Part 2 in a series on Engagement
This is a series of thoughts on how to be more engaging with the community around us, either through kites, or just in life in general. These are just my thoughts on what has worked and hasn't worked for me. I am open to thoughts, commentary, suggestions, critiques, etc... shoot me an email at kiteflyingpres @ gmail.com .
Be Brief, Be Short, Give a Taste
Continuing in my series about engagement, I am going to suggest another critical part of how to be more engaging. Engagement is in a way synonymous with consumption. (using of resource kind, not the Tuberculosis kind :) ) When we are engaging in something, we are in a way consuming that thing. More like that thing is consuming our attention, but, just play along with the thought for a second.
In order for us to want to 'eat' that thing, it needs to be appealing, it needs to be tasty! That first bite needs to be enticing, it needs to be intriguing, it needs to make us want to eat more, or our interest is lost and we stop eating it. Engagement is that first taste, not the whole meal. It is small, it is tasty, it doesn't fill your belly. So to, engagement should be brief and short, and tasty enough to make us desire to learn more and eat the full meal.
Let me take a second to stop and say that I do believe there is value in slapping down the full feast of what you have to offer in front of someone. Giving them more than the taste, giving them the 'whole cow' instead of a glass of milk. But, like everything, there is a place and time for the whole cow, and I feel like a trap that we fall into somewhat often is believing that this is the way, all the times, all of the occasions. I don't want the cow when I have a plate of cookies. :)
By the way, I love food.... and realize that a lot of my metaphors and analogies are food based. So apologies if reading this leaves you feeling a bit hungry, I know I am.
When it comes to engaging with people online or in person, that 'little taste of whats to come' approach has been the one that has worked best for me. I don't want to tell people how they are going to experience something, or lay out the journey ahead for them. I simply want to connect them with the idea then let them discover where it leads them. This is best embodied at the Makers Faire events I have been doing. Where as at a traditional 'kite building event' we sit down with the participants and discuss kites, how we are building the kite, how kites fly, some history about kites, etc... Whereas at the Maker Events, I have maybe a minute to get the passerby interested in a kite, and may have their attention at the booth for 5-10 minutes (on average). There are always the outliers, the folks that will be there for 20-30 minutes, hyper focused on detailing their kite, or asking questions about kinds of kites, flight characteristics, and other minutiae. Generally tho, I have just enough time to engage them, and guide them on how to build their kite, then encourage them to go fly. I don't want them to experience their kite flying journey at my booth, I want them to simply take the first step. The goal is to get them out there flying, crashing, tweaking, rebuilding, flying again, and doing all of it on repeat. This can only happen when I give them the first little taste and let them do the rest.