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Human Engagement

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The following is a lecture from my Engagement class. A student asked me to make it a blog so that she could easily share it with her students.  Simple request – so here it is.

The purpose of this lecture was to help people better understand how and why engagement works, using a human to human example.  If you don’t understand Engagement and would like to have a clue, simply search this blog for the word “engagement.”  You’ll find a lot to work with.  If you would like to follow this concept in greater depth, go ahead and join me in the class I’m teaching this term – registration is still open:  Engagement. This class will not run again until next year.

Human Engagement lecture:

You go to a party.  You see a person across the room and you would like to talk to them.

 You go to chat with them, walk up, introduce yourself and start a conversation.  That is Stage 1 – you’re doing all the work – they just receive your attention.

At some point that conversation ends and a half hour later, you find yourself looking in that person’s direction again.  You’d like to talk to them but you don’t know if they would like to talk to you.  You look over and they look up at you.  One of several things happens.

  1. They don’t see you and look right past. (you’re not even on the radar – environment too hard or they are actively ignoring you). Rejecting stage 2.

  2. They see you, smile/nod briefly and continue their gaze to another place in the room (you’re on the radar and they are being polite but they do not want to talk to you) – Rejecting stage 2

  3. They see you, make eye contact and smile.  But they don’t move.  You’re feeling bold so you approach and start up a new conversation.  That is Stage 2.  They started it by smiling and that indicated to you that they wanted to talk – but they didn’t approach.

  4. They see you, make eye contact smile and step in your direction.  That is early stage 3.  They are CLEARLY indicating that they want to have a conversation by moving in your direction.  As soon as they take one step towards you, you head in their direction as well That is the start of stage 3 – not only did they make eye contact but they began to approach.  Great!

  5. They see you, make eye contact, and start heading in your direction.  You stand still and wait.  You are pleasant, you smile. But you don’t move.  They come all the way to you. That is solid Stage 3.

  6. Now…things change a bit.  You’re at that same party and the scenario is the same.  Except this time, when they come over to visit you, you’re actually pretty shy!  So when they approach you’re polite but…you don’t know what to say!  So you just stand there smiling and looking a little shy.  So, they start to work to bring you out of your shell.  They might touch your arm to get your attention. (dog jumping on you) They might start an animated conversation. (dog in your space barking at you)  They might invite you to come look at something with them. (playbow)  That is the other person aggressively pursuing you, rather than the reverse.  And when a person is doing that, they are 100% committed to getting your attention. Not much is going to distract them because they want you to talk to them.  You’re interesting!  And what should you do?  Respond!  But – play a bit of hard to get first. That is hard core Stage 3.  You’re willing and available but…playing a bit of hard to get.

Stage 4 adds in work but we don’t need to worry about that right now

About dfenzi

I'm a professional dog trainer who specializes in building relationship in dog handler teams who compete in dog sports. My personal passions are Competitive Obedience and no force (motivational) dog training. I travel throughout the world teaching seminars on topics related to Dog Obedience and Building Drives and Motivation. I own Fenzi Dog Sports Academy, a comprehensive online school for motivational training of performance sport dogs.

One response »

  1. Great! Now I realize that my dog engages me quite often – I just didn’t really know what to call it. Tanner often comes to me when I am sitting at my computer, puts his front feet on my lap and then uses one to hook my arm on to him. He is looking for some human touch which usually is a hug. I never thought of that as engagement.

    Reply

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