“I don’t know” gets you back “I don’t know” #smbf

In having a candid conversation on how certain aspects of the SocialMediaBusinesForum went last week, a brief moment of clarity was realized.  Many people at the event came with the attitude of “I don’t know”.

They came to get answers to questions they have not yet asked.  For example:

  • Q. What message do I want to portray to visitors that may use social media aspects of my site.  A. “I don’t know”
  • Q. What content should I be sharing with my community members based on what I do for a business. A. “I don’t know”
  • Q. Who primarily would be interested in seeing and participating in this community, eve though I have good demographic information.  A. “I don’t know”
  • Q. What items should I want to track to see if my social media implementation was successful?  A. “I don’t know”
  • Q. Who should be running the community areas of my site? A. “I don’t know”

I think you get the idea.  They did not come with an agenda of questions they needed answered, leading them to believe that they did not obtain any useful information. While some blog posts praise the amount of value, others in person and via Twitter (and such) said they were lost, didn’t gain much or didn’t understand the whole flow of information.

When attending a technical conference, you normally come with a goal to learn specific aspects of how to do a task or implement a feature.  Social media obeys the same principal where you must have already decided a guideline on what your goal line is.  While this line may change over time, you are always working for specific markers.

As speakers, we love having in depth conversations around the topics we presented as well as early entry type questions.  It shows you have interest and focus.  I would rather you catch me in the hallway after the session to clarify any area; express concern over not getting the focus; request further links/documents; or simply to say you were so new and some went over your head.  I can then sit with you, or set a time, and go over any of these to make sure you leave happy.  That is one of my primary goals when I present:

To convey a clear, concise message with honesty attached.

While I might not always be right or be able to deliver it perfect, I know you will feel free to come and ask me to clarify, not just sulk away unhappy.  I am not saying any session in particular had unhappiness, it was some overall statements we encountered.