I don’t mean to put too fine a point on it, but most people leading energy management programs drill down on the technical aspects and ignore the substantial gains to be had on the “softer,” people side. The New York Times ran a good article about how the Obama campaign won the election.There were some good tips on how to engage people that will help in your energy management effort. Here are six things I took away. But you should read it yourself here.
1. Don’t Deny It, Counter It
If someone says, “It makes our work harder,” explain how it makes it easier or how it benefits everyone. If it doesn’t, you shouldn’t be doing it anyway.
2. Get Them to Literally Sign On
A simple voluntary commitment tends to be more persistent if people actually sign something. Meet people one-on-one and ask them to sign an energy awareness pledge card.
3. Reward Their Constancy
A simple statement appreciating past contributions goes a long way to making sure that a person’s contribution continues. An opening like, “You’ve really helped us in the past,” shows people you recognize their efforts and it makes them more inclined to continue.
4. Make It A Plan
People who want to help sometimes end up not helping because they don’t quite know what to do next. So when you speak with them, make a little plan with them before parting ways. “So what do you think you can do?” Is a good way to make that step. Or, “Can I count on you to keep an eye on that door and make sure it’s closed?” People with plans are much more likely to join your effort.
5. Make It a Group
Don’t be afraid to mention things that other people are doing. People feel more comfortable and excited when they realize they are part of a group effort.
6. Make It Genuine
Finally, you need to be genuine in your outreach efforts. If you feel at all uncomfortable, it’s probably best not to reach out that way. But people respond to authenticity and sincerity. If you’re doing this work, it’s probably because you have some passion for it. If in doubt, show your passion. People will respond.