How do we engage people? Teams? Employees? Customers? Citizens? Detractors? Those who don’t seem to listen? Those who think differently? Those who don’t seem to click on our links and respond to our messages? Those ‘difficult’ people who seem to be working against the team?

We engage them as PEOPLE, like we would any person over a cup of coffee (or for the season, glass of mulled wine). Because all engagement is just scaled up versions of how we engage someone in conversation.

And if that isn’t clear, then when can ask more deeply, how would WE want to be engaged? (The golden rule strikes again!) – and certainly, we ALL want to be treated like a human – an actual, living, breathing human being.

Because as this wonderful scene tells us, we are not machines, and we are not cattle. We are people:


This seems obvious. It seems like common sense.

And we all know have those in mind that we’d easily criticise for NOT treating people like PEOPLE, but instead like CATTLE. It’s the General Election in the UK after all, and it is all too often the domain of politics to villanize the OTHER, and make them seem less than a caring person.


It isn’t always common practice.


Because when ANY (yes any) of us becomes stressed, tired, frustrated, too busy, hemmed in external restraints, pushed to make quick decisions, when we are disconnected from being our centred saved, we ALL begin to treat other people a little less like people with their own idiosyncrasies and beating hearts, and instead treat them a bit more like machines who just need to get in line.

I do it with my kids when they have again left a mess in the house, before I remind myself that they are only 8 or 6 or 3.

We do it with colleagues when they don’t respond the way we want, or voice a concern, or push back against something, right when we’re in the thick of it.

And we certainly do it with customers and audiences, who we can too easily stress out over by screaming “Why don’t they respond!”


The point is that people are human. And when we aren’t getting the engagement that we want, we all do well to bring it back down to where engagement begins – a conversation.

Are you finding a colleague difficult? Have a face-to-face chat with them. (Mind blowing, I know! Yet how many leaders are there out there trying to reason with people over endless emails?)

Finding customers aren’t clicking? Have a face-to-face chat with them.

Feeling like a friend isn’t listening? Have a face-to-face chat with them.

Don’t email. Don’t text. And please don’t do it on social media. Here’s what you do:

Slow down, and talk with them, FACE. TO. FACE. Because we aren’t machines. We’re people.

Happy Holidays 🙂