Whether your community is on Facebook, LinkedIn, Slack, Telegram, Discord, or on some other platform, many of the challenges remain the same.
If you have any history in community building, you know how fragile communities can be. Sometimes a community starts to lose momentum and energy. People run out of things to say. Or one or two members start arguing. And so on.
The key to keeping everything under control, with a positive vibe and forward momentum, is to apply a high level of emotional intelligence to your work as a moderator.
In this post we’ll look at just 4 issues that impact online communities, and how applying a high level of emotional intelligence can make a big difference.
But before we start, a quick refresher or what we mean by Emotional Intelligence…
Emotional Intelligence (EI) is the ability to recognize, understand, and manage our own emotions… while also recognizing, understanding, and being empathetic to the emotions of others.
It’s about being sensitive to emotions, whether they are your own or someone else’s. And when you’re managing a group, the emotional interactions can get pretty complicated!
Also, while I address much of this post to community managers and moderators, the same lessons apply to those of us who participate as members of online communities. Same advice, same rules!
Let’s get started.
1. EI builds proximity and trust.
As the creator or moderator of a community, you need to make yourself available. And that doesn’t just mean logging in and watching other people talk.
Being available means participating in a way that reveals who you are… including your feelings and emotions. By being as transparent and as authentic as possible, you will draw people closer to you.
Show a little vulnerability and community members will engage with you at a deeper level, and they’ll grow to trust you.
This is the starting point for anyone hoping to lead a vibrant and growing community. And it takes a high level of emotional intelligence in your writing… or even your use of emojis!
2. EI facilitates meaningful conversations.
A community that sticks to “just the facts” can become pretty dry and uninteresting.
By communicating with a group with emotionally intelligent writing, you can draw out more personal stories, experiences and opinions.
This levels up the quality of conversations within the group, and encourages people to engage at a deeper level.
The more meaningful the conversations, the more likely it is that members will remain active in the group for longer, and recommend it to others.
3. EI helps resolve conflicts in a positive way.
Once you have established trust with your community members, it’s going to be easier for you to resolve conflicts between members.
And conflicts are going to happen! Hopefully they’ll be small ones, and won’t last for long.
Your starting point, as an emotionally intelligent communicator, is to listen first. Hear what both parties are trying to say. Be empathetic to their opposing points of view.
From that vantage point, you can then step in and help without taking sides, or adding fuel to the fire.
I’ve seen some community moderators do this really well, and it’s amazing to see how effectively they can defuse a situation before it gets out of hand.
Put simply, they demonstrate high levels of EI in their writing.
4. EI encourages inclusivity and diversity.
Online communities can become a little tribal. And sometimes those tribes can splinter into sub-tribes.
Before you know it, “only people like us” are welcome.
This is going to run counter to the inclusivity missions of many companies and organizations.
A moderator trained in emotionally intelligent writing can then step in and gently change the narrative to make the community more inclusive and less tribal in its thinking.
Even if you simply participate in online communities…
So far, I’ve been talking about the often daunting task faced by community managers and moderators.
But the same mindset can be applied to the rest of us who simply participate in a few online communities.
The more emotionally intelligent we are in how we write and contribute to the group, the more comfortable people will feel in engaging with us.
Emotionally intelligent participants are more emotionally available to others, more sensitive to the feelings of others, and are more likely to rise up as prominent and respected members of the community.
And remember, participating on online communities is almost always about writing. It’s not enough simply to have a high level of EI… you also need to know how to WRITE with a high level of EI.
Which is why your next step is to learn about my Futureproof Copywriting course. It’s all about using both Artificial Intelligence AND Emotional Intelligence to dramatically level up both your copy and content, across all digital media.