the way up because one is likely to see them again on the way down. Once an evangelist has achieved success, he shouldn’t think that he’ll never need those folks again. One of the most likely people to buy a Macintosh was an Apple II owner. One of the most likely people to buy an iPod was a Macintosh owner. One of the most likely people to buy whatever Apple puts out next is an iPod owner. And so it goes.

Live long and kick butt.

Written at: Marriott Hotel, San Francisco, California

By | 2016-10-24T14:29:35+00:00 January 12th, 2006|Categories: Marketing and Sales|57 Comments

About the Author:

Guy Kawasaki is the chief evangelist of Canva, an online graphic design tool. Formerly, he was an advisor to the Motorola business unit of Google and chief evangelist of Apple. He is also the author of The Art of Social Media, The Art of the Start, APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur, Enchantment, and nine other books. Kawasaki has a BA from Stanford University and an MBA from UCLA as well as an honorary doctorate from Babson College.

57 Comments

  1. Robert Sharl January 12, 2006 at 1:55 am - Reply

    >Good evangelists aren’t proud. They
    >focus on the people with big titles and
    >big reputations.
    Should that be “They _don’t_ focus on”? Am I reading it wrongly?

  2. Evil ZEN Scientist January 12, 2006 at 3:52 am - Reply

    I think your number 10 point should be:
    10. The Evangelist knows their stuff. They don’t fluff or guess (see #8). The Evangelist can always be seen as the person who knows (or knows someone who knows) the answer.

  3. Amar January 12, 2006 at 6:30 am - Reply

    I think along with 1 and 2 should be “a very strong belief in the cause”. It is much easier to evangelize if you have strong conviction that your “God” is truly the God in the space you are evangelizing. Lack of belief is transparent to most people who watch you. This way even if you stumble along the way your “God” can rescue you 😉

  4. T. Alvich January 12, 2006 at 7:13 am - Reply

    Evangelists must also remember that it is all about the strategy or product, not the Evangelist.
    You are dead on with # 5. Demo’s are critical. So is socialization; “hit the pavement” Great post!

  5. Guy Kawasaki January 12, 2006 at 8:10 am - Reply

    Thanks for all these great comments. I made the changes and corrections that you suggested!

  6. Evil ZEN Scientist January 12, 2006 at 8:30 am - Reply

    Nice updates – you should write a book 🙂

  7. Kenneth Bowen January 12, 2006 at 9:27 am - Reply

    For those of us that are not in sales or marketing, how does the Evangelist role differ from Business Development or Marketing? As I read this, I was wishing that our Business Developer was more of what you’re describing here.

  8. bob c January 12, 2006 at 9:28 am - Reply

    Wonder post, Guy – the 10 points are great.
    I wonder why churches of almost all stripes gave up on having evangelist ? There are missionaries, but even in this area there is a lot of discussion of what mission is like in a post-post world. One of my fav writer Vicent Donovan talks about evangelism from the ground up, rather than the colonialist model that perpetuates the modern church and old style business.
    Thanks for the ideas here.

  9. Betsy Palmieri January 12, 2006 at 10:35 am - Reply

    I think “church” evangelists maybe got a bad name because people began to associate them with “fundamentalists.” Fundamentalists see the world in black and white. Brand evangelists may be as single-minded about a product, but the stakes aren’t so high when you’re talking about, say, a computer, versus a supreme being.
    And not many people like to be preached to, anyway.

  10. Ross January 12, 2006 at 11:14 am - Reply

    808 evangelist jobs on www.indeed.com, 5 on a random UK search engine. I guess Scoble is right and it is a US thing with not much traction in the EU.

  11. charlie January 12, 2006 at 11:16 am - Reply

    hello, guy!
    i finally had time to sit down and start reading your blog and this is the second entry i read. what a great way for me to start here.
    i read these points years ago in one (some) of your earlier books and was able to bring that enthusiasm to nokia when i was hired 5 years ago.
    i started to apply the kawasaki evangelism ideals when promoting series 60. later, i was able to put it all in action for lifeblog (i asked you about buzzagent, remember). one of my favourite evangelists turned out to be anina (anina.net) who brought her own enthusiasm and i helped her evangelize. it’s really increadible when it happens.
    i would like to think that i was the first marketing person at nokia to start to use blogs and interact with bloggers to promote a product. my attitude was driven by kawasaki evangelism philosophy.
    now ‘evangelism’ is a regular word in nokia, they are starting to learn how to participate in the conversation, finding evangelists is starting to be the norm.
    i think they still have a bit more to go, sort of understanding it in a bookish way, but not in their heart. yet.
    but, i want to thank you for sharing your thoughts (i’ve read a bunch of your books) and helping me have an insanely great time promoting our products.
    you can count on me to be a regular reader and commenter here.
    welcome to the conversation in the 21st century way.
    tchau,
    charlie

  12. Deepak January 12, 2006 at 1:32 pm - Reply

    Does being “evangelical” have to pertain to a product or service. What about a concept (such as the potential of post-genomic medicine to cure certain diseases)? Here the product or service may only exist in theory or in papers, but if someone can champion the cause, that concept may become a reality.

  13. Asam Bashir January 12, 2006 at 1:42 pm - Reply

    Great tips from da Man 😉 I’m starting today to Evangalise the formation of an open source version of VMWare. I’ve written to them today to ask if they would support such an idea. Once up and running they could always sell thier professional line of products to any enterprice customers. Anyone else interested?
    Oh, thought VMacWare sounds cool, better get off to sourceforge after this 😉

  14. Sucky Marketing Guy January 12, 2006 at 1:44 pm - Reply

    Amen, brother Guy. And, the term evangelist is in use everywhere…and I mean everywhere in the tech world. You played no small part in that.
    –Sucky Marketing Guy

  15. Betsy Palmieri January 13, 2006 at 7:28 am - Reply

    Deepak, if you haven’t read The Tipping Point yet you should. Highly relevant to evangelism…MG’s theory about who are the effective evangelists, and why.

  16. Dan McComb January 13, 2006 at 12:45 pm - Reply

    Great stuff. It makes so much sense to adopt this approach — when you actually have a cause-worthy product or service that you truly believe in. Maybe that’s why so many companies haven’t adopted this approach 🙂

  17. Paul January 13, 2006 at 3:05 pm - Reply

    Interesting find — the job trends graph below confirms this — almost all “evangelist” jobs are either technical, marketing, or software, and almost none are religious:
    http://www.indeed.com/jobtrends?q=evangelist%2Cevangelist+%28technical+OR+software+OR+marketing%29%2C+evangelist+%28church+OR+religious+OR+christian%29
    Too bad we don’t have job posting data for the past 30 years!

  18. Mario January 15, 2006 at 12:05 pm - Reply

    Inspiring ideas. Thank you.
    Do you have 10 guidelines about giving a demo?

  19. John C. Randolph January 15, 2006 at 5:27 pm - Reply

    Guy,
    Glad to see you using the word “oriental”. For the last ten years or so, obnoxious white kids have tried to jump down my throat for not saying “asian”, as if “oriental” were a pejorative.
    -jcr

  20. rags January 15, 2006 at 6:31 pm - Reply

    What do you call the people who are evangelizing for a fee? Every compnay now wants to “hire” everyday people who talk up their products. Here is one such story http://unpapier.com/blog/2005/12/12/beware-of-the-everyday-man-talking-about-a-product/
    A company called BzzAgent is providing exactly this for every business who wants everyday people to spread the word.

  21. Kirk Allen Evans' Blog January 15, 2006 at 7:01 pm - Reply

    Being an Evangelist

    Guy Kawasaki posts on The Art of Evangelism. One of the points hits close to home:
    Learn to give…

  22. Johan Lindfors January 16, 2006 at 6:17 am - Reply

    Vad r och gr en evangelist?

    Jag får ofta frågan vad just titeln evangelist betyder för mig och vad min roll på Microsoft innebär….

  23. 1 January 16, 2006 at 8:03 am - Reply

    Isn’t this just PR checklist?

  24. Betsy Palmieri January 17, 2006 at 9:35 am - Reply

    BzzAgent generated some interesting buzz at Brains on Fire a while back. Here – http://www.brainsonfire.com/blog/post228.aspx and
    here – http://www.brainsonfire.com/blog/post239.aspx.

  25. jason clark January 18, 2006 at 12:46 am - Reply

    The Art of Evangelism

    Guy Kawasaki is an author amongs, has a cool name, and a great blog, and this article is very interesting on why companies are looking for ‘evangelists’ and what evangelism might mean in that context.

  26. Steve Addison's blog World Changers January 19, 2006 at 2:39 am - Reply

    Art of a (Secular) Evangelist

    Guy Kawasaki did a job search for evangelist. He found 611 matchesand none were for churches. It seems that evangelist is now a secular, mainstream job title. Indeed, the first eight matches were for evangelist jobs…

  27. Ranjith Ramakrishnan's Blog January 24, 2006 at 7:53 pm - Reply

    Guy Kawasaki – on being an evangelist

    Guy Kawasaki had a really awesome entry on being an evangelist. Here are the core functions of an evangelist…

  28. U32 :: AcadeZine :: January 25, 2006 at 4:52 am - Reply

    here is an interesting news post

    although this is for the business world…

  29. Oliver's life on the web January 25, 2006 at 7:31 am - Reply

    Was mach ich hier eigentlich? Oder – Was ist ein Evangelist?

    Manchmal fragt man sich ja schon: “Was mach ich hier eigentlich?”, besonders wenn man am Abend vorher…

  30. Church Marketing Sucks January 26, 2006 at 2:08 pm - Reply

    The Art of Evangelism

    Guy Kawasaki, a former evangelist for Apple computers, talks about the art of evangelism. In a nutshell, what used to be a religious term has been borrowed by business. In a quirky step farther, let’s take evangelism back to the church and reapply Kawa…

  31. Business That Works - The Blog January 26, 2006 at 9:46 pm - Reply

    The Art of Viral Marketing

    Actually, the title of Guy Kawasakis post is The Art of Evangelism. He talks about it is now apparent that the word evangelist is now commonly used in the mainstream as a job title.
    Guy gives 10 points that cover the …

  32. Dan January 28, 2006 at 12:40 pm - Reply

    Very good.

  33. CodeSnipers.com February 10, 2006 at 6:59 am - Reply

    Apple Creates Evangelists

    Everyone seems to be excited about Apple’s move to reward the top contributors to their WebKit Open Source Project. They’re giving out a dozen computers, five invitations to attend Apple’s Worldwide Developer’s Conference 2006 on Apple’s dime, and probab

  34. Forrest February 21, 2006 at 5:14 am - Reply

    “One of the most likely people to buy a Macintosh was an Apple II owner.”
    Yes, there’s nothing like having your multi-thousand-dollar investment (both in money and, more importantly, time) gratuitously nullified to make a fellow want to stick with the company that did the deed.

  35. andy February 28, 2006 at 3:35 am - Reply

    Dear webmaster,
    My name is andy. And i am from china. I find your blog from google.com. And deeply impressed by your space and words, So I am very happy to exchange website link with you. our oil painting website info is as follows:
    Title:wholesale oil painting from China
    Website: http://www.jandm.cn
    Logo: http://www.jandm.cn/images/logo2.gif
    Description:J&M artwork offers beautiful oil paintings artwork and frames. Flattest price and museum quality. 100% hand made and 100% payback guarantee.
    If you would like to exchange your link with us. Please contact me and give me your site info.We will add yours soon.Thanks a lot.
    My msn is xmbeckham#hotmail.com (change # into @)
    email: jandm58#gmail.com (change # into @)
    http://www.startcom.cn/1/lover.jpg
    http://www.startcom.cn/1/magic.jpg

  36. Futurelab's Blog March 30, 2006 at 10:32 pm - Reply

    The Art of Driving Your Competition Crazy

    by: Guy Kawasaki The purpose of competition is not to beat someone down, but to bring out the best in every player. Walter Wheeler…

  37. Keith's Amusing Musings April 15, 2006 at 11:45 am - Reply

    The Art of Evangelism

    Some of you may recognize Guy Kawasaki as the Apple Computer employee responsible for marketing the seminal Macintosh computer in 1984.  He is also credited with formalizing the role of evangelists (in the secular sense of the word) in the technolog…

  38. ckkoba June 6, 2006 at 4:13 pm - Reply

    Guy Kawasaki on Evangalism

    Heh, thanks David, Im gonna steal this link and post about it now.
    Click Here
    Interesting little post by some guy named Kawasaki. Talks a bit about envangalism for a product works. Good read.

  39. entrepreneurship.de August 3, 2006 at 3:29 am - Reply

    Why should customer experience part of your business model?

    I found via Karl Longs entry in the Futurelabs blog a quite interesting article in BusinessWeek. The article introduces a lot of aspects witch should be integral part of the entrepreneurial design process. That way you can make customers to f…

  40. Marketing & Strategy Innovation Blog November 24, 2006 at 4:29 am - Reply

    Money as a Social Barrier

    By: Guy Kawasaki Check out this study by Prof. Kathleen Vohs of the University of Minnesota (Go Gophers!). She tested the hypothesis that thinking about money can create social barriers. Here is a description of what she did:…

  41. Bill Romans November 28, 2006 at 9:37 pm - Reply

    Months later I regularly come back and read this post!

  42. LIVEdigitally by Jeremy Toeman December 6, 2006 at 12:31 am - Reply

    Evangelizing Evangelism

    This coming Monday Ill be speaking on a panel entitled The Evangelist in You along with a few other technology evangelists.  For a little background on what a technology evangelist might be, read this post from Guy K…

  43. Sandra Turner December 9, 2006 at 5:58 am - Reply

    Michael Wilson

    The 1914 Mary Johnson blog

  44. Anonymous December 12, 2006 at 8:27 pm - Reply

    The Art of Evangelism

    Out of curiosity, I went to SimplyHired, a vertical search engine for jobs, and looked for openings containing the keyword evangelist. Amazingly, there were 611 matches–and none were for churches. It seems that evangelist i…

  45. .: Daniel Melanchthon :. March 20, 2007 at 3:20 pm - Reply

    Verkleinern von virtuellen Festplatten

    Eine meiner Hauptaufgaben in meinem Job bei MIcrosoft ist es, anständige Präsentationen für die Veranstaltungen,

  46. Will May 7, 2007 at 7:47 am - Reply

    The division of Campus Crusade that I work for is charged with helping churches do evangelism and discipleship better. Our main mission is to equip spiritual movements with resources to advance the Great Commission.
    Recently, we’ve developed a new outreach program for churches called “Prayer on the Porch.” It is a strategy designed to include even the less-involved church members in a form of outreach that helps move them up in their level of commitment as they experience success.
    This strategy has a new web site, also developed by Campus Crusade: www.prayerontheporch.com
    The web site includes a download of a FREE 8-page pdf Prayer on the Porch Strategy Guide, designed for leaders, and those who want to impart the vision of relational outreach.
    www.prayerontheporch.com
    Thanks!
    Will Graham
    Assoc. National Director, The Prayer on the Porch Movement
    CAMPUS CRUSADE FOR CHRIST

  47. Marnix netherlands May 18, 2007 at 7:34 am - Reply

    Look for agnostics, ignore atheists???
    i think its not a thing Jesus would do. and when I read my Bible I see dat the apostels (the first evengalistst) talked to everybody included atheists. ofcourse it is not easy to try to confince atheists but I belief it is not my duty, i know i can be used as a tool in the hands of God and if he thinks its a good idea that the atheists starts to belief, it will happen. and if the atheists choses te ignore the things you said, it does’nt feel good but you did what you could, and after that its in Gods hand. but when you talk to atheists you should’nt think about a product that’s gonna give new meaning in his/her life, but a faith that’s gonna break this persons way of live and rebuild a whole new life Gbu marnix

  48. MS MossyBlog May 20, 2007 at 11:13 pm - Reply

    The Art of Evangelism

    I was just talking to Ryan Stewart, whom has accepted a new role with Adobe , as one of their Evangelists

  49. LOL July 7, 2007 at 11:14 pm - Reply

    Amazing post. Seriously.

  50. Jeff Solomon August 10, 2007 at 12:14 pm - Reply

    Great stuff of course; I read you blog but hadn’t seen this until someone commented on my blog about the need for an evangelist.

  51. Marketing & Strategy Innovation Blog September 8, 2007 at 1:31 pm - Reply

    The Art of Driving Your Competition Crazy

    by: Guy Kawasaki The purpose of competition is not to beat someone down, but to bring out the best in every player. Walter Wheeler…

  52. Getting Started September 20, 2007 at 2:26 pm - Reply

    Guy Kawawaki on the Art of Evangelism

    Guy came to talk to our team of evangelists this morning. He and Dan’l Lewin worked at Apple together

  53. Marie October 10, 2007 at 3:48 am - Reply

    Great Post!

  54. Marketing & Strategy Innovation Blog October 23, 2007 at 4:43 am - Reply

    Money as a Social Barrier

    By: Guy Kawasaki Check out this study by Prof. Kathleen Vohs of the University of Minnesota (Go Gophers!). She tested the hypothesis that thinking about money can create social barriers. Here is a description of what she did:…

  55. FrankPr's [email protected] Th0ughts March 13, 2008 at 3:45 am - Reply

    Was macht eigentlich ein “Technical Evangelist”?

    Missionieren? Naja, nicht im eigentlichen Sinne… Die Berufsbezeichnung “Evangelist”, die meine Kollegen

  56. Noticias externas March 13, 2008 at 4:16 am - Reply

    Was macht eigentlich ein “Technical Evangelist”?

    Missionieren? Naja, nicht im eigentlichen Sinne… Die Berufsbezeichnung Evangelist, die

  57. ActiveHire May 5, 2016 at 8:08 am - Reply

    Hello there Guy Kawasaki! Just like to add there are lot more job opening for Evangelist at ActiveHire.com. More than 1.3 millions of active job posted.

Leave A Comment