If you’re not in a WhatsApp group, you’re living in a cave. If you’ve only ever been in one then you need to get out more. Whatsapp groups are being used to create ways to communicate a message amongst a select group of people. This may be for the following:
- Business Groups
- Close Friends
- Family Groups
- Mastermind Groups
- Marketing Groups
- Topical Groups
There is usually an admin or admins that have the right to add and remove people from the groups. In this post, I will attempt you give you some guiding tips to manage and participate in a WhatsApp group effectively.
1. Tell people you will add them to a group
Once you have created a group and you are the admin, it is important to let each individual person know that you are going to add them. This will ease up any tensions because people want to be warned even if you think and know in the long-term they will be ok with it. Don’t assume they will! To be honest with you a lot of people moan and groan when they are in a new WhatsApp group.
2. Express the Aims and Terms of Reference (ToR)
When you add some to the WhatsApp group, make sure that each person sees what the aims, objectives and ToR are for the group. The ToR is setting the standards, and expectations for the group from the beginning, so nothing can be overlooked. I would suggest you write this on your phone’s notepad and get a friend or “to-be” WhatsApp group member to check it before it is sent to WhatsApp group. At times, members may be added late so it is important to share this information with them so they can see it. Now you don’t need to go all in for this, but it does depend on the nature, purpose and type of people in the group. However, it is good practice! Let people know the expiration date of the group
3. Respond if you have opened the message
Most people know that as soon as the purpose of the group has expired, they are leaving it straight away. Some people feel awkward doing this or may even drag it out to wait to see when people will leave. My suggestion for admins is to make it clear that members can leave once the purpose has been fulfilled for the group. For members, if this has not been made clear, do not hesitate to leave, it’s your life and it isn’t rude. Simply say: “Guys I am leaving the group now if you need me contact me personally.”
– Michael left the Group
Some people may feel that they would want to wait for a response from someone in the group, but again it is for you to decide. Just remember you can leave if you want to, just be courteous and let people know that you are doing it. Note! There are some groups that do not need this as the people within the group are foreign to each other, or there has been some sort of tension/animosity… Then you could argue it is more appropriate to leave without response.
4. We know when you are online
If you’re in WhatsApp, yet haven’t opened a conversation, people are aware that you are “about.” In other words, a time-stamp is associated with your “hanging around” activity. Again a double ticked greyed out highlights that you will have some level of awareness now or in the near future that you have acknowledged a notification. The exception to this rule is if you have notifications turned off. Notice how that becomes the excuse when people are caught out but do not want to reply to a message! For some reason we can’t be bothered to respond to people there and then; we want to give the impression that we are:
- Not a beg friend
In some circumstances, we don’t want to reply yet because we are scared to face up to a direct comment, or you do not want to give a particular answer to someone. Face-to-face you don’t have this problem, it’s just instant messaging… My advice, reply within a good time and if you can’t be bothered to respond to someone, sometimes nipping it in the bud is the best thing to do.
5. Timeliness is key
If you end up not responding to someone, be careful of your activity! If you’re commenting on an Instagram photo that a group member can see yet you don’t respond to them in your group, that looks dodgy. Most people highly doubt that you made an Instagram comment on your desktop or tablet. Yes, it’s possible, but we all doubt it…!
Also make sure to respond to people in the group within a good time, as it may across as cold or rude if you just don’t reply… Very rude in fact! Keep a rhythm but live your life
6. Have integrity in the WhatsApp group
This relates to the last point but is more about how you conduct yourself in the group. When participating in group activities just think how you would feel if someone deliberately was ignoring you, or giving you short answers etc. You may have an opinion of that person but doesn’t mean you should reflect it in a cold way in the group. Just air your views to another member who shares the same views, or more strategically to someone who is not part of the group at all and has no idea who that person is. Ok, bitching about them isn’t integrity however within the group do not let people see your unprofessional side. Everyone is human, and sometimes WhatsApp is not the best way to express that humanness.
7. Respond to everyone’s message when appropriate
This is a very basic rule. Respond to everyone’s message if it requires your response or a collective one. Who are you not too? You’re part of the group so participate. If you don’t want to, just leave it. Simple. Yes leaving and not responding to messages will incur some social expenses, however, your attitude online and offline says a lot about how you think as a person. Some people will say it’s not deliberate, but integrity and due diligence is a basic standard for anything life. No one like’s to be ignored so respond appropriately to the right messages. I’d also add that address any profanities or rudeness when requires. Do not tolerate ill-behaviours. This can obviously be addressed outside of the group 1-to-1.
In addition, if someone has written something in the group, DO NOT CHANGE THE SUBJECT – RESPOND TO IT FIRST and then seamlessly change the subject. Patience is key in life because if you don’t exercise it, again you are seen as rude.
8. Say something, share something
I’m sure you’re not in a group to make up numbers. If you are that is pretty pathetic. Don’t just watch activity, take part. If you are naturally a WhatsApp introvert, then I understand, small contributions here and there are needed. If a collective response is required and you don’t respond, and the person checks that you have read the message, and multiple ones there on after, you look rude. It reads You are choosing not to respond. Again, who are you not too? This is basic communication. I have been in groups where people have gone overboard and screenshots who has read what, when it is clearly evident participants haven’t responded. It can get frustrating for admin, especially if the purpose of the group has very good intentions. Respond when required and keep it simple.
9. Do not be a WhatsApp Bully
Look, we all like banter, but we despise bullies. Never make anyone feel inferior. We are all going through things, more things than people would ever like to know. So have in mind that treating people with respect is key. If you wanna take it a step further, be motivational about your communication. Encouragement and Empowerment can go a long way in a WhatsApp group. Ok not every day, but when it counts! If you suspect anyone being a bully, call them up on it separately outside of the group. if it gets worse for you, then leave the group immediately.
10. Basic etiquette is required, it’s not everyday message the group
This one is simple. Treat people with respect. Do be rude. Be part of the community
11. Remove people not engaging
If anyone has not spoken in the group for a long time, 30 days and over, remove them. If they have given you a reason beforehand that’s fine, but you still may want to remove them. Again, this is dependant upon the nature of the group. It is good practice to let the person know that you will be removing them and giving them between 30 – 360 mins to respond before you actually remove them. If they do not want to be removed, then put your coaching hat on and understand what has caused their lack of engagement. Some people do not really want to be in a group, however, they value what information they could learn, or they have the fear of missing out. If that is the case, they need to play the game and engage in order to balance the books. Once chance is all people need. If it persists, remove them.
12. Check if you are unsure
If you want to put something in the group, but not sure that it is appropriate, verify the material with a WhatsApp group admin, or someone who is mature and wise enough to help you decide. Don’t assume, because not everyone is on your same wavelength. Over time you should get a feel for the culture of a group, however, you can never be too sure. Instant messaging and social media makes it so easy to ruin the reputation and exacerbate how we do things.
13. Mute the group but periodically check it
And finally, mute your groups if you have to. Do I really need to explain this one? Most of you do it anyways it’s a given. Some of you mute groups and turned off notifications completely. Just be sure to check the group periodically, rather than not responding to it at all.
I know some of you may either resonate or feel a way about this post, however it serves to be a guide for those who need it and can understand logic participating and managing an effective WhatsApp group. We use it pretty much every day and it is a huge part of our life. The least we can do it manage it properly.