I am here in Romania for a conference hosted by the Soros Foundation as part of their pilot advocacy through blogging program. I leave Romania early in the morning and I'm probably too tired to be writing something called a reflection, but I better do it now or risk loosing it.
This afternoon we played the Social Media Game. I was nervous because I've never been to Romania, so I didn't have a lot of time or a frame of reference to tweak and customize. I hate that. As a trainer, what I've learned to do is wait until I arrive on site and make sense of it. Then customize the structure to the location.
This particular training required multi-dimensional thinking on our toes because it was being done in another language with simultaneous translation. (Like the UN where you listen to it on head phones). Here's peeling back the onion layer:
- People in the room are speaking in another language and you need to concentrate on the content that is being translated in the head phones.
- While it is one the spot translation (and it was fabulous), you have to gauge what the delay is vis a vis the audience reaction.
- Given that we were talking about technology/social media, and the translators were not techies - I had to fill in some of the content.
- My usual filter is to watch and listen for people's perspectives about social media - are they newcomers, are they stressed, are they more expert and bored .. this was hard to do at the same time as the language translation.
Documentation in Action
I usually take notes online. I couldn't because of the translation logistics. I had to remember when I needed to put the headset on and listen - or when I needed to talk into the translation mic for the translators. I messed up a few times. I couldn't stream either -- had problems texting with my N95 (don't ask). Anyway, remembered that Flickr lets you upload 90 second video clips and this was perfect.
Okay, now the content. Add the jet lag factor where I wasn't remembering what was being said and not taking notes or processing through my fingers in the room. We did a simulation with a fantasy organization. Lately, a departure from a real organization seems to work best. Some observations:
- They had the conviction to just say no. Because of the limited point system, the participants spent a lot of time figuring out how to "get the most bang for their buck." I got asked questions like - if we upload a video to flickr, does that count as a 3 points additional?
- We talked about listening quite a bit or what was described "Research before you do your messaging." I asked is that something you normally do for any type of marketing campaign and the answer, "in situations."
We had a wide mix of levels in the room - from novice to more expert and I was thankful that some of the presenters, like Sorin Matei helped facilitated a small group. That's an important feature of doing these process - having some folks in the audience who can facilitate a group.
That's all for now. See you on the other side of the pond.