I'm happy that my new laptop has an extended battery life so I am writing some reflections on the plane en route to Boston. What I most enjoy about doing face-to-face training workshops is the right after reflection questions: How could this learning experience been improved? What worked? What didn't? Then, I match this against participant feedback/evaluations. What I'm after are ways to tweak the design to improve learning and to improve instructional practice.
Working with the team at the Meyer Trust - Marie, Amy, Aaron, and everyone was fantastic. The venue, the IRDC, was wonderful place. The director of the Center has been there since 1977 and is originally from Cambodia. We had a lot to talk about and I had remembered to bring in a CD of Khmer OpenSource!
The workshop was an all day workshop, with an opening presentation followed by small group exercise.
I don't always present the same material everywhere I go. I always try to incorporate new learnings and observations that I've discovered from the many interviews I do on my blog, resources discovered, and stories. I also like to practice my storytelling skills. And, while I practice before I present, many times - I have some parts that are new. There's nothing like having an audience to see where you got inside your own head too much ...
The presentation delivery went okay, except we got started 10 minutes late and I was still a little ruffled from having written down the wrong address and having to scramble to get there from a cab across town. While I was presenting, I was thinking what ten-minute chunk to cut or where I should skip through some slides. I also didn't facilitate the whole room discussion around the slides which I usually do because I worried about going over time. Lesson (RE) learned, always budget in that ten minutes late start and print out the location from an email don't transcribe (dang, was trying to save paper) Also, keep a few slides after the end that may explain a commonly asked question.
Before I went on Twittered. My colleagues in the audience like Marshall Kirkpatrick and Holly Ross were twittering ..
Aaron who is the tech person at Meyer Memorial Trust tipped me off to something that I didn't know existed in powerpoint and I must explore it. He told me there were presenter tools - so you could present your slides on the screen, see your notes, and see the whole slide deck. I must also memorize how to skip around in powerpoint without flipping through slides.
I also didn't focus on some of the techniques I learned from She's So Geeky speaker training - the eye contact and the verb. I lapsed too much into my nature rally style and I have to work on toning that down. But jet lag and three lattes makes that difficult.
The workshop was the first time I had used the game with fleshed out scenarios for the small groups to work and an assignment to have a discussion around planning questions:
- What's the goal?
- What's the outcome?
- What's the key metric? How might you measure it?
- What's your strategy map?
- What might be a first step, low risk experiment?
During the morning and early afternoon session, I felt that some tables were having difficult conversations. Should have given more emphasis to this or warned about it - or emphasized that their goal was not to produce a plan or product, but the process of discussion was most important.
- Some tables got very focused on some philosophical issues related to goals and stuck. Didn't have enough time to focus on applying the tools. This could have been how to the scenarios were written. Also, I feel we should have hit a gong after the first 10 minutes and told people they had ten minutes to discuss goal and then move on. I think the parts where stuck happens is with the goals and strategies.
- I heard people express uneasiness about investing the time without having guarantee of a pay off. I think that is where the small proof of concept or low risk experiment comes in - but there is still some resistance to investing in experiments that are low risk. I saw a bullet point in Owyang presentations that said "Experimentation leads to understanding." I wonder what advice or what you need to communicate so you don't encounter resistance to experimentation. What lies beneath this? I suspect the issue of social networking - just say no without feeling pushed.
- Speaking with an authentic voice on behalf of your organization - where is the line between personal/professional networking and being a spokesperson for your organization on a social networking site.
- The nature of your contact with your network or friends and how you build it - transactional versus relationship building? There is concern in investing high-touch time without a guarantee of a pay off. I need more experiential case studies of this from nonprofits. (My NTC panel on social media metrics, measurement, and roi will include a case study slam - so stay tuned)
The report out was amazing. After each group reported out, I asked some high level questions and gave some observations. It was a little nerve wracking to do that off the top of my head because when I listen I have to process by writing down. My problem now is that I don't do a lot of processing with a pen or marker/flip chart anymore -- but I was standing up there, so I jotted some notes down on my moleskin. I should have thought more about using my laptop and the projector ....
- Some strategies for offline/online engagement were discussed. One of the scenarios focused on how to use social networking/media for a campaign around childhood obesity. One strategy was to bring the kids together face-to-face to create content online about healthy foods and place on youtube, socnets. But at the same time, this would also reach their parents who are decision-makers about food purchase/lifestyle. What parent is not going to look at something their created? The other brilliant idea was to use twitter and have kids report "What are you eating?" or food they eat can not an ingredient list longer than 180 characters. This speaks to another "c" for social media besides community and conversation - creativity. I'm not sure if creativity is unique to the success of social media or not, but I do think it is important.
- One group look at the metrics in terms of the ladder of engagement - both short term and long term effects. I need to find a nonprofit that has created a socnet strategy based on an activism ladder of engagement and set up metrics for each stage. Anyone reading this have that and willing to share with me via an interview?
- Tags as a metric. Can you use the number of photos tagged as a metric for something on say, flickr.
- Getting buy-in from other people in the organization. One group mapped out a strategy for how they would present this plan and map to others on staff to involve them in the implementation of the strategy - individuals using the profiles.
- All the groups shared some of their thoughtful questions about audience - is our audience on this social network? How they look at their existing audiences by target group and thinking deeply as to whether a social network is the right approach.
- One scenario involved volunteer recruitment and one group came up with a strategy for using facebook group. That the group would be small, but it would be a place where people would say good things to new people wanting to volunteer. So, how to encourage or identify evangelists for your organization in a socnet?
- Privacy issues came up as especially related to young people's projects.
At every workshop, if possible, I ask people to write down on the back of an index card their name/email and one small thing they want to try in the next month. I also ask if they have questions. In the old days
of training workshops, I would ask participants to do this, but share their address. Then, in 3 months I would put their index card in an envelope and drop it in the mail. So, I hope to follow up via
I will do one thing, I'm working on a content analysis of the action steps and learnings and am going to devote blog posts to those topics. Some excellent ideas here.
Update: Here's Amy's thoughts on the event.