Graphic: Ron Mader, Levels of Engagement (Some rights reserved)

Engagement = Meaningful interaction

One of the greatest challenges for those working in conservation, tourism, economic development, job creation is that of engagement – how to communicate, interact. Often we need to listen and express ourselves to locals and outsiders. Sometimes this task seems insurmountable as there is always fatigue over the rough patches. Avoiding such fill-in-the-blank 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 multiple engagement strategies as much as any communication strategy. How will we collaborate? How do we co-create enabling environments?

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 and be engaging.

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?

Technical Tips

Note to publishers, institutions, companies, authors: Just because we link to your website does not mean we want to be on your mailing list or email blast. There are other, more rewarding ways to connect and engage.

Instead of the mailing list and email blast, what are the alternatives that don’t annoy the recipient:

Updating one’s social web accounts. Make time for cyber housekeeping.


2 thoughts on “Engagement

  1. Dear Ron Mader and team
    Greetings from the Asian Ecotourism Network. I am writing on behalf of the Chairperson of AEN and wanted to find out ways that AEN can engage with your organization. We are a network of 17 Asian Pacific countries working towards ecotourism promotion through our programmes. For more on us, please visit http://www.asianecotourism.org. Please let us know how we can engage and reciprocate towards better and conscious travels.

    Thank you
    Tshering Lhamtshok (Ms)
    Administration Manager

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