That Couldn’t Be Us Or Could It?
I share a joke with a friend in California. It’s like a script. It goes like this.
I call him up. He answers.
I say, “Hi, Eddie, how am I?”
He replies, “Oh, you’re fine. What do you think of me?”
I tell him he’s wonderful.
Then he says, “Enough about me. Let’s talk about you. What do you think about my sweater?”
That’s when we laugh to think that we’re not like the people who actually do that.
This morning at Poynter Online something made me realize how it is to do what Eddie I joke about.
Butch Ward gave five New Year’s Resolutions. It’s number 2 that brought this thought home to me. His second resolution was talk to your readers. My thought was I do that. He offered fine advice on ways to engage in dynamic conversation. Then Mr. Ward made a suggestion for this New Year’s conversation . . .
Don’t ask him what he wants you to put in his newspaper or on his news broadcast. Instead, ask what he does. What she thinks. Then you decide how your newsroom can be more relevant to their world.
That’s when I realized it.
Those standard, customer-survey questions sound like “What do you think of my sweater? What do you think of ME?”
Sure, we need to ask how we’re doing, but those can’t be the only questions, or we’ll never know our readers.
Authentic values aren’t revealed by survey questions.
Relationships and understanding come from listening to what folks want to talk about — dreams, desires, unexpressed needs and wishes — what they find marvelous, annoying, heartwarming, concerning, breathtaking. At least, that’s my experience.
But hey, enough about me. Let’s talk about what you think.
What do find worth spending thoughts and words on?
–ME “Liz” Strauss