This morning I attended a networking event and I’ll admit I was not looking forward to the presentation portion. It was on a topic that I did NOT care about nor did I have an interest in.
But it turned out to be one of the best ones I’ve attended! The topic of the presentation got my attention, I actively listened, and I opened myself up to a new way of thinking. What was the factor that got me engaged?
It was the speaker.
She did not possess a mythic charisma, a polished sales pitch, a winning slide deck (in fact, it sorta blew), or line everything up for us in a nice bulleted outline. She just spoke from her heart about her product and showed us what it meant to her.
Her magic formula: she cared about her topic.
She cared about her product, her business, and most importantly how it could make her audience’s lives better. She didn’t sell, she shared her excitement. In Marketing-speak you might say she ‘evangelized’ to make believers out of us.
I would say she did a good job. She was engaged about the topic, engaged with us, and got us engaged with her.
“Engagement” is just shorthand for ‘do you care’?
If you care, you’ll be engaged. If you’re engaged, you show you care. Others see that and pick up on it. Even if you don’t win them over, they can’t say you don’t care.
Emotions are essential to our human psyche and they matter. They’re as important to us as breathing. To be alive is to feel. So why regard them as something to be avoided. If you think emotions are something that doesn’t belong in the business world then you’re missing out on a much bigger picture. They are more than “no crying at work” – they’re the piece that will give you an edge you might be missing.
Ignore emotions at your peril. If you’re smart, you’ll harness their positive energy and get others to join in.
Engage by showing that you give a damn.