WHEN Ben Ampil, a Filipino neuroscience coach, told me he will conduct a neuroscience webinar for my organization, the Philippine Council of Associations and Association Executives (PCAAE), I was taken aback. Why will associations and association leaders be interested in neuroscience? I accepted his offer with an open mind and was pleasantly surprised of the webinar content and praise from the attendees.
If you Google neuroscience, the simplest definition you will get is that it focuses on the brain and its impact on behavior and cognitive functions. Ben has an easier-to-remember definition, which he nicknamed “Batman”—Brain Acts and Thinks so as to MANage behaviors.
Associations can benefit significantly from applying principles and findings from neuroscience to enhance member engagement, optimize learning experiences, and improve overall effectiveness.
1. Understanding the brain’s learning processes. Neuroscience has revealed essential information about how the brain processes and retains information. Associations can leverage this knowledge to design more effective educational programs and training initiatives. For instance, incorporating spaced repetition, active learning techniques, and real-world application of knowledge can improve the retention and application of information among members.
2. Emotional engagement and connection. The brain is highly responsive to emotional stimuli, and emotions play a significant role in decision-making and memory formation. Associations can use this knowledge to cultivate emotional engagement and connection among their members. Creating meaningful experiences that evoke positive emotions, fostering a sense of belonging and community, and recognizing individual achievements can all enhance emotional engagement within the association. Emotional connections lead to increased member loyalty and motivation to actively participate in association activities.
3. Effective communication strategies. Neuroscience sheds light on the importance of effective communication strategies. The brain processes information more efficiently when it is presented in a clear, concise, and visually appealing manner. Associations can use this insight to improve their communication materials, ensuring that key messages are delivered in an engaging and memorable way. Additionally, understanding the brain’s inclination towards storytelling can help associations communicate their mission and impact more effectively. Narratives that evoke emotions and present real-life examples of success can resonate with members and stakeholders, inspiring them to support the association’s goals.
4. Motivation and incentives. Neuroscience has provided valuable insights into the brain’s reward and motivation systems. Associations can use this knowledge to design incentive programs that encourage desired behaviors among members. Offering rewards or recognition for active participation, contributions, and achievements can boost engagement and drive positive actions within the association.
5. Stress and well-being. Neuroscience research highlights the impact of stress on cognitive function and overall well-being. Associations can take this into account when designing events and programs, ensuring that members have access to resources and support for managing stress and maintaining well-being.
By embracing the lessons from neuroscience, associations can unlock their full potential in serving their members, driving positive change, and making a lasting impact within their communities. As neuroscience continues to advance, associations have an exciting opportunity to integrate cutting-edge research and innovation into their practices, ensuring continued relevance and effectiveness in the years to come.
Octavio Peralta is currently the executive director of the Global Compact Network Philippines and founder and volunteer CEO of the Philippine Council of Associations and Association Executives, the “association of associations.” PCAAE will hold its 11th Associations Summit at the PICC on December 6, 2023. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.