How do you solve the 'I'm too busy' problem?

(Sarah Hawk) #1

Potentially the biggest challenge that I hear about (and have been faced with) is people being ‘too busy’ to participate. Rather than being too busy, as a general rule there simply isn’t the right motivation for them to participate.

How would you approach the issue?

So, what are you working on?
(Alessio Fattorini) #2

Creating value for your members, people is too busy because your community is not enough valuable for them.
At the end of the day, people are focused on their needs so if your community doesn’t satisfy their needs they won’t have ever the time for it.

(Mark Baldwin) #3

The more I think about the ideas around contributing the more I’m convinced that most people approach things from a selfish point of view, so people are always thinking about their time and asking "Is this a good use of my time?, what’s in it for me? " for some people it’s recognition, for others it needs to be something more tangible.

We probably need to think along the lines of "what are we offering people for getting involved in this discussion? is the sparkling conversation and witty insights enough? :slight_smile: " Maybe some kind of simple reward scheme for contributing would be enough or maybe it just needs to be a topic that requires individuals to not sacrifice a lot of time thinking about their Pulitzer winning response.

I actually think that when the usual conversations have such great, insightful comments, it can sometimes put people off joining in as they wrongly think they need a long, elegantly crafted response in order to fit in, where a simple, straight to the point comment is just as valuable.

(Nick Emmett) #4

When I was faced with this issue in my first CM role I was very much focused on getting people to realise what they were “too busy” to be involved in: the value that they and their tems could be getting; having your finger anywhere near the pulse of what’s going on in the business (it was an internal community) etc… It was very much a conversation based around what might happen if they weren’t involved. I was also very quick to point things out to people when they voiced somewhere that they felt they’d been missed out of the loop that the loop was actually as inclusive as it possibly could be, i.e. everyone!

Also, potentially try to help them with tips on how to stay engaged, i.e. having the window open all the time, managing their email notifications and digests.

(Alessio Fattorini) #5

Totally agree. So the question is: why are we here? What is our selfish true reason?

(Mark Baldwin) #6

I’m here mostly to learn and make the occasional bad joke. I find this forum offers up a wealth of knowledge. I feel like my time is well spent here.

(Sarah Hawk) #7

Heh, somehow I’ve created a situation where every post I make turns into a conversation about this place. While I love talking about myself, this time I was picking your brains on behalf of future readers. :smiley:

So this creates a bit of a dilemma then, doesn’t it? How would you approach communicating to people that a long, carefully crafted response isn’t always necessary?

(Dave Charbonneau) #8

In the communities I’m in, I find value in either a post or exploration into something that directly affects me/my business/my interests, or if I feel I can add value to another person or several persons. As well, in the friendships (virtual tho they may be). I realize that sometimes I just don’t have time for either creating value by commenting, or in “dropping in” on a friend. Sometimes I don’t even have time for the latest and greatest news that’s going to immediately affect me.

I participate in several Facebook Communities right now; these are part of my CHIP exercises, so I definitely have an agenda for my being there. I enjoy the interaction, but I would likely participate in fewer communities if I wasn’t “working.”

I also participate in a homeschooling community. It’s the greatest community I’ve witnessed, but I still only go there when I have a question that I want advice on (I’ve spent money with the founders, and might again).

I only read one blog, and I always try to catch that one because it reminds me to slow down and live life. ( This is valuable to me, and the value is ongoing.

My one other Important Read is email from FeverBee. I want to be the best I can be as a community builder, so this has immediate value to me.

Ok, so it comes down to value; I think we all agree on that. But value is subjective, and can change from day to day.

Is it worth trying to get them back? Or better to spend time with a simple reminder that the value is here when a person wants it, and move on to finding people who will really value what you offer but don’t know about you yet? (There was a recent post or article on this, here, wasn’t there?).

(Doug Agee) #9

Value is a key to any community. Building value in your community based on the variety of member needs as a manager. And, remembering that participating in your own favorite communities (like this one) because they bring value to your day is important too.

(Bo McGuffee) #10

I don’t think that values are the key. Yes, values are important. They are a way that people connect with each other. They are also part of the way that we orient our lives. I prefer, however, to think in terms of “meaning” (of which values are a part).

I believe that meaning is a narrative construct. We have our past, our present, and our idealized future. The extent to which activities are in line with that story arc (or our “truth”) determines the extent to which it is deemed meaningful/meaningless, right/wrong, good/bad, beatific/demonic, etc. I think of our values as little lights along that path that help guide us. But I believe them to be influential/expendable as determined by how well they align with the end of the story; in other words, how “meaningful” they are in that moment.

This is why I argue that if you want to motivate people, the best way to do it is to invite them to participate in a story that offers a way to get closer to their idealized future. Sometimes, it amazes me how an act that is meaningful will lead to extreme self sacrifice (the opposite of self-interest).

(Dave Charbonneau) #11

I read others use of “value” the same way I wrote my comments; that value is referring to the utility a person is able to perceive and put to use. “Values” may be a part of that utility. Finding meaning is likely a huge part of that utility. But, as for me, I was discussing value/utility and not values/belief system.

On this note, your description of inviting people into a story that leads toward an ideal is certainly offering high utility.

(Stuart Vigus-Humphrey) #12

Firstly, we’ve worked out how to have our internal Community website open automatically when you first log-on to your computer. Second, we create newsletters which we email out once a month. These contain attention-grabbing headlines and images for posts that are already on the Community site - so there’s no new information as such, but as many members are wedded to email, but not the Community site (yet) they will see the email and can skim through the newsletter and click on any interesting story to read more, which links them to the site and hopefully results in them exploring it more and seeing some value. Finally, our business has many factories, so our Community Champions (factory-based) will help us identify success stories that demonstrate collaboration and we make posters which they then display in communal areas of the workplace. Workers will see familiar faces and are often drawn to ask questions, explore the Community and encouraged to share problems or learning.

(Nick Emmett) #13

I think that, more often than not, saying “I’m too busy” is just the easy way out, and what people are often substituting it for is “I can’t really be bothered”, or “I already have a trillion other channels of communication, you’re asking me to check another one?” - When I managed an internal community I saw these and several versions of them. Only once did I get one person that was open with me that actually said “Nick, I won’t use it, I don’t agree with it”. As I addressed the value and actual business use of it I won her over, but it took some work.

Arm yourself with value - and be ready to prove it.