Questions to answer for handling ‘difficult conversations’ online

Listening is hard.  Every day I catch myself not doing it because I want to make MY point.  While someone is talking, I’M thinking about why they’re wrong or off base.  Listening well is a selfless act.  It’s about putting someone else first.  This is why people appreciate when they’re being listened to.

I read in the book, Difficult Conversations, “Listening well is one of the most powerful skills you can bring to a difficult conversation.”

As you’ve heard probably a 11,346 times, social networks give marketers the ability to listen well.  And customers know that.  Why? Because marketers set the expectation by establishing a social media presence to begin with, and many marketers have reinforced this by actually listening.

This is probably the most important thing to know before an organization launches a presence on a social network.  Leaders must look at themselves in the mirror and ask if they’re good listeners, especially in comparison to their competition. If not, abort.  Do not set yourself up to fail.  Know thyself or you will make matters worse.  Organizations DON’T have to be on Facebook to be successful.

In this case, listening means more than just the obvious.  It means resources, sustainment, processes and procedures.  You must know who will manage your social presence.  When they’re at the beach on vacation, who then?  How do plan to maintain your presence over time? When a tough question is posed, how will you handle the difficult conversation?  Who will respond?  How much time will you allow to elapse before answering?  Will you take it offline or not?  What level of leadership will approve the actual response, not the “Thanks for the question.  We’re going to have an answer to you very soon,” which should come immediately.

Like humans require ears and a brain to hear before we decide if we’ll listen well or not, organizations must also grow their ears or risk damaging the entire body.

What else should people consider before establishing a social media presence? Comment below.


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