Is your audience invited to the party?
How many ads, messages, emails, communications, articles, posts and promotions go by unnoticed, or barely noticed? Why are you not interested? Why are you not engaged? Of course you are not in the market for everything. So the timing might be wrong.
But setting aside those things you may actually need (or desperately want), how does your mind choose what to ignore or what to engage?
Well, let’s give engagement a quick review. Engagement is defined as, “an arrangement to do something or go somewhere at a fixed time.” What’s required of that arrangement is a request by one party for the participation of another party. An invitation. And with any invitation, it’s assumed that the invited will receive a reward.
So any time you want engagement with an audience, you must put out an invitation for participation. In essence, you must say, please come and play with us, there’s something fun in it for you. Unlike a real party, this one is thrown in the audience’s mind. A real party has party favors as a reward. At this party, the reward is problem solving and game-winning satisfaction. Connecting the dots, putting together the puzzle, solving the mystery… why do you think the most successful long-running shows on TV are about solving problems (crime, mystery, science, relationships, etc.)? We love it.
So, invite your audience into your work. Let them do part of the work to bring resolution to the messages – resolution in feeling and resolution in focus – both can be gained by creating space for the audience to participate.
This means letting questions be unanswered. Or using open ended scenarios that need subjective resolve. Or painting a picture without the main subject, so the audience can take that role. It’s leaving something out of a design or adding space to a layout, so that it causes further questions or thought, and communicates reaching deeper cerebral activity.
Who are you inviting to the party? What will get them excited about coming? Are you expecting them to bring something to help complete the party? Did you plan something fun, interesting, daring or meaningful for your party – expecting each person who comes to get something from the experience?
Do you do all those things with the communications you craft? You should.
Human’s are programmed for cognitive problem-solving. We do it automatically and almost constantly on many levels. Whether deciding which route to take to work, or how to solve poverty. As our mind gets engaged with an idea, we improve our ability to recall and access those connections when needed. Think about something more, and it’s easier to remember and make further connections. Making connections is like an extension of any idea that makes it easier to trace back. Like leaving popcorn in your path. When an idea spurs many connections, there are more points of reference back to that idea. Making it easier to find in the vast number of messages roaming our minds.
So back to the party. If your communication is the party, make it inviting. Give the audience reason to come and enjoy the challenge of resolving the concept with you. And when they do, make sure they take away something rewarding. Even if it’s just a satisfied smile.