With so much focus and pressure on creating an online dialogue or conversation, it’s high time we took a look at the ingredients that come together to make a conversation great. Let’s start with basics; the official definition for a conversation is “an informal talk involving too people or a small group of people: the act of talking in an informal way”, the more extensive definition adds that conversation is ultimately an “oral exchange of sentiments, observations, opinions, or ideas”. It’s clear from these definitions that there are a few key ingredients to create a conversation: people, content and some sort of exchange.
What to do in the real world
There is plenty of advice out there about how to improve real world conversations. In person-to-person conversations advice tends to focus on helping to improve or keep the flow of things. A great in-person conversation is one without two many awkward pauses.
Active listening is another way to improve conversations. And of course, when you interact face-to-face with another human, the vast majority of what you are saying comes through your body language and tone of voice. The actual words you speak makeup only a frighteningly tiny percentage of communication.
When things move online
When conversations move online, things look very different. For starters, the immediacy of things is a little (or a lot) muted. If you are taking via Facebook messenger or Whatsapp you certainly have more thinking time and less awkward pauses then you would in person. And if you are writing talkbacks or commenting on an article or blog, you can pretty much take all the time in the world to write out a coherent and interesting comment. So, the recipe for great online conversations is very different to those in the offline world. And, of course, going online takes away a huge amount of communication by cutting you off from body language and tone of voice. And so, when it comes to text, and online conversations things can get pretty vague and ambiguous.
Create a call-to-action
So how can you have a good conversation online? How can you inspire an interesting and meaningful debate about content? A great place to start is by adding a call-to-action to your blog or content piece. This can be something incredibly simple like one sentence that asks users to rate the blog and add their comment below. You can also go for a more controversial approach and ask for your reader’s opinions on contentious issues.
Pay attention and engage
Perhaps your users have started responding to your latest product or written their first response to your blog. Great! It’s time for you to pay close attention and get personally involved. It’s not enough to let your readers or users “talk amongst themselves”. Have a look at what they are saying. Are there problems with your products that you can address by engaging them in the conversation online? Are there great reviews you can thank your readers for? Perhaps someone has mentioned a point that your blog intentionally chose not to address – now is time to tell them why.
Make conversations as easy as possible
The real trick to having a good conversation either online or offline is for it to be as effortless as possible. However, engineering something to be effortless might seem daunting. Luckily when it comes to online conversations, it isn’t. Make things simple by choosing great comments and reviews platform for your readers. Or even better, forget restricting your readers to text, and try creating an online voice-based conversation.
Heyoya is a unique comment and reviews platform that brings voice to e-publishers and e-stores, improving sales and user engagement by allowing readers to express themselves beyond the medium of text. Heyoya’s new Receiver plan allows for quick and easy below-the-fold monetization. Heyoya is a game changer for websites and is proven to increase brand affinity and the quality of user-generated content.
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