A great introduction is the key to getting people interested in participating in your Thoughtexchange. You’ll want to keep your language as simple and digestible as possible while including these three pieces:
- The why
- The progress you want to make
- A call to action
Write the purpose (the why) of your exchange from both your perspective and that of your participants. Use “we” as much as possible to set the right expectations and get people excited to join the conversation.
Great examples of “why”
- We need to learn what’s most important to everyone before we move ahead together.
- We want to surface important ideas to share with everyone.
- We want to understand as many perspectives as possible.
- We want advice from people most affected by potential changes.
“We need your input on <topic> to <enter outcome objective/progress you are trying to make> so we can learn what’s most important to everyone before we move ahead together.”
Next, connect the “why” to the progress you want to make. Be clear so that your participants understand what you are going to do with the results. Everyone wants to know that the 5 or 10 minutes they spend participating will make a real difference.
Great examples of Progress:
- Taking a prioritized list of ideas to the leadership team to determine next steps
- Taking ideas to the PD Committee to design the upcoming curriculum
- Shaping the agenda for an upcoming meeting, etc.
“We will be using your thoughts to <explain what you are going to do with the information>. We are using Thoughtexchange so everyone has a chance to share their perspectives and understand what’s most important to the group.”
The Call to Action
Finally, you can wrap it all up with a clear call to action. You may also find it helpful to include other details on how to participate, when you plan to report back, or any other information you believe will help people get interested or excited about participating.
“Click the Participate button to share your thoughts and then rate at least 20-30 of the thoughts that others have shared. Your participation is confidential, so no one will know who shared or rated which thoughts. Please come back often until <closing date> to rate new ideas.”
With all this in mind, there is no strict rule that says “question first, introduction second”. In fact, we have learned that when you are stuck on question design, working on the introduction can be the best medicine. Moving to the introduction will help you get clear on the progress you want to make. Once you have that, the question will almost write itself.
And don’t forget, Thoughtexchange staff are always happy to help if you have questions.