Month: March 2016

Consider open feedback, not Just online surveys

Matthew Crozier, CEO of Bang the Table considers that it is important to provide engaging ways for community members to provide feedback. By engaging, he means not just asking people to fill out long online surveys, but giving them the opportunity to view other participant feedback, to interact with each other and to enjoy the process of being involved in the discussion.

matthew Crozier online surveys

He considers that whilst online surveys have their place, just as we don’t use one technique all the time in face-to-face citizen participation events, nor should we have only one method in online citizen participation. It’s important to pick the right tools for the right circumstances and the more a community can participate in a discussion in an open manner, the more inviting participation is likely to be.

He offers some examples of engaging feedback tools.

The first is from a site run by the City of Montreal and is an urban planning project. The city has invited the community to leave comments in the form of pins on a map. As you can see the consultation has received a large degree of participation. If you go to their engagement site you may also note the high amount of information provided about the project.

montreal - urban planning project

The second is the City of Perth in Australia who used the Brainstormer tool to collect ideas from the community on how to work together for a more sustainable future.

brainstormer tool

And thirdly, another Canadian site, “Shape Seniors Care,” uses storytelling to build community understanding around old age care. Storytelling is a particularly powerful way of increasing knowledge around an issue.

sharing stories

Read the full blog


No one wants to come to your meeting

Nicole C. Turnbull – an online engagement professional and social media expert had some useful tips in a recent blog.

online engagement

She considers getting anyone to attend any event even with an incentive is hard. By giving people options to engage on their own time and their own pace, everyone gets what they need.

Here are some of her tips for when no one wants to come to your meeting:

1) Try doing asynchronous activities
Don’t let schedules and conflicts stand in the way of a great conversation. Start a group or a discussion thread on  your Facebook page or group, on your website, or blog.

Try a survey if you want direct feedback that doesn’t require a dialogue., and offer both free and professional versions, and Google Forms is always free – all you need is a Gmail account. You can create awesome reports by exporting the results to various file formats.

2) Do it Live 
You could also consider broadcasting meetings online via free software like Skype or Google Hangouts on Air. This way busy parents don’t have to travel and can view from any device (even while holding a baby!)  Be sure to experiment with a test run before you go live to make sure you are comfortable with the interface. Remember to give users 5-10 minutes to log on and test their audio and video capabilities.

3) Put it On Demand. 
You can then edit and post the recorded video on YouTube for those who have missed it and host it on your web page and/or blog using the embed code.

If you’re not adept at video editing, a great option is to also do a more polished, pre-taped recording of your event or lecture. Sometimes live events can have dead space or slow moments that would make it boring for someone watching on-demand. Also, you may want to break it up into chapters or shorter segments in case people don’t have time to watch longer videos (or let’s face it, have short attention spans). 2-3 minutes is plenty.

Looking for feedback?  Invite  people to comment directly below the video or privately by posting a survey link or contact email in the description.

4) Foster Civility 
Online discussions are notorious for getting out of control if there is a disrespectful comment or opinions vary widely. This is especially true with anything involving parenting decisions! My advice is to set ground rules for civility and kindness. My favorite one is a simple acronym that can be used for any age group:

THINK before you speak. Is it…

Also note that you will not tolerate discrimination or bashing of any kind and be sure to moderate comments and report and ban users who act inappropriately.  But ask yourself: are they just being negative but maybe have a point? Don’t delete their comments as it can make you look like you have something to hide. Acknowledge their opinion and offer to take it offline so the potentially tough conversation isn’t public and doesn’t get out of hand.

5) Build Relationships
Don’t forget that you are building relationships with your audience, not just using them for feedback. Use your own authentic  voice, interact like you would face to face and get to know people through your responses.  Be sure to provide contact information and website  for follow-up interactions and future engagements. Use every live or asynchronous event as a chance to build your brand and cultivate your social media following. Taking the time to build a relationship will keep them coming back for the next event or feedback opportunity.

Read her full blog here

Aim for a five minute Engagement Experience

According to Dave Biggs, the Chief Engagement Officer of MetroQuest, attention spans are shorter than ever. In order to engage people who are in a rush or those who are less motivated, aim for a 5-minute experience.

5-minute experience

He considers it may seem counter-intuitive. but the shorter you make it, the more information you’ll collect when consulting online. It only needs to seem like it’s going to take 5-minutes when people arrive. Visitors will look around and do some quick math to estimate how long it will take before deciding to engage.

Interactive elements like putting comments on a map have a way of looking fast and then sucking people in because they are so engaging. They might spend a great deal more than 5 minutes after they get hooked. A boring 35-question survey will likely scare most people away but 3 or 4 interactive exercises that allow people to engage briefly or deeply will allow people to engage at whatever level they feel comfortable.

Original Source: Metroquest