The Problem With Politeness

Newbie community professionals often fall into the politeness trap.

Instead of writing messages which are engaging, fun, and warm, they write messages which are polite.

Examples of polite language:

“Thank you for your contribution”
“I enjoyed reading that, thank you for sharing”
“I would welcome your contributions”
“We appreciate your attendance yesterday”

The problem is that being polite doesn’t achieve any of your message’s goals.

It doesn’t make members feel more appreciated, better understood, or excited to make their next contribution. It certainly doesn’t make members feel better connected to one another.

In fact, if someone makes a lot of effort and receives a simple polite response – it can discourage further contributions.

People don’t remember politeness, they remember kindness. Writing a kind message begins with the premise of ‘how do I make this member feel as amazing about their contributions as possible?’ Then you write that.

For examples:

“Your contribution yesterday was fab. I really liked what you said about [xyz], I don’t think anyone has quite phrased it in that way before. Judging by this post, I think your past experience in [xyz] is going to be really useful here.”

“I definitely want to know what you think. You’ve got such incredible expertise here and I know others would benefit as well”

“Yes, you folks were absolutely amazing yesterday, thank you. I thought that was one of the best sessions we’ve had yet. It’s definitely raised the bar going forward. I especially loved ….[xyz]”

If you want a deeper dive into some of the fundamentals of this work, be sure to buy my new book; Build Your Community.

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