‘thank you for coming’ vs. ‘next steps’

Last week, I hosted a founding member workshop with a client community.

We guided a few dozen participants to answer some questions about what they wanted from the community, forged connections between members, and helped members make the key decisions about the community.

Once the work is complete, the client was keen to send out a ‘thank you’ note. Instead, we suggested sending out a ‘next steps’ note.

The difference here is important. Thank you notes feel like the right thing to do in these situations. The problem is people tend to give them little time or attention. The moment they see ‘thank you’ in the subject line, they know what to expect. A thank you note is the final message. It ends the discussion. It feels good to send (and sometimes good to receive). But it doesn’t really achieve much.

But listing out the next steps a member can take drives more activity. It shows the recipient you want to keep them involved. It shows the recipient you think they have more to give.

It sounds counter-intuitive perhaps, but I’ve found in communities the best way to thank members is to give them more things they can do to be more involved.

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