On a Monday morning, you may find yourself confiding in a colleague about a professional breakthrough you have experienced. They’re standing there, nodding and smiling along. Smile, nod, ask probing question: showing they are “present”. In truth, your colleague’s may be lost in their own thoughts, but they are showing their support by hearing your story. Notice they are hearing you, but are they really listening? You can always tell if your message landed with someone, whether their listening face could win them employee of the month, or they are yawning and bleary-eyed.
What do you experience when you are not heard? How do you think your members feel when they are a part of your association, but virtually have zero say?
As noted in last Motivation Monday, social media is a huge proponent of effective communication within your association. Once you’ve settled on the platforms to utilize, it’s time to troubleshoot the art of listening to your members.
Before we dive into listening techniques you can apply to your association, let’s talk about why listening is such an important aspect for success.
Your members are of utmost value. They bring the three W’s that all associations and nonprofits should consider when hiring or recruiting members; Wisdom, Work, and Wealth. Quite frankly, associations are nothing without their members!
In-person communication and virtual communication differ to a degree, but they also share many similarities. Mastering both forms of listening strategically places your organization in stronger position to lead a diverse and multi-generational workforce. By exercising compassion and considering that the high art of listening is never-ending, your members will feel valued and will perform much more effectively.
You’re probably cluing into how strongly we at VPG feel about the importance of listening. To support this priority we look to a recent study by Forbes: Humans generally listen at a 25% comprehension rate. And yet, 85% of what we know, we have learned through listening. Imagine how quickly your association could excel if you raised your listening bar, even just to 50%.
Here are a few tips in mastering your virtual listening skills via features from your specific social media platforms:
– Creating a private group for your association. Members can voice concerns and you have the opportunity to clearly explain how you empathize and want to work together to find solutions.
– Creating threads with probing questions that you respond to WITHIN the hour.
– retweet members’ so they feel your virtual support
– use Twitter’s “Advanced Search” option to gain insight to conversations and ideas your members can benefit from; ask them their thoughts publicly.
– Tag each of your members in every post, whether they were present or not
– Add members’ stories to your association page’s story and tag them
– reviewing members and recommending them
– create a group Snapchat where you can always keep up with current member trends
– create vision boards and ask your members to contribute
– Youtube videos showcasing certain member’s successes will always make them feel special
– communicate with your members when you are in and out of the US with this international platform
Social media listening techniques can be incredibly helpful while developing a strong member base. However, we know we are not always living in a virtual reality! Here at VPG, we honor our client partners by producing, coordinating and hosting in person events. These can range from weekly meetings,fundraising galas, to annual conventions! VPG recognizes that fully hearing the mission of our client partners is necessary to bringing their goals to reality on the web and in the boardroom.
Megan Van Petten
CEO & President
Van Petten Group, Inc.