So many great thoughts. Now what?
Comments can be a major return on investment for your participants. This seemingly small act helps build a world of trust in participants, because they see that their input is being seriously considered and appreciated.
Importantly, leader comments help to transform a traditional one-way “send and hope someone reads it” experience into a real and meaningful two-way dialogue between participants and leaders. Comments enable leaders and leadership teams to directly answer questions, provide clarity, address concerns, and share their appreciation for thoughts being submitted.
When people see that their thoughts are respected, considered, and (most importantly) valued, then they’re much more likely to offer their thoughts again in the future.
Now that we've tackled why, you may be asking how. Check out these tips on how to maximize the value of the exchange and address the thoughts (and concerns) of your participants.
Acknowledge the courage and interest that the participant demonstrated in sharing their thought (this isn’t easy for some people!).
“Thank you for sharing this great thought. I'll be sure to keep this in mind as we move forward."
Show curiosity! If there’s a thought that really made you pause and consider, be sincere and open. Keep the conversation going, even after the exchange!
“I would love to understand this thought better. If this was your thought or you starred this idea, I'd love to have a conversation about it. Please reach out to me directly.”
Maybe a thought isn’t aligned with the needs or goals of the organization at the time of the exchange. This, however, doesn’t mean that the thought should be ignored.
“This is an interesting thought. I can understand the desire but don't feel that this is going to meet the needs of our organization at this time. I think that our focus at this time is better spent on our current initiatives.”
Show that people should freely share their most innovative or insightful ideas - even if they’re “against the grain” or unconventional. There’s no telling what form a good idea or thought will take on, or where one will turn up!
“This thought brings up so many new ideas for me! I love the creativity of the thought and appreciate the 'outside the box' thinking.”