We may be the busiest, most distracted species on the planet. But strip away our phones, our houses, and our machines, and we are just people, hardwired to connect.
In fact, human beings are made for connection. Neurobiology tells us that our brains are full of mirror neurons—little pieces of brain magic that allow us to match a person’s emotional state as we’re interacting with them (you feel inspired, I feel inspired; you are worried, I am worried). With each beat, our hearts literally send out signals of connection that are actually able to be measured.
Step back from biology and look to the heavens, and the science of connection gets even weirder. In fact, the very universe in which we live seems to be held together by strange phenomena, where particles at opposite ends of the universe are entangled and mirror each other—what Albert Einstein famously called “spooky action at a distance”. (We’re not making this up! Watch the wonderful Tom Shadyac documentary I Am for the most concise discussion of human connection we’ve ever seen!)
Forget biology and theoretical physics, and just look at technology.
And social media has added another layer of connection—every new portal built with the promise of better and better ways to connect us.
We are itching to connect. At every moment.
And yet, for associations, there is so much disconnection happening—right in front of you. Even as your members’ hearts are sending out signals, hoping to be mirrored and entangled, the loop isn’t making its way back. Even as you use the very technology built to connect the human race, there is more and more disconnection. The loop is broken.
We know exactly why it’s broken. You won’t like the answer. You probably won’t even believe us at first. But we’ve seen too much and been in this industry long enough to know that there is no way it isn’t the answer.
The answer is that your association is afraid. Terribly, terribly afraid. Which means that when you reach out to members with your marketing, more often than not, you are operating from fear. And fear will cause disconnection every time.
Let’s Back Up: This Isn’t a Blame Game
The most helpful thing to do as we begin this discussion is to remove blame and judgment from the equation. We’re not passing judgment on your association, or finger pointing. This fear business has mutated its way into the DNA of the association industry, and no one person or association caused it.
We want to help your association—truly. We’re not interested in calling you names and making you feel like crap. But we can’t help if we also operate from a place of fear, and only tell you what you want to hear. In these last few years, we’ve been aligning more and more with truth telling. And now, we’re taking it to a new level by calling your association on its fear (which also means confronting our own, since our livelihood depends on you and your industry colleagues hiring us).
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