The Spectrum of Engagement

Welcome to Get Gotten. This series explains and explores the ultimate form of engagement—Resonance. Each entry in this series includes an explanation of a key concept that helps you build resonance with the people you seek to engage. I also provide an application for the concept that you can put into practice. If you haven’t already, sign up for my mailing list to have this series delivered directly to your inbox.

We all want to engage people. Whether we’re trying to get another individual or team on board with our initiative, or we’re trying reach our customers, clients, and stakeholders, we have the same goal in mind — engagement.
But engagement is not engagement is not engagement. 

Merely getting someone’s attention isn’t sufficient. Without knowing it we can settle for something less than the kind of engagement that truly affects the people we want to reach.

Engagement exists on a spectrum. At the beginning of my free ebook, The Narrative Thinking Framework, I include The Spectrum of Engagement. In it I highlight five kinds of engagement.

The Spectrum of Engagement arose from a conversation I had more than fifteen years ago with a small group of teenagers in which they raved about a motivational speaker that came to their high school. He used humor and powerful stories to sustain the attention of hundreds of high school students for about an hour. Not an easy task.

This is why I was surprised when they said they weren’t moved at all by the speaker’s message. They were just entertained. In other words, the speaker, though he was able to keep their attention, fell short of resonance.

Resonance is the experience of getting gotten by another person. 

Resonance can take place directly between people, such as an exceptional customer experience at a restaurant. We can also experience resonance through the things we use each day, like an easy-to-use app that alleviates stress during our daily commute. Thank you, Waze!

Everything you do, say, and make communicates something. This means that everything is an opportunity to create resonance. But in order for people to get gotten you need to understand them at least as well as they understand themselves. Your ability to create resonance depends on it. 

Simply put, the way you communicate reveals how well you know and care for the people you seek to engage.

So how well do you know the people you’re trying to reach? And how can you know them better?

A simple question can yield deep insights. One question that I ask in my Unfocus Groups is:

What do you consider a good day?

Pose this question, or one like it, to the people you’re trying to engage. You’ll gain insights that help you deepen your connection with them and make it more likely that they will get that you get them.

Resonance is the most transformative kind of engagement. Remember the motivational speaker I mentioned? Don’t be satisfied with getting people's’ attention. We can do better.

Let’s put this into practice.

  1. Select the person or group of people you most want to engage.
  2. Rate your knowledge of this audience on a scale of 1 to 5, where 1 is “I hardly know them” and 5 is “I know them very well”.
  3. Identify one thing you can do to deepen your understanding of your audience.
  4. Identify one thing you can do to communicate that you know your audience.

Let me know how this goes, or if you have any questions. And if you haven’t already, sign up for my mailing list to receive the next entry in the Get Gotten series.