There’s no way around the fact that humans have emotions. We all feel joy, excitement, anxiety, frustration and anger. And that’s just to name a few of the many complexities of human nature. Now if we all experience emotions then the idea of diplomacy in community management is of utmost importance. How do we respect and support the feelings of those in our community and also our own? This is the type question the amazing panelists on My Community Manager sought to answer this week in the #CMGRHangout entitled Diplomatic Community Management.
A community manager must do several things extremely well to be an effective enabler and diplomat within their community. Let’s look at them each in turn and see why they are so important in the role of a good community manager.
Check Your Emotions at the Door
The diplomatic community manager must first be able to separate their personal feelings from the situation. Obviously as we saw earlier we all have emotions and feelings the key here is not to deny their existence but rather to keep them in check. The best thing you can do as a community manager is to keep a level head. Stay calm. When the frustration or negative comments made by a community member feel personal this becomes exceedingly difficult to do. The other aspect a good community manager must be sure to convey is that this lack of emotion is not a lack of interest. You absolutely must not appear apathetic in your response and in your conversations. Whatever lies beneath the negative comment is important to the community member. This problem or frustration is something they are passionate about and as a result as a good community manager it must be important to you as well. Be passionate without being emotional.
“If you are ever in a conversation
and find yourself bored;
the problem lies not with the other person
but with you.”
Do You Know Who I Am?
In order to be effective as a diplomatic community manager you must secondly know who you are speaking to. You must know their background, their history in the community, how they have spoken in the past in their conversations. You must be aware of what issues are important to them and how they’ve acted before. As a community member there is nothing more gratifying then knowing the person handling their complaint has taken the time to know what the problem is and more importantly know who they are. And there’s nothing more frustrating then the opposite. Everyone likes to feel important. Taking the time to do your research helps you show people that they truly are important to you and to the community. Show them you know who they are.
I Hear You
The last aspect of being an effective diplomatic community manager involves quite possibly the single most difficult task for any person. The art of listening. Not just hearing but listening. If you’ve followed along with this post then you have effectively managed your own feelings before your conversation and you have done your research to be knowledgeable about the person you’re speaking with. The third and final step is listening to their story. If you’re not emotionally involved you are able to hear and understand the other person better. If you’ve studied the problem before meeting then you also have an idea of the problem and can now listen proactively. You don’t have to scramble to understand the situation but can instead focus on the more subtle aspects of the conversation. Are there underlying or secondary issues which haven’t been directly mentioned? You can tune into these things much more easily if you know the situation. Show them you’re listening.
“There is a difference between listening and waiting for your turn to speak.”Simon Sinek
Stay cool, learn about others, and listen to what they say (and what they don’t say) and you’ll find yourself well on your way to being a diplomatic community manager. Be sure to also check out the #CMGRHangout below to hear more great thoughts from some of the most recognized diplomatic community managers around!