Working With The Vocal Minority

Brian shares this great video.

In any random sample of 1,000 members, 1 or 2 will form the vocal minority. If you have 10,000 members, you can do the math.

If you’re responding to the daily needs of a vocal minority, you’re not managing your community; the community is managing you.

Spiral of silence theory predicts the louder the vocal minority become the more other members accept this as the consensus of the group and either adopt the same views or fail to share opposing views. This is dangerous.

Sometimes the vocal minority have valid concerns which you can validate with a survey or poll, but typically their concerns are simply the tools they’re using to validate their status and identity. If you resolve their concern without validating their status, they still won’t be happy.

This is why the same vocal minority form around every issue instead of a new group forming around each issue. It’s not about the issue.

If you reject their ideas, they adopt a persona of being smarter, wronged, and righteous. If you accept their ideas, you embolden them to suggest more.

The two better approaches are:

1) Take the time to build relationships with each of them. Use flattery, ask for advice and ideas in person, providing them with a perceived sense of influence over you typically helps. This takes time but tends to be effective. Use the occasional positive public remark.

2) Formalise their role in a private group. Invite them to a private group (let them pick their own group name) to share their concerns, discuss their ideas, and give them unique access. You can put their best ideas/concerns into a survey for the broader community. Better yet, it removes negative comments from the main areas of discussion.

Nothing you do will entirely remove a frustrating vocal minority with high demands, but you can reduce the negative posts by working with them rather than for or against them.

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