Semantics in Community Conversations

Today in a conversation with a networked business, a sales person told me that their network model was ‘broken’.  According to the dictionary that means fractured or violently set into parts, think broken bone.  Perhaps if you seek a pair of shoes that fits all feet, this could be frustrating, but to community weavers, it can be translated into meaning that the community is finding its ebb and flow.  I found that term of interest because I tend to see this as an opportunity for further discussion, analysis and engagement.  However, for others that are working hard to cultivate, tend and nurture the community, it can feel like feathers getting ruffled versus just realizing it is semantics. 

My original observation was a need for a culture that is high trust and allows for the time necessary to discuss this openly and honestly so that we can strategize around the community or program support needs to exceed customer expectations around products and services.   Often times if we sell something that isn’t in the core product we can cause scope creep and/or frustrated customers.  What is important is to take the time to review the network composition, it’s personality and ensure that these dialogues are open to members and not just the company staff, because with this new media, we also have new social responsibilities for engagement and opportunity.

In this specific community discussion, what I’ve observed is a very active core group of members, a active subject matter expert and a community that is cycling.  I’m confident that trying to sell a product that really is made up of a network of people is not easy given people are fickle and the needs change quickly.  Yet we need to bring with us as community weavers our armor, swords and fortitude to know that we need to not get caught up in semantics, yet fight the necessary fight of words when needed.  Often we have to be advocates for this new way of behaving ourselves as it can be easy to fall back into old behaviors or the desire to sell a product that is as commonplace as diapers are to babies. 

Interested to learn from others how they are educating their community sales partners in semantics, so please do share.

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