We spend a lot of time training non-community people to become community people.
This is usually people with multiple roles and have less than an hour or so to spend on the community. This group might include teachers, topic experts, or employees throughout the organization.
Our goal is not to deliver a suffocating number of ideas and theory to engage members, but to identify what will have the biggest impact and help people to do a few things really well.
If you only have 1 hour a day (or week?) to spend on the community, where should you invest your time for the biggest impact? For example:
This goes deep into the most core, basic, skills. For example:
- How to initiate and respond to a discussion. Phrasing the discussion as a question, keeping it short, understanding the trigger words to use and not use etc…
- How to elicit additional participation. Learn how to elicit increased discussion in every discussion. Strike an ego, call for more responses, tap specific people to respond etc…
- How to communify existing content. Turn reports and white papers into interactive discussions, webinars, and polls.
- How to read and understand what members want. Learn how to recognize member ‘tells’, what they are not saying, and what they really want (increase their reputation, blow off steam, get your attention etc…)
The goal by the end of the sessions is to help each person in the workshop/course etc to do each of these once. Once you can see one successful discussion you have created, see the positive feedback on content you have created, and feel you can read your members, you are more likely to create two, then four etc…
If you’re working in communities, the best thing you can do is host a session for colleagues for an hour or two and teach these basic skills. Some will go back to what they’re doing, but a few will start to get involved. This helps scale participation, increase your influence, and realize other benefits.
Better yet, by narrowing in on doing a few things really well you ease the mental burden on their side. The temptation is always to impress colleagues with everything you know. Don’t do this. Zero in on only what they need to know (and nothing else).