Convincing the unconverted, Part 4

February 17, 2007 at 7:57 am 4 comments

Now for my favorite approach to convincing the unconverted on the importance of community. I call it the assumptive close.

#4 The Assumptive Close
I have to admit, I really like this one. It’s almost a version of guilt combined with the already mentioned techniques. It essentially goes like this: “You are going to do it anyway. Why do you want to be last?” Users are going to talk about your products, policies, licensing, people, everything! You really don’t get to decide this. The only decision you get to make is whether or not to participate in that conversation. You must also accept the fact that you CANNOT control the conversation. In fact, the harder you try the more impossible it is. So, what I’m saying is that you (your company) are eventually going to get involved in community (it’s not some fad). Stop selling the company on whether or not to engage and tell them that it is a foregone conclusion that they will. You are here to discuss not the “if,” but the when and the how. Got it? Good luck.


Entry filed under: Community Development Business Case, Convincing the uncoverted, Part 1-4, General Community Discussion.

More on Metrics and Community Measurement… Why the switch off Live Spaces…

4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Jack Dahlgren  |  February 17, 2007 at 9:17 am


    You write that you “cannot” control the conversation. While this may be true technically- by definition a conversation involves parties other than yourself who would be assumed to have free will but to assert that it is an impossibility does disservice to skilled conversationalists everywhere and detracts from the validity of your point. Absolutism is rarely defensible.

  • 2. Kip Kniskern  |  February 17, 2007 at 9:52 am

    Hmm I tend to agree with Sean and not with Jack, in the context of communities around product. The days of controlling what is being said about your product (through aggressive PR, advertiser dollar clout with media companies, stifling dissenting voices from within, etc) are over. And indeed the harder you try to use those old school strong arm tactics, the more foolish you look, and the more harmful to your product you become. Much better to join in the conversation. Defend yourself as appropriate, offer company viewpoints (spin, if you must) on negative feedback, but most of all, listen. Community involvement then becomes a powerful tool in learning whether or not your message is getting through.

    Congrats on the move to WordPress, too, btw. Interested to hear your reasoning :).

  • 3. Sean ODriscoll  |  February 17, 2007 at 10:23 am


    First, my sincere thanks for participating in this conversation!!

    Strictly semantically speaking, Jack may be right. I guess my thought in response would be that even in some rare circumstance that you could control the conversation, you shouldn’t. And if you do, it will quickly cease being a conversation that anyone is actually listening to.

    For some reason it reminds me of somthing someone once said that has stuck with me when it comes to communities (or simply being a conversationalist): “listening” is not “waiting for your turn to talk.” I like the active participation element implied by this for both parties.


  • 4. Jack Dahlgren  |  February 18, 2007 at 4:35 pm


    I guess my whole problem with the “conversations” thing is that conversations existed a long time before the computer and the telephone. The thing that is different now is that companies (and whoever else) can listen in. Your last comment hits that point pretty well. Listening is key to PARTICIPATING in any conversation.


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