Within a year since I initiated an AMA (online Q&A) on our on-prem Jive instance, more than 60 senior executives got on. It became an additional communications channel for executives to engage the global staff population in an 'informal', personal and authentic way. Some AMAs are so engaging that they went on longer than planned. A few fizzled out. Here's a guide on how to make it work.
Critical Success Factors:
- Choice of executive to kick-start your AMA movement. You'd want someone who is fairly senior (eg MD or D level), who is engaging online and offline and who doesn't just spout "motherhood statements" or general textbook answers. It's important that this person subscribes to the benefit of enterprise social platforms to connect with employees and to promote collaboration. Better still if he/she is a champion.
- Engagement rules: set up engagement rules upfront. Here's ours (feel free to tweak) - name changed to protect the innocent. We usually leave it open for a week or so, whatever works for the executive's schedule:
Rules of the game:
- Please post questions directly to this discussion thread by <15th September>. <Abraham Baer> will answer all your questions by <the end of September>.
- Mark your question with a number following the sequential order of the last question asked e.g. Q1, Q2, Q3... so it's easy to track.
- Please tag your question with the tags <abc> <xyz>
- Please limit yourself to one question each - while many of us have multiple questions, we want to create opportunities for as many of our colleagues as possible to get their queries in, too.
- Quickly scan the already submitted questions before posting your own and if someone has already asked your question, 'LIKE' it instead of posting again.
- Don't be shy, be direct, but think whether your question is appropriate for an open forum.
- Orchestration: Work closely with the executive to provide background support if required. Get a few people to start the ball rolling with a couple of questions. Tag groups and others in your questions/posts to get a wider audience, a critical success factor especially if the executive hasn't got a large following.
- The "I GAVE" principle - Tips to the executive hosting the AMA:
Based on the I GAVE principles of networking :
- Intimacy: Get down to what really matters to most people, not just high level party lines...Be as specific as possible in your answers, illustrate with stories and anecdotes - stories are more memorable than facts and figures. Your insights to various topics will add value to the engagement.
- Be generous to attribute success and contributions by @ mentioning contributors. People like to be acknowledged - it's a great morale booster to your team!
- Be generous with your time - spread your AMA / Q&A over a week or two so more people can participate (and benefit from your sharing). Set aside 20-30 minutes twice a day throughout the AMA duration to review and answer the questions in a timely manner.
- Authenticity: Be yourself - we want to know you as a person, not a cog in a corporate machine.
- Vulnerability: It's alright to share your failures and lessons learned so we'll benefit too.
- Empathy: Show us you understand and care where we're coming from, what matters to us etc.
Formally close your AMA with a brief comment, thanking them for taking the time to engage with you eg
"Dear all, this officially concludes my AMA but please do not hesitate to either contact me directly or involve me into other discussions on <Jive>. Thank you very much for all the questions.Watch out for the next AMA by <Cathy Dunns> Wish all a nice weekend
Regards, Abe "
5 Have a curated list of all the AMAs, guidelines etc for easy reference.
Feel free to share your tips here.