The Oklahoma City edition of the Get Social Conference brought out some direct and honest advice about dealing with critics.
|Get Social crowd
by Jessica Miller-Merrell
The dog keeps barking, and the train keeps moving on.
Being active in social media doesn’t make people like you. Sometimes they just want your ___.
What my spouse calls not getting into a pissing contest with a skunk.
I mentioned the CAVE people. This is a Jack Schultz acronym. It means the Citizens Against Virtually Everything, and I know them well. Remember, if no one hates you, may may not be doing anything important.
Negativity and politics feed on themselves. Those CAVE people head to the coffee shop early, and they try to stir up as much trouble as they can all morning. Then they have a busy afternoon of more of the same. And even well-justified concerns can get magnified all out of proportion. This happens in the online world, too. Firestorms can hit any company, as one person launches into a tirade and gathers supporters.
What can you do? Here are a few tried and true suggestions, learned from hard-won experience.
- Be proactive with communication. Over communicate. Repeat, repeat, repeat your message.
- Don’t ignore a firestorm. Keep communicating.
- Remain above the mud. Inform, but don’t argue.
- Focus on the community needs. Don’t get distracted into focusing on the complainers, the side issues, or the past.
- Fix the things that really are broken. That really sucks the life out of a firestorm.
- Reach out directly to the ringleaders. This usually takes them by surprise, and is remarkably disarming.
- When it gets worse than you can imagine, call in some outside facilitators. A neutral party can ask the questions that no one else can admit need to be asked.
What lessons have you learned about coping with critics?
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Becky, you nailed it with “Communicate/Communications.” Call a good old-fashioned “Safety Meeting” of the working group (the office people called theirs a “Staff Meeting”).
Becky McCray says
I forget who told me first, but I remember that people have to hear something seven times before it sinks in.
Businesses need to address conflict head on and professionally, and not hope it just “goes away”.