Engagement literally means a bond. Well, you can only create a bond if both people play their part in the process, and you can only play your part if you’re invited to do so.

The opposite of an invitation is information. This is where you are not invited to participate, but instead expected to understand.

Many engagement efforts fail because they are not an invitation, they are information.

  • A great presentation, for instance, is an invitation to go on a journey together through the talk. A poor one is simply information, and thus death by powerpoint, while the only thing the audience is actually engaging with is their phone.
  • A great employer invites the staff to engage with the company’s mission. A poor one simply informs the staff what to do.
  • A great stakeholder initiative invites those same people to co-create the project. A poor stakeholder initiative tells people what is going to happen with leaflets continuing information.

Communication is what the first stage of engagement is about. Organisationally, it’s about the discipline of messaging and communication, through the various human, digital and offline channels: it is the outbound part of engagement.

If your engagement efforts are failing, it’s possible that you aren’t inviting people, you’re just informing them.

To turn it around, try this simple tip: ask a question.

Did that work for you?