Getting Over Yourself to Influence this Generation

Stop Marketing and Start Engaging

Part of the intense facilitation/speaking training that I acquired through my three years working with QLN, was a deeper understand of their core tenets. Two tenets that still stick heavily with me today in the work I do with training staff, faculty, and administration on leveraging social media for increased student engagement are called, “The Prime Directive” and “Rapport vs Influence.”

Let me step back before moving on with the QLN tenets.

Rejection to “this generation’s technology” is a common reaction that comes up during almost every training. The frequency has dropped over the past seven years, but it still exists. Through the rejection, comes anger and frustration that spills over to cover a plethora of topics. At this point in a training is usually when I introduce our “Reaction to Technological Change” chart to help put the anger in perspective.

Then I go on a mini rant to say how it doesn’t work to stay angry or frustrated at Facebook, Twitter, Texting, or Google+ because it’s the world this generation is living in. By rejecting their world, you are rejecting them, and they need you. They need you to show them your morals. They need you to show them your values. They need you to show them your traditions. They need you to help them be better people in this world. After all, that is your job as an educator. And you won’t be allowed to influence them unless you have rapport with them, which brings me back to the two QLN tenets.

  • The Prime Directive
  • Rapport vs Influence

The end goal of an educator is to influence an individual in such a way that they become better citizens of the world. Influence is like currency that you spend on someone that they gave to you, and the way to increase your “Influence Currency” is by building a relationship with the individual. As you build the relationship, they will give you more “Influence Currency” that you can turn around and hand back to them in the form of influence. So the question then becomes, how do you build rapport with someone?

Building rapport with someone comes down to showing that you are interested and care about an individual and the world they live in. It doesn’t mean you have to live in their world, just be interested and curious. You go into their world to build the relationship, then you bring them back to your world to spend some of your “Influence Currency” to give them your values, morals, and traditions. Then you send them back into their world to be better citizens in THEIR world, not yours. Theirs to ours, ours to theirs.

I understand anger in terms of the “Reactions to Technological Change” chart above, but if your goal is to better connect with this generation, then staying angry or frustrated won’t work. It’s time to reach past the CNN headline and open up your curiosity door to see what their world is really like, so you can increase your “Influence Currency.”

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