Birddogging Dr. Yunus!

January 26, 2013
by Katy Marshall

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I was feeling pumped—just had a photo-op with none other than Muhammad Yunus and was looking forward to him powerfully emboldening the masses to join the growing number of everyday people who speak up against hunger and poverty.  I was at the Alabama Social Business Forum, and my mission was to meet, engage, and recruit new RESULTS members.  Naturally in this case, a glowing endorsement from Dr. Yunus would do me well and I was exhilarated to hear that he was willing to do so. 

“But what’s this?” I thought—no emboldening the masses, no mentioning of RESULTS in his keynote speech?  It appeared that in a sea of hundreds of requests that afternoon, mine had unfortunately slipped his mind.

A little dismayed, I nonetheless was determined not to leave without a resounding endorsement of the kind.  Serendipitously, there was one last opportunity: the question & answer period. 

The puzzle then became, how do I ask a question that prompts him to share about RESULTS in a way that doesn’t seem so obvious?  Fortunately RESULTS equipped me with the skills of birddogging: the art of asking questions to elicit a desired response.  Guests were asked to submit their questions in writing.  So I wrote: “In what way has grassroots lobbying contributed to the success of microfinance and what advice would you give those who would like to become microfinance advocates?”  To which Professor Yunus immediately chuckled and responded, “I know exactly where this question is coming from; it’s coming from RESULTS! Will the RESULTS members here please stand up?”  He went on to say that RESULTS does wonderful things to help those living in poverty, and those interested should by all means visit our booth. 

When Dr. Yunus didn’t endorse RESULTS initially, part of me felt like giving up and thought there was nothing else I could do. As someone who is normally shy and timid, I always say that it’s because of RESULTS that I now have gumption in moments like these.  RESULTS gave me confidence when I had little. All of us, introverts and extraverts alike, have it within us to become bold. To stand up unapologetically for what we believe and be persistent, because as RESULTS teaches us, persistence usually pays off.


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