Engagement can be a four-letter word

Are you focused on engagement? 

Honestly, I am just not into the level of commitment, control & manipulation “engagement” requires.

 

I hate the word engagement. 

No, I am not talking about pre-wedding engagements, I am talking about social media engagement, group engagement, customer engagement. 

In business, we hear this word a lot and it has this connotation of right and wrong. If you have a lot of engagement in your group or social media following or your website or your email list, you are doing well. If you don’t have engagement, well, you better get some.


Can we please reframe this whole concept? 

Let’s just start by looking at the definition of engage. I have to say I was pretty surprised at all the definitions around this word. Here are a few:

> to entangle or entrap in or as if in a snare or bog

> to attract and hold by influence or power

> to bind (someone, such as oneself) to do something (this is where marriage comes in)

> to hold the attention of

> to induce to participate

> to enter into contest or battle with

> to make a guarantee

And engagement is the act of engaging, or the state of being engaged.


“To engage” feels pretty exhausting, whether you are the engager or the engaged. 😀

There is pressure, a tie, a rope pulling us to engage and pulling others to engage with us. 

As a business owner, the idea of “engagement” goes against my ethical marketing commitment. I am not here to entangle, manipulate or induce participation in my potential clients or my actual clients.


As I often say, you are a grown-ass woman! 

You have agency and sovereignty over your life and business. You decide what to do with your time, attention & effort. 

Would I like to offer an opportunity & space for connection? Would I like to develop more intimate connections with my community, clients & potential clients? Hell, yes. 

But this is not the same idea we have around the word engagement.


The business world focuses on engagement as the measure for success because it is still holding a patriarchal measuring stick.
 

It is looking at numbers without context and volume or quantity without quality. 

But how often as a business owner are you scrambling for engagement (quantity) and not really thinking about creating authentic and intimate connections (quality)? 

This reminds me of the obsession with big email lists & huge social media followings.

Numbers honestly don’t matter and neither does engagement in the way we often think of it. 

You can have an email list with 100 amazing connections that create more sales for you than an email list of 10,000 that are engaged but not buying. 

I have seen too many Instagram accounts with millions of followers who are all engaged and yet the account owner makes zero in sales. 

What really matters is authentic connection.
What matters is how your clients, potential clients & community FEELS about you.
What matters is that you are making the connection between what you offer and what they need.


It isn’t about entertaining them or getting them to be the dancing monkey!  

Sometimes the way we frame engagement feels like a dancing monkey – we are trying to perform and we are trying to get others to perform. 

This is a longer conversation, but I wanted to offer a seed of contemplation.

Do you really need more engagement? Do you want to be the person scrambling for engagement? Or can we just re-frame this whole concept and look at who we are authentically connecting with?

Are we out there trying to get engagement to prove our worth? 

Food for thought.

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About Sonya Stattmann

Sonya spent the last 21 years helping thousands of leaders create more ease, alignment & success in their lives, work & business. Her personal development & leadership programs offer individuals permanent & lasting transformation that has a ripple effect on all areas of their lives. Her corporate speaking & leadership workshops transform organizations. She has two podcasts and a TEDx talk called Moving Beyond #Empowerment. She is currently traveling around the world with her husband and two children.

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