The art of conversation and engagement in the digital world.
In case you missed it, this is National Conversation Week. A dedicated 7 days to promoting the endangered art of ‘talking’ to one-another and engaging in an exchange of ideas, information, and news and preferably, face-to face and eye-to eye.
Not to dwell on it, but the lockdowns around COVID-19, brought about a hush over the world, as face to face conversations for many, simply stopped. This dark time in our history also highlighted the vital wellness aspects of human engagement and the importance of being able to have a conversation with another human being.
Whilst the digital world has advanced to a state where we can have video calls with friends, family, and work colleagues around the world (and even next door), there’s still no beating a physical get together and the emotional power of a physical connection.
So, now that we are out and about again, what if you could combine the two? A way to experience the physical pleasure of meeting someone or seeing something, which is then enhanced by a digital engagement that can continue the information exchange. A way to talk to audiences, visitors, guests, people in general, but not at them.
There’s no such thing as a stupid question!
This year’s National Conversation Week promotes curiosity and the inquisitive side of conversation. There is no better time then to get out and about and visit a local museum, cultural heritage site, zoo, aquarium, wildlife park, stately home, and garden etc.
These are perfect places in which to explore, discover and ask questions, and gain a better understanding of the world around us and our place in it.
Enquiring minds fuel creative problem solving. Given that in the not-too-distant future, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) will be performing most rote functions better than humans can, the ability to be creative innovators and solutionists, is going to become essential. Asking questions and engaging with the world around us fuels problem solving in new and novel ways, a vital ingredient for our future of work and play.
The National Conversation Week website raises a critical point on the matter of not asking enough questions. Not engaging. Merely being a passive spectator in one’s own life, for many people are too shy or scared to put their hand up and ask. The reasons are many, including today’s pressured and artificial world of social media where everything and everyone must be perfect.
Yet, there is truly, no such thing as a stupid question and more times than we’ll ever know, someone else is thinking the exact same thing. So, go ahead and ask the question.
The best of both worlds
However, for those who are still too shy, or afraid of wasting someone’s time with what they perceive to be a silly query, this is where digital can come to the rescue. Because, despite our best efforts this week to encourage more people to talk to one another and explore the art of enquiry, not everyone is going to be able to.
Audience engagement is all the buzz, as we have written about before. From the boardroom to the streets, we are all engaged in some form of communication, all the time – most of it over digital channels.
Visitor attractions like museums and places of knowledge and experience, are beginning to understand the scope of combining their physical offerings enhanced with a digital extension. By this we mean, cleverly utilising cloud-based software, like an audience engagement platform, that contains all the knowledge and content about the various elements in the museum (for example), and which can be accessed by the visitor through the corresponding visitor experience app.
Within this digital environment, people can freely and without judgement, ask all the questions they like or need. Whilst it may seem counterintuitive to write a piece on encouraging talking and in the same breath say that people can ask questions in a digital format, it has been shown that with knowledge gained, there is also a sharing of that information – in the spoken word, thus the art of conversation continues. This is especially true of today’s youth, who, having learned a new fact, are very eager to share it with those around them.
Audience engagement thus promotes conversation.
More than that, combining a digital audience engagement platform and app with a physical experience also allows that museum or zoo etc, to continue sharing information with the visitor after they’ve left. This not only prolongs the experience but also keeps the conversation going – in both the offline and online worlds.
Maybe curiosity killed the cat, but ignorance is not before the law. To avoid either situation being a reality, remember to always “have fun, learn lots, and ask lots of questions,” as my very wise mother taught me each day I went to school.
To ask lots of questions about the n-gage.io audience engagement platform for visitor attractions or to talk to a member of the team, please get in touch with us, we’d love to have a conversation with you.
For other helpful articles explaining more about the power of audience engagement platforms, please see: Reimaging Experiential Learning in the Museum and Heritage Sector and What is an Audience Engagement Platform