We all have issues and activities that we’d like to engage others in doing. If you’re running an afterschool program for kids, you might want to engage them in the activity of learning. If you’re leading a protest at the school board meeting, you might want to engage students and parents in concept of school reform. If you’re teaching a high school class in robotics, you might want to engage students in the topic of robotic engineering.
Before you can do that, though, people have to know they’re capable of becoming engaged. While that sounds like a “duh” for some folks, a lot of us haven’t considered that there are people who just don’t know they can be- or currently are- engaged with anything. I define engagement as anything a person has sustained connection to outside of themselves. This definition isn’t about commitment or consciousness or intention; it’s simply about identifying the sustainability of connections.
Following are ten questions about personal engagement to ask folks before asking them to become engaged in your issue or activities.
- What do you feel most strongly about in your life?
- What do you like to do when you have time to do it?
- Who do you like to spend the most time with?
- When does your connection to other things feel the strongest?
- What do you feel most connected to outside yourself?
- How does it feel when you’re connected to things outside you?
- Who are the people you feel most connected to?
- What are the topics or issues you feel most connected to?
- What difference does your connection make to the world around you?
- When do your connections feel strongest?
There are a lot of questions we could ask, and a lot of different directions they could go. To help people think critically about their engagement, you might ask, “When have you disengaged at the exact moment your engagement was needed?” To help people think positively about their engagement, you might ask, “How does your personal connection to other things connect with other peoples’ connections to make a difference in the world?”
Asking questions is a great way to build ownership in the topic of engagement. What would you like to engage with today?