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Conversation starters

by Randall Craig on December 1, 2009

Filed in: Blog, Make It Happen Tipsheet, Social Media

Tagged as: ,

Do you have a website, spend money on advertising, or engage in “media relations”? If so, you probably have a fair amount of experience broadcasting a specific message to a specific audience. Unfortunately, most people use this experience when they move into the world of Social Media. They post updates on Facebook and LinkedIn. They upload documents for others to share. They “Tweet”.

The problem with these activities is that we bring a mindset of broadcasting, not conversation. To prove the point, look at all of your recent activity: how often did you ask a question? How often did you ask for feedback of any kind? At best, most people strategically share their insights. At worst, they share their minutiae.

Social Media works best – and doesn’t appear so self-serving – when there is a conversation, not a broadcast. Here are some ideas to start:

  • Ask for a contrary opinion.
  • Ask for examples to prove your point.
  • Ask for other solutions.
  • Ask readers to vote (or rate) your post.
  • Ask for feedback on a specific idea.
  • Give something to those who participate in the conversation- a free ebook, coupons, etc.
  • Promise to compile the results of the responses.

The value of conversation is that your assumptions are quickly validated – or changed. No matter which, the conversation will lead to a greater understanding, and a stronger relationship.

This week’s action item: Conversation starters are also useful in your traditional communications: your ads, presentations, reports, and even your emails. Next time you wish to say something, end your words with a conversation starter. What do you think? (Feel free to send me your own conversation starter ideas, and I’ll gladly compile them for a future Tipsheet…)

Note: The Make It Happen Tipsheet is also available by email. Go to to register.

Randall Craig

@RandallCraig (follow me)



Randall has been advising on Web and Social Strategy since 1994 when he put the Toronto Star online, the Globe and Mail's GlobeInvestor/Globefund, several financial institutions, and about 100+ other major organizations. He is the author of seven books, including the recently released "Everything Guide to Starting an Online Business", and speaks across North America on Social Media and Web Strategy. More at and

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