Three Ways to Spark an Online Discussion

Your advisory board is set. Your online portal is ready to go, you know the questions you want to ask and you are eager for the answers, and thankfully you don’t need to wait until your next live meeting to get them.

Now the fun begins, and by fun, we mean lively discussion. Because the best results will come from divergent thoughts and ideas. You want your customers to challenge each others’ viewpoints ⎯ that’s how insights are gleaned. If everyone just agreed with everyone else, it’d be you talking and everybody else nodding along. And you won’t learn anything about anything.

It’s Up to You to Get Your Customers Talking

As the advisory board leader, it’s your job to engage your members in debate. Here are a few ways to do that:

1. Share a Controversial Article

Depending on the subject matter of your advisory board, you can find all sorts of interesting material to get the conversation started. For example, if you know there is a lack of consensus in a particular area, why not post an article you know one camp will not agree with and get them to speak up as to why. This will undoubtedly get the other camp talking.

And as the moderator, you can steer the conversation in the direction you want it to go, by adding some thought-provoking questions.

2. Ask for an Opinion on Something Visual

Could be a promotional piece. Could be your new branding. Either way, it’s an opportunity to spark a quick debate because there’s not much research required. One person’s gut reaction will be different from another’s and you’ll start to see a whole range of opinions come through.

From there, you can ask follow-up questions. If someone says they don’t like the red, ask them why and what color might be better. Then someone else will chime in with why they actually prefer the red. And before you know it, you have a really great discussion on your hands.

3. Have Some Fun

Because of the asynchronous nature of an online advisory board, it doesn’t have to be all business all the time. Something light might be in order to break the ice and get people talking. Will the Maple Leafs win the Cup this year? Give people a reason to share their opinions and they will!