Strong communication skills are essential for a great community manager. And a subset of that skill is explanation. Your proficiency in explanation helps to determine how successful you are as a community manager and how effectively you spend your time.
If you can’t explain why you removed a post, you may confuse or anger a member or have to spend more time talking about the issue. If you can’t explain the new features that you are launching, adoption of those features will suffer. If you can’t explain the responsibilities of your staff members, they will not grasp their roles quickly and you will have to spend more time training them.
My friend Lee LeFever of Common Craft just released a new book, “The Art of Explanation: Making Your Ideas, Products, and Services Easier to Understand.” In it, he defines an explanation as:
An explanation describes facts in a way that makes them understandable. The intent of an explanation is to increase understanding. If I explain coffee roasting, I am clarifying the facts and making the ideas more understandable. For example, an explanation may highlight the role of heat in giving coffee a distinctive color and flavor when roasted.
Before making explanation their specialty, Lee worked as an online community consultant under the Common Craft brand, following community management work in the health care industry in the late 90s and early 2000s.
I think that explanation is something we sometimes take for granted. But it is a skill that can be improved and Lee and Common Craft are great at it. If I wanted to enhance my communication and, especially, my explanation abilities, I don’t know anyone else I’d turn to before him. As such, I’d recommend checking out his book. You can get it on Amazon.com (affiliate link).