A Simple Tweak To Asking Questions

I’m noticing in a few client communities recently that the community manager (and members) often don’t structure their questions to get the best (or most) responses.

Here is one simple tweak you can make. If you want more people to respond to questions, ask them to talk about themselves.

Compare two questions

Question 1: “What metrics are most useful for measuring [x]?”

Question 2: “What metrics do you use to measure [x]?”

Question 2 will usually get a bigger response. The reason is simple. People love to talk about themselves. Not only that, the response will usually be more valuable. People aren’t speculating about metrics anymore, they’re sharing what they actually do.

Consider another example:

Question 1: “What resources are most useful to newcomers to [x]”?

Question 2: “What resources most helped you when you were a newcomer to [x]”?

People are more likely to respond to the second one and the quality of responses will be better.

One more example:

Question 1: “What is the best way to solve [problem]?”

Question 2: “How did you solve [problem]?”

Now you’re getting responses from people who have actually solved the issue instead of people speculating about how to solve the issue.

Try it on Twitter/LinkedIn if you like, you might be surprised.

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