The semantics of engagement

I’ve been mulling over the past couple conferences I’ve attended.

I have a history of getting really, really annoyed at people who use pedantic semantics, rather than new ideas or thinking, to get attention.

For example, I saw a presentation where a speaker made a big point that “We need more than engagement — we need involvement.”

As if he defined both terms.  Don’t know about you, but my definition of ‘engagement’ includes involvement, and much, much more.

Yet these people think they are making a some insightful point or inspiring a revelation. (And don’t get me started about the whole mindless “Is engagement a good term?” debate.  Same thing, different day.).

Like “two way communication.”  90% of the people I hear who use this term are actually talking about one way communication with a feedback mechanism bolted on.  Not the same thing.  See? Anyone can do it.

And presentations that present THE ANSWER. 

“You have to get senior leadership support.”

“The key is creating a dialogue.”

“You must measure your effectiveness.”

I know that these angles all help differentiate providers and points of view … but it’s really all these things, alone or in combination depending on the circumstances.  I guess the problem is, not many people have the breadth of vision and/or relevant skill to be able to manage and field more than a small cross section of these approaches.  Without a big team or a lot of agency support…

And then you usually get the American presenter who feels qualified to lecture on “cultural awareness” and societal/corporate cultural relativism … after they spent like a month in Berlin, or something.  Or six months in London.

Maybe I’ve got enough water under my bridge and experience around the world across challenges, cultures and industries that I can comfortably say “been there, done that.” 

Then, maybe, I can be an internal communication rock star and swear a lot like Steve Crescenzo.

Just need to keep making more noise, Kevin.

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