How important is it to be fungible? To be flexible, versatile, polite, respectful, tactful, yet eager? If each skill required for our diplomacy skills, what would our flower garden look like?
It’s important that a network weaver is able to multi task, have a customer service orientation and have emotional intelligence. You need someone that can assess their performance, be honest, be trustworthy and has the ability to accept and respond to criticism.
Today I facilitated a panel discussion on Communities & Social Media and was reminded of the importance of ensuring that I was involving everyone on the conference call through eliciting their comments. Not only did I need to lead the on-line technology, such as the monitoring of the chat room, or the flow of the slide deck, but also I needed to listen to voices, names, perspectives, inflections and remember organizational context in order to try to pull them into a deeper conversation and connection place. Then I facilitated a fireside chat on the book, Digital Habitats with John Smith, Etienne Wenger, and Nancy White around technology stewardship and communities. What we realized was critical in the success of this discussion was the role of a facilitator like me, who actually knew each person in the conversation and could help them articulate their own questions when it may not have happened naturally at the required speed for such a quick conversation.
Community weavers must to be organized, have an eye for detail, and be tireless with follow-up. They need to be able to quickly think through the best way to create a high trust and high value for time environment through using an arsenal of techniques. As it turns out marketing and communication skills are instrumental in how network weavers structure abundant conversations and immersions through meaning. Yet, for many it may come as a surprise, but skills in human relations and diplomacy are paramount in communities, especially edgier websites with crowd sourced message boards with anonymous postings. Mediation, conflict management and diversity of thought become important competencies because like human nature, internet civility can be volatile and unpredictable.
Diplomacy is required for community managers in order to encourage different perspectives and bring different perspectives in the periphery, while using dissention as a way to foster engagement.