Yesterday, I ran a Green Jujitsu training workshop at the Northern Sustainability Innovations Conference, hosted by (our client) Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals Foundation Trust as part of the Great Exhibition of the North. I had an enthusiastic audience from organisations large and small, so it was a lot of fun.

I started by getting the audience to tell me why engagement was important, followed by what makes it so tricky. To illustrate why preaching green doesn't work, I made an audience member with no interest in pro-cycling mildly uncomfortable by asking her views on the details of this year's Giro d'Italia. I then explained how I first got into pro-cycling –when the Tour de France visited the part of Yorkshire I holiday in, i.e. when the pro-cycling world overlapped with mine. This got across my key message that if Sustainability is leaving your audience cold, then you need to find the sweetspot between Sustainability and their interests.

To apply Green Jujitsu, I tasked each delegate with thinking about what gets their colleagues out of bed in the morning and what turns them off. Using these positive and negative drivers, they then sketched out how to apply them across a range of engagement elements (language, images, activities etc).

My final flurry was to ask the delegates why I started by asking them why the topic was important. Of course I could have put a Powerpoint slide up and read out the bullet points in 30 seconds, but they would have forgotten the contents by the time I flicked on to the next slide (my workshop was Powerpoint-free). By asking the question, shutting up and waiting for the responses, I got the audience to sell that importance to themselves. OK, I was preaching to the choir with this group, but this cross cutting Green Jujitsu principle applies to all audiences: ask questions and make 'em think.

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