Friday evening I saw animals from every continent, Greek philosophers in togas, and medieval monks wearing brown hooded robes. Earlier, walking fruit and nursery characters had made an appearance, and to wrap up the evening up, there was ball room and swing-style dancing.
It wasn’t a rerun of the Lawrence Welk show. I attended The Oaks Academy’s
Spring Fling parade.
Last year when I went to the annual event for the first time, I giggled the entire time out of sheer delight, as hundreds of children paraded around the inner-city school on the barricaded streets. My young friend Alex was Old King Kole that year, and I cheered him on along with his mom and grandma and brother. After the parade, Alex and his classmates had recited poetry and showed us their art work.
This year, though, even knowing a little of what to expect, I was completely enchanted by the experience. It wasn’t just that Alex was dressed as a giraffe and his younger brother Jensen led the parade dressed like a bunch of grapes. They always entertain me with their wit and silliness, but that wasn’t the only reason I was enchanted.
As I looked around at the small crowd gathered in front of the little private, classical, Christian school, I saw their mission being played out before my very eyes. They hadn’t just assembled a socio-economically and racially diverse student body; they had brought an integrated community of all ages together on a warm spring night. And the classical training they were wooing the children with had equally enchanted us all as we witnessed art and literature and languages and culture being rehearsed and recited, even lived out, right before our eyes.
The level beyond telling stories is immersing people in your cause. When you captivate people in this way, they lose track of time, suspend their cynicism and skepticism, and may also break into a sweat.
That sounds about like my Friday evening.
But if I don’t have a thriving classical school full of lively children, how else can I immerse people in my cause. Kawasaki offers five ideas.
- Enable vicarious experiences.
- Get as close to the real situation as possible.
- Make a great demo.
- Anchor and twist – “It’s like orange juice, only sweeter.”
- Differentiate from past experiences.
A parade with swing dancing always works, too!
Photo by sameliaz8 from Flickr, used with permission under the Creative Commons License.