(Hi all - I finally figured out how to post! Yes, I am that naive about social technology. Apologies for this going up so late!)
“Losing control. Emotions take over, and you have to go along with it.”
“Everything else falls away.”
“You feel like you have the strength to do anything, no barriers can get in your way.”
“You can’t imagine life without that person.”
“It’s losing yourself. It’s not a moment, it’s a whole nebulous thing in here. You lose yourself.”
“Total inability to express in words.”
These are just a few of the snippets I wrote down as people in class answered the question, “What does falling in love mean to you?” (who thought we would ever be quasi-cold-called to answer this question in a GSB class?). In Friday’s class, we talked about what it means to get people to truly engage with your cause or idea . . . how do you get people to “fall in love” with it? In the grab attention, engage, and take action framework, engaging requires that your idea becomes personally meaningful to your audience. It evokes emotion. When people are personally captivated by your cause, they are excited enough to share it with others and use their own networks to draw a wider circle of people to your cause.
“You don’t see any of the negatives.”
We also discussed the importance of authenticity when you are asking people to engage. If you are successful in grabbing attention and enticing people to become personally vested in your cause, the consequences of disappointing these people are significant. It can be dangerous to get people excited about an idea that isn’t authentic, or with promises that cannot be met. (I like to think about this in terms of having a hook - it’s great to have sexy hook that grabs attention, but if your hook isn’t attached to a fish, then you will quickly lose the affinity of your audience.). We talked about the Dove self-esteem campaign and how social technology can play a role in keeping companies (like Dove’s parent company, Unilever) and individuals honest.
“The process is different between falling in love and being in love.”
“You just feel really happy with that person. Pure and calm.”
“Nervous energy combined with a calming, grounding feeling.”
Once you have people engaged, another piece of getting people to stay in love with your cause is to listen. What do people want? What do they care about? What does this issue mean to them? How do you acknowledge peoples’ voices so that they can continue to believe in your idea and remain personally engaged? Jennifer shared a great tidbit about how simply acknowledging what you have heard from others and confirming their feelings can defuse anger and calm them down. This leaves room for people to problem-solve on their own.
“It’s like a pot of bubbling water with the lid on.”
“Intrigued. You want to learn more, go deeper.”
“You start to think bigger than yourself.”
I think a key to getting people to both fall in love and stay in love with your issue is to make sure you have a quick 1-2-3 punch with grabbing attention, engaging, and taking action. After they have turned their attention to your cause, people need a way to immediately connect to your idea in a personally meaningful way (it’s interesting, but why does it matter to them?). And once you’ve drawn them in, then you have to think about how and when to continue to keep them engaged. This naturally leads to the need to provide ways that people can turn their new energy around your topic into taking action.