I told the world (well, I posted on social media some months ago that I’m working on a book called ‘Let’s Get Engaged’. While the research and writing is taking longer than anticipated (no surprise there), it’s good that people are asking me how it’s going and when they might see a copy, as it’s keeping me on my toes and forcing me to keep focus on what could otherwise be a slightly overwhelming project.
Apart from ‘how’s the book going?’, the other question I’m hearing a lot is ‘why engagement?’ – closely followed by ‘and what do you mean by engagement?’
A lot of people have assumed I’m writing about social media (I’ll certainly be covering it in the book but it’s not the main focus) as that’s the sphere where the word ‘engagement’ has really become a buzzword – but I think we can take what we’ve learned from social media about engaging with audiences, and apply it to other forms of business communication.
Engagement to me is about two-way communication. ANY business communication should aim to be the start of a two-way process – or to put is succinctly – the start of a conversation. That conversation may be with customers, or prospective customers, or people who don’t know you at all (yet) or even with your staff and team, but to get a response of any kind, it HAS to be engaging – and it has to be two-way.
The easiest way to start engagement? Ask a question. A question invites or even requires an answer – which means not only are you into a conversation but you now know something about the person you’re talking to.
There’s a caveat, however. If someone is asking questions, someone has to answer them. When was the last time you answered someone’s question on social media or in their email newsletter? Not all questions are rhetorical – and if you can’t be bothered to answer other people’s questions, why should they answer yours? Why should they engage with you if you won’t engage with them?
Anyone willing to answer those questions?!