At a recent conference, I had the opportunity to experience a session entitled Messaging for a New Era hosted by Jennifer Edwards, a self-styled dancer-storyteller-strategist-facilitator. I encourage you to check out her work at: www.jened.com.
The concept behind the session was that macro changes are facing us all, so we need to rethink the way we make connections and communicate. The trends that will affect marketers in the arts and events world are varied, starting with the fact the tax deductibility of charitable donations will no longer resonate with anyone except the highest donors on our lists (a trend we’ve already seen at many shops).
More importantly to us in the event business is the trend towards the gig economy for those workers in high paying tech, design and creative jobs. These highly desirable individuals will make decision-making on behalf of our organizations more unpredictable than ever before as the 40-hour per week 9-5 office hours we have dealt with for so long, will no longer be the same. Decisions will be made at the last minute and audiences showing up at unexpected times. Are you ready for these changes coming your way?
We should all prepare for the evolution.
However, the most enlightening part of the conversation was an exercise I encourage you to try on your own. (Note: I’m not usually one for enjoying this type of engagement session, but this was one of the best I’ve experienced).
We started by answering all three basic questions:
What makes you feel safe?
What makes you feel heard?
What makes you feel valued?
We continued on by answering the following questions:
How does your organization invite others in to help tell your story?
How can you improve that invitation?
How can you invite those individuals to help share your story?
Furthermore we were challenged to think:
Who can you tap to service the biases you have to certain projects?
We’ve heard so much over time about story telling, but I am a firm believer that you need to be listening to others and amplifying their voice in telling your story. Some of the most successful and satisfying work I’ve been doing recently is because we have engaged the audience and others in their feedback.
Being curious about all of the elements on how to create opportunities is step one and learning from others outside of your normal sphere of influence allows your work and it’s results to blossom.
Empathy and truly listening to those whose voice you haven’t been hearing is a dynamic combination to help you be more mindful in building the bridge to meaningful engagement. This type of engagement is at the core of successful marketing and communications.