You might have the feeling if you’re using Social Media that you’re preaching to the converted. I often do. Question:

  • How many more case studies can we read?
  • How many more times can the same common sense be reinterpreted in 5 different points?
  • How many more summarises and digest emails can we look through for the same content packaged in new ways?
  • How many more comments can you leave saying “Great post”?
  • How many more events can you attend?

Lessons from Church

I’m an assistant pastor at my church. We have similar issues: How many sermons can you sit through? How many times can you come to church and hear the same basic principles (change, love, give, help) said in different ways?

There comes a point when you realise you are preaching to the converted. At this point you realise that it’s no longer about what you say, it’s about what they do.

Check out the diagram below. I’ve adapted it from Purpose Driven Church by Rick Warren (affiliate link) so that the language is more business orientated.


It’s pretty obvious, but let’s break it down.

  • The Crowd are the people in your general vicinity. This could be your city. In Social Media this used to be everyone on Twitter. But now that people follow so many other people, your crowd is probably those that either you follow or who follow you – people that you are linked to, but don’t engage with. These often are not aware of you.
  • The Community are those who in my case use the #likeminds hashtag and attended the last Like Minds Conference. You may speak with them occasionally. They are aware of you.
  • The Connected are the ones that you speak with semi-regularly to regularly. You comment on and subscribe to their blogs. Sometimes you collaborate with them. They are engaged with you.
  • The Committed are those you speak, discuss, update, collaborate and work with regularly. They are builders with you.
  • The Core are those with whom your life is share. They lead with you.

You see the change here. At the crowd level, you aren’t aware of each other. At the core level, you are leading with each other. The difference is action.

The tipping point is going from community to connected.

If you feel you are preaching to the converted

Then stop preaching. Instead, start working with them.

A few ideas for you to turn community into connections.

  • Schedule a skype call and get talking about your passions.
  • Agree to work together on a small project
  • Go out of your way to refer or make an opportunity for them
  • Do something extraordinarily special for them
  • Meet them

How about you? Are you preaching to the converted?

Archived Comments

  • Robin Dickinson

    Yes, there are many actions to honour and serve the converted.

    Encourage them.
    Support them.
    Acknowledge them.
    Be there for them when it counts – especially when it’s inconvenient for you.
    Promote them and their business/organisation.
    Learn what’s important to them and help them get it.
    Help them succeed.

    Yes, this transformation from wider community to personal connections does not spontaneously generate, it takes effort, action and commitment. It’s about doing the loads of little things that make a huge difference – to someone else.

    Best, Robin :)

  • Chris Hall

    I couldn’t agree more. So many people are talking to the same people about the same things. Time to start talking to the whole world. Embrace the fact that most things get done when people get together. I’m not advocating everyone leaves social media and starts to have meetings all day long because that it itself is a culture of nothingness (is that a word??) too.

    We can begin to develop our relationships online but the ones with potential [personal and professional] should be fulfilled in the real world not the virtual one. When we all do this then things will happen and change for the better will occur.

  • / Scott Gould

    Leadership. More and more I’m realising the desperate need for leadership in all this. But also facilitation. As you know, I’m astounded by what you’re doing.

    What resources are best for us to start with in regards to facilitation?

  • teedp

    Thanks Scott
    You gave 5 Great practical tips in a world of fluff !!

    1 Schedule a skype call and get talking about your passions.
    2 to work together on a small project
    3 Go out of your way to refer or make an opportunity for them
    4 Do something extraordinarily special for them
    5 Meet them
    thanks mate !!

    I am becoming more practical in life – must be my wife ! I am off to laminate my bank statements now ;-)

    Hi Robin,

    I like your comment – “Yes, there are many actions to honour and serve the converted.”

    I think the key is Honour is not Honour without an action !

  • / Scott Gould

    Chris – this is something of course that you are doing.

    My question then is, what lessons and wisdom have you gained on how to do this?

  • / Scott Gould

    Then do it! :-)

  • Robin Dickinson

    That’s an excellent question that needs to be carefully unfolded over several longer conversations. That said, the key to start with is to embrace the facilitation mind-set.

    Key things to consider:

    The importance of listening our way into relationships, rather than talking.

    The shift away from opinionating and the need to be right, to creating space for others to be heard.

    The creation of conversational spaces in which it’s safe to exchange radically different views.

    The hunger to develop a heightened sensitivity to the needs of others – and the needs behind the need – and then serve to those needs.

    The desire to become response-oriented and flexible rather than immovable with fixed positions.

    There are many more, but this is a good starter list.

    Best, Robin :)

  • Chris Hall

    Great question.

    I’ve learnt to trust my instincts with people. I can’t handle the noise of the Social media stream for too long. Yes new people turn up and I look to engage, support and communicate with them but its about finding the people who you want to be around and who want the same back.

    I watch, listen, engage and then understand who I want to know better based on the relationship that’s developed. It is at this point that things move into real connections being made.

    Many people are at the ‘community’ part of your post and this is where we all feel part of something big. Some are happy to stay there.

    The ones I enjoy the most are the Connected, Committed and The Core because this is where you can make people feel special, this where you’ll really understand and be able to help them; and from here the relationship will succeed for all.

  • Robin Dickinson

    Thanks! I’m a big fan of words like honour, serve, oath, promise, bond and commit – especially when it comes to building mutually valuable relationships.

    Robin :)

  • Brad Shorr

    Scott, Excellent post – I love the brutal honesty. I started banging the drum for business blogs in 2005 and ran head on into a wall of negativity and at times, outright derision. So, a bit later when I found a comfort zone of people who had embraced social media, I’ll admit I gravitated to them. It’s good to know you’re not alone. But, you and the commenters are right. Preaching to the choir has limited value in terms of achieving any sort of tangible result. There is still a great need for learning in the business community. The good news is I’m sensing a growing interest in social media from many of the same people who scoffed at blogs three or four years ago. One way or another we seem to be making progress.

  • / Scott Gould

    You’re right – many, many ppl are happy to stay at the community level – and we have to be content to let some ppl just stay there.

    The trick is that we don’t let people just stay in the community level because we are adverse to deeper connections. I think this is a real problem:

    – We find lots of people talking about collaboration who don’t actually collaborate
    – Ppl who continually push ppl away
    – Ppl who have lots of shallow touches, but nothing deep
    – Those who won’t open up and also accept advice as well as give it.

    I used to think that it was natural for everyone to enjoy the commiitted and the core – but I realised that the burden of leadership required here is high – and many shun it.

  • / Scott Gould

    Thanks for the honesty in return.

    In your example of gravitating and then those becoming the choir – my point is that we should take the choir and get them to build with us.

    Robin and I, for instance, speak regularly and collaborate. We don’t read and comment on each others stuff for vanity – we are both committed to each other.

    I think we need to change our blogs from content marketing to collaboration…

  • / Scott Gould

    Yes – we do need to discuss it more. Your post, 5 ways to increase blog comment quality, was a great starting point for me. I had to swallow some of my own medicine that I found in what you were saying too!

    (For those reading:…)

    I guess there is such simplicity in one way:

    listening vs talking
    hearing vs opinionating
    creating space vs giving commands
    hunger vs full
    response vs initiate

  • Andrew

    Good post Scott.

    I have a very low tolerance threshold for repetitive talk. If we’ve talked about it before, great. Let’s not talk about again until either 1) something has changed, or 2) we are doing something about it.

    The danger of bringing like minds together, is that without a “next action”, the talk becomes repetitive and inane (and boring). You have done (and I’m sure you will continue to do) a great job moving Like Minds forwards with actions.

    So instead of just talking about making Exeter into a “social media” city (for me, this means having sector-leading and best-practice-defining companies operating out of here, and having a public sector that values and creates value from these new tools), we are opening up our new office to contractors and small businesses and others who want to drop in, to create a hub for people who are interested in doing stuff together, not just talking about stuff together. More info at

  • / Scott Gould

    Drew – so true. I think that must become a maxim of Like Minds – don’t talk again unless you’ve moved the needle.

    A course on GTD might be appropriate :-)

    I love what you guys are doing with the ‘hub’ (is there an official name?) – I should write about it next perhaps? What could I tell people about it?

  • Andrew Davies

    There is no official name yet – but as soon as the legals are done, lets talk about it :)

  • Jo Porritt

    Great post and infographic Scott (am laughing at the overused “great post” I just typed LOL)

    To just add my perspectives – I agree that we have reached a point where those of us that have been “swimming in this stream” for some time now realise (and probably did a while back) that there is regurgitated content, and we all instinctively feel it is now time to move beyond this.

    I think this is possibly a natural process of evolution with the whole being that is social media! Those of us that are immersed in the process and not newbies, feel a restlessness I guess – but I think it is critical to get to this “restless” state in order to convert to real collaborations and actions.

    It’s a good sign :) and means we are going in the right direction. We learnt and shared together, now (if we choose) we can take it to the next steps. Chris Hall and I are at that point (hope he won’t mind me saying that on here!) and we have real, physical, tangible plans in place to make this happen.

    I said at the beginning of this year to some Twitter friends that I think 2010 will see a shift in SM – the wheat from the chaff if you like – and this is the process we are going through now.

    This time next year we will be looking at the results of these fruitful connections with the core – I have no doubt


  • / Scott Gould

    Hey Jo

    Yeah there is a restlessness isn’t there?

    I’m setting up phone calls and meetings with people where it’ll basically be – “what can we do together”

    Then we don’t talk again until we’ve moved something forward!

    We should sure talk soon.

  • Jo Porritt

    We will Scott :)

  • juliewalraven

    Yes, Scott! Like this post! Goes really well with my notes from Pastor Tim’s Peter the UpNort Fisherman for today. He said we need to connect up with God. (imagine these notes delivered with Yah, der hey, Up Nort accent by a pastor wearing red thermals, plaid shorts, camoflage shirt, orange knit cap, and sun glasses) — When we opt only for those theological discussions, we’re in trouble… we’ll end up in a big brawl and a black eye — instead we want to connect with God to do real things here… when we skip that connection we’re in trouble. (our church is known for outreach – we glean potatoes for the hungry, host faith in action days with multiple activities, have a vibrant food pantry, and go on mission trips both in and out of the country — two of our young people with medical backgrounds were in the Dominican Republic on missions during the Haiti earthquake and ended up moving over to help with Haiti.)

    I love connecting with real people in any way I can… through social media, through conversations on Skype, phone or in person. I love building those connections to be useful by using the talents of those around me to get things done and accomplish my own goals. Social media has connected me to many people who I have worked with, collaborated with, or hired… I think that is what it is meant to be.

  • / Scott Gould

    Thanks Julie for the kind words. Good to hear about a vibrant Church that is focussed on change rather than sitting in pews like a social club! Love what you guys are doing – pretty similar to what we are doing here in Exeter.

    In all the connections that you’ve made, what have you found to be the repeatable lessons and key things to create a stronger connection?

  • juliewalraven

    What’s most important in my strategy is that it is continually evolving. I keep learning, testing, and changing. I don’t follow everyone who follows me on Twitter — never did — I wait until we have built a relationship. I cross areas with the connections I make and though I have some people in all places, I have different friends / connections on different platforms.

    From my long time of running Wausau Whitewater, I have many friends who are paddlers. I still keep up with them on Facebook where I get to see the photos of running rivers and adventures. A few like Joe Jacobi, current head of USACK, is also a real life friend and we “talk” more on Twitter. A friendly banter often about food.

    On all of my platforms, I am connected with other career professionals. Most of us are sole proprietors and the interaction with others in the same field creates camaraderie and sharing. I meet people I have never met before on blogs and through Twitter and sometimes Facebook. I have a cluster of friends mostly in Alabama draw from one connection on a blog long ago.

    I have skyped with Twitter friends in the UK more than anywhere else.

    My WordPress expert, Kim Woodbridge and I met on her blog a couple years ago and I have hired her multiple times. Never even talk on the phone, all Twitter and e-mail.

    I think what I am saying is that you build common ground by being willing to share, talk, care, connect, and then for me… I find ways to help others and have them help me.

  • / Scott Gould

    Thanks for these insights.

    My ‘trick’ is to talk to someone – on the phone, face to face, skype. It means that you immediately get past the ‘what should be do next’ phase

    Very nice stuff Julie!

  • simbeckhampson

    Same trick: that’s exactly what I like to do…talking is actually what its all about.

  • Robert Burke

    What about shenanigan preaching? For example…

    How Many of You Know What a Parenthetic Brain-Bashing is?
    By Robert Winkler Burke
    Copyright 4/25/11

    How many of you know,
    What a parenthetic brain-bashing is?
    (Can I get a yes? No?)
    I will talk about rocks, then give: quiz!

    How many of you know,
    A rock is hard!
    (My parentheses,
    Come off guard!)

    It is hard to figure,
    What I’m up to!
    Rock nature, or screw you!
    (That’s what I do!)

    I screw with your brain,
    While talking about a rock,
    Rock, you think in main,
    (While your soul I deft stock!)

    Rocks are hard!
    (Give me a yes!)
    What I do,
    You can’t guess!

    Rocks are this, that and the other,
    (You agree? Nod your head!)
    I see heads nodding, oh brother!
    I’ve made your brains blood-red!

    Cain slew Abel,
    But it doesn’t say how,
    I need no rock,
    To kill thought unseen now!

    Hard rocks used to kill,
    Tend to leave a pathetic stain,
    I kill my audience,
    With unseen parenthetic maim!

    (Am I right? Yes?)
    Good! Now you all know a rock is hard,
    Satan taught me,
    Mesmerize! Interrupt! (Can’t see, pard’?)

    Why, it’s the perfect NLP crime!
    With not any left-behind, discoverable, forensic evidence,
    They pay you, with absconded dime,
    To (unbelievably) lobotomize their made-sick residence!

    Just start a subject,
    (Interrupt! Amen?)
    With “How many know…?”
    So easy, it’s SIN!

    Talk about a rock not being scissors-paper,
    Say, how many know that’s so illogical!
    Don’t ever count the hands, oh mind-scraper,
    To fog brains up, why that’s your ill call!

    In the end the audience, (it’s so funny!)
    Will know nothing more about a rock,
    No matter. (You always win!) Ask tithe money!
    You’ll get it, before brains unlock!

    It’s how tyrants get elected,
    It’s the way of the zombie, un-fun world!
    It goes hard on the dumb sheep,
    (Sheered! Their brains master spun-whirled!)

    So then, how many of you know,
    What a parenthetic brain-bashing is?
    Good! You can now deceit sow,
    In That Day, it’s how to GET (in God’s biz!)

    Four score and seven years ago,
    Our forefathers bought a stunningly deceitful pogrom,
    (So, how many know how this works?)
    Interrupt thought and rule like a Commie Shogun!

    Let’s be honest. Here’s what I think,
    (Give me a yes! Right? Then, you’ll agree!)
    Dominate dumb sheep brains!
    It works perfect! (Parenthetically!)