I’ve got into the habit of reading journalists as much as I read publications, and there is a rather excellent correspondent for us strange breed that love and consume all things related to Cricket. His name is Ed Smith and among other things, he commentates for the iconic Test Match Special, he writes for the Economist’s Intelligent Life magazine, he blogs for CricInfo and he is also the author of a number of books about Cricket, sports management and psychology. He is a smart man and a modern content generator.
Ed delighted me the other day in an interview where he lost his otherwise steely, Cambridge graduated nerve. In a response to a large sway of opinions on various matters Cricket related that were coming through on social media. He asked in frustration, that’s their opinion, ‘but what about the silent majority?’
A brilliant phrase and one that I am now obsessed with myself. You see we are now in the position where we can get opinions and information from thousands of people around the world. We have given our audiences the facility to tweet, post, blog and shout feedback in 140 characters or less. We have technology that allows them to post it live, so we can react instantly to audience feedback. This feedback is becoming the norm and our audiences are getting more comfortable about using it. These opinions are ready available and well … opinionated.
Opinionated, rather like many of the people that do post their inner thoughts and feelings? The people that always fill out the feedback forms. Those guys that take over the break out session, that ask the questions in the main sessions; that have an opinion on everything.
We need these folks in meetings, but we must remember that they are not always representative. For every active engager there are many more inactive. These are our silent majority.
I feel that many meetings are forgetting these people in the wake of waves and waves of opinion from so many more proactive engagers. Perhaps feedback has become too easy, that we are not getting representative feedback.
As a marketer my main focus is to get feedback that is representative, not just proactive. I need to find the silent majority and make sure that their voice is heard. The same is with meetings. Don’t forget the silent majority, less they stay silent forever.