…with our patrons.
Oftentimes, we are so wrapped up in our work that we forget that we are in an evolving, dynamic long-term relationship. With our audiences.
When you are in love, you are fascinated with your partner. They are constantly on your mind. You spend time thinking of ways you can engage them and engage with them. Your everyday experiences remind you of them. You see meaning in small things, sometimes that have nothing to do with them, but which somehow remind you of them and inspire a sense of closeness with them.
How can I make them laugh? How can I surprise them? How can I bring a smile to their face?
Most of all, your impulse is to engage, to share, to communicate, to strengthen your connection with that person
Being in love is a powerful, life-changing experience.
So why do we so often approach our patrons so differently? Aren’t we in a long-term relationship with them?
Does our approach resemble how you would go about creating a satisfying, delicious relationship?
Or does it feel more like unrequited love, for either or both parties?
Or, at worst, a transaction? Are we even aware of where we stand with them?
Falling in love is not complex. When it is happening, it feels like the most natural and obvious thing in the world. And there are many ways in which it can happen, whether you are looking at true love or a fantastic relationship with your audience. But there are some key elements that go into both:
1. There must be a spark. If your lover or audience isn’t intrigued or enticed by your first encounter, it’s unlikely they will come around for more.
2. The second rendezvous has a lot riding on it. A subsequent experience may take some time to occur, but when it does, if it does not meet or exceed the initial experience, the chance of further engagement declines momentously.
3. Authenticity matters. And it can be a very good reason to be loved. Nothing frays trust like pretending. So don’t fake it. Deliver on your promises. Give people the benefit of the doubt. And if you mess up, make it right. You’d expect the same from them, right?
4. Communication is important. And can be really fun and rewarding. Amazing relationships thrive on sharing, learning and feedback. Not talking to your lover or audience doesn’t make for a sustainable situation. You may feel vulnerable, but give it a shot. Be open. Be curious. How can you surprise and delight each other? This is the fun part.
5. The best relationships are dynamic, expanding and developing over time. Who would want a long-term relationship that doesn’t allow them to explore, grow or change? Question assumptions, change things up, keep it fresh and most of all, see #4.
6. Nothing attracts love like love. When you’re in love, the world is brighter, better, clearer and more amazing than you ever knew possible. When you’re in love, you want to tell the world about your love and your lover. Nothing else exists. And it’s all your friends and family hear about.
What would happen to our lives and work if we approached everything this way?
Fall In Love All Over Again - image courtesy of Anne Worner. No alterations were made.