Graphic: Ron Mader, Levels of Engagement (2017)
Engagement = Meaningful interaction
One of the greatest challenges for those working in conservation and tourism, economic development and job creation is that of engagement – how to communicate, interact and listen to locals and how to avoid fatigue over the rough patches. Avoiding engagement fatigue is critical if we wish to encourage sustainable practices.
Engagement (aka ‘meaningful interaction’) needs to be central to our work, not an add-on. We need an engagement strategy as much as any communication strategy. How will we collaborate?
We can come to agreements easily enough but getting work done requires collaboration and continuity that is often missing in a world with a short attention span. How many aspirational documents do not deliver practical actions?
If we want meaningful change, we have to engage.
At a personal level, it’s being mindful and empathetic. Just how do we achieve a creative, passionate and storied participation in the world? If we don’t factor long-term continuity or sustainability into the equation, it will be impossible to create buy in. Activism yes, but it needs to be a sustained activisim. A ‘click here’ and ‘support the cause’ mentality — aka ‘clickvitism’ — is not the same as building long-term relationships. It’s important to be responsive rather than being opportunistic.
So we ask … how do you measure your engagement in activities organized by others and how you try to engage others in your work? We’d like to consider whether engagement (online and off) can be measured. Are we missing the mark by waiting for good things to be served up on a platter instead of going out and improving the relations and experiences shared with others?