In order to engage coalition members, you have to know them. What are their interests? Where are their passions? Do they have capacity to participate in your work groups or teams? The more you can understand your coalition members and what is important to them, the better you can engage them in the coalition. It is amazing what you can learn when you take some time to ask a few questions and listen to your coalition members. Join me this week as I provide three steps you can take to get to know your coalition members in interests and capacity.
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The first step in better understanding your coalition members is to ask questions. You may ask questions during a virtual meeting, breakout room, electronic survey or a one-on-one conversation. While you don’t have to use every method, you do want to find what works for you to get to know your coalition members. Ask about the coalition member and the organization that member represents. Be curious and apply one of my favorite Stephen Covey principles, Seek first to understand, then be understoodⓇ.
Pay attention to what they are telling you. Focus on their perspective and context. Watch their non-verbal communication. Notice when they get excited. Recognize when they appear overwhelmed. Take notes. Ask clarifying questions. Focus on their answers more than your responses. When you actively listen, you show them that they are important to you and your coalition.
Take immediate action. Share resources that align with their interests. Connect them to a new partner. Follow-up with a “thank you” for their time. Identify common themes among coalition members. Translate those common themes into new work plan objectives for the coalition.
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This is an ongoing process. Implement one approach and see what you learn. If it doesn’t work, then try something different. As long as you are asking, listening and applying, you are creating an environment for engagement.
So what about you? What has worked for you in getting to know your coalition members’ interests and capacity?