Trying out Snapchat for professional development

It’s Day 13 of the Learning Rebels 30 Day Brainstorm Challenge.  The Challenge is about looking for inspiration and ideas every day and sharing it with others in any way you choose.  My Challenge post today is about my early experiences trying out Snapchat, a photo and video messaging app, as a professional development tool.

Sources of inspiration

snapchat tutorI started using Snapchat this week.  I was inspired to do this by Helen Blunden who has been exploring it in her usual curious and enthusiastic manner.  I’d seen Helen tweeting about how she was using it to Work Out Loud and connect with others.  My second source of inspiration was my 11 year old daughter, who I turned to for help.  (She has since been a source of both ongoing assistance, encouragement and ridicule as I grapple with this app.)

Snapchat profiles

After downloading the app to my iPhone I set up my account and created my profile.  Profiles are very basic as shown below.  The dots are a Snapchat branded QR code (aka ‘Snapcode‘) which other users of Snapchat can scan to automatically follow a person (called ‘adding a friend’ on Snapchat).  Every account also has a url that others can use to follow e.g. https://www.snapchat.com/add/michelleockers6.  The number ’74’ after my Snapchat user name is the number of points I have earned, although I remain fairly clueless as to how this works even after reading an explanation of how points are calculated.  (I don’t think it’s important to me anyway.)

Snapchat profile.jpg

Functionality – getting my head around the basics

Reader beware – I’m about to tell you what I have been doing on Snapchat.  I am at the ‘consciously incompetent’ stage in this learning curve so I apologise in advance if any of what I post here is misleading.  I’ll update this post if I discover any errors at a later date.  

This post from Pocket-Lint introduces Snapchat functionality and endeavours to answer the question ‘what’s the point of Snapchat?’

The basic idea is you create stories using a mix of photos and short (maximum 10 second) videos which you shoot in the Snapchat app – these are called ‘snaps’.  You can overlay a small amount of text, emojis and graphics from a library, draw or add Snapchat filters.   You can broadcast your content either to ‘the world’ (i.e. everyone on Snapchat) or just Snapchatters who follow you.  It’s visible to you and others for 24 hours then ‘poof’ no-one can see it anymore.  You can also send ‘snaps’ directly to friends who will see them for just 10 seconds after opening.

People can comment on an image or video but their comments are just sent to you as a direct ‘chat’, not visible to others.  There is no like or favourite functionality.  You can see who has viewed your snaps.  You can’t add hyperlinks (you can type in a url, but it will be text, not a hyperlink).  There’s no ‘feed’ where you can scroll through all of the ‘posts’ of everyone you follow.  It doesn’t support multiple people having a collective conversation about your content.

It’s deliberately intended to be ephemeral, to be about ‘now’, to share stores from your life with people who are interested.  It demands more constant attention than other social media platforms if you want to stay abreast of what people in your network are doing and sharing.

You have a single story, which will continuously update as you add snaps.  You cannot have multiple stories running at one time unless you have multiple accounts – in which case I think you would need to sign out and in of accounts to switch between them.  You can delete individual images or videos from your story.  You can see who has viewed or taken a screen shot of every snap in your story.

From your own content you can download either an individual image or video to your camera roll, or your whole story (i.e. all content from last 24 hours).  Downloads save as  video on your camera roll.  Although I haven’t tried this yet I expect that I could import this to iMovie to edit.  Display is portrait only.

You can also save your own individual images, videos or a story on Snapchat using the ‘Memories’ functionality.  I haven’t played around with this yet, but it sounds promising.  The in-app help says that you can reuse the content saved in Memories – including adding content to your current story or sending directly to friends, editing stories, and creating new stories. It also allows you to upload images and screenshots from your camera roll and use them in your stories.  Again, display is portrait only so anything shot in landscape will appear on it’s side.

Uncomfortable and Strange

Snapchat what to doI’m used to a lot of open interaction on social media and blogs as I work out loud and learn from people in my network.  I’m used to being able to view content long after it was originally published, to bookmark content for re-use.  This Snapchat space feels a bit strange.  It’s deliberately designed to be impermanent – that’s the element which feels the most unusual to me.   Yet that appears to be the key to it’s popularity. Further, as an aid to working out loud, the impermanence could reduce the inhibition to share.

Even once I master the functionality of the app (which is fairly simple but takes a little to get used to navigation – something my daughter is finding particularly hilarious) I think it will continue to feel a bit uncomfortable for a while as I figure out what I could use it for.  That’s okay – this feeling is part of the process of trying something new.

What I’ve tried & what I’m learning

Below are a couple of examples using Snapchat stories that I uploaded from my camera roll to YouTube.

A daily journal – keeping a record of what I do in a day:

Working out loud about a project (before I knew I could edit out individual images – so there is some irrelevant content in this one):

I’ve tried mixing content from my work and personal life into my stories.  I’m being quite selective with what I share from my personal life.  There is a lot that I cannot share in images and videos from my working life because it contains organisation specific content that it may not be appropriate to share publicly.  There have also been some important things that happened this week that I could not include in the journal style video (first example above) due to individual confidentiality.  So, using Snapchat as a daily journal would result in an incomplete record due to the constraint of all content is public.  This is an issue common to many other social media tools.

The short duration of the videos is forcing me to be succinct.  I have 10 seconds to get a point or key message across Given I am experimenting with vlogging as part of the 30 Day Brainstorm Challenge this is helping me to become more concise in my vlogs.

I have only viewed stories of three other people.  From my daughter I am learning about making things look a bit funkier and modern.  She is not very upbeat about my potential, telling me my stories are ‘boring’.  Helen Blunden and DrCameronJones both work out loud on Snapchat and tell their stories in an interesting way.  I am using them as role models e.g. stringing together a series of short videos to explain an idea more fully, and drawing or jotting thoughts on paper and using them as an aid to explain key posts in a video.

Given how quick it is to capture my working process in Snapchat (as per the second example above) I found it an easy way to work out loud as I worked.  Being able to download content for re-use in new stories and inclusion in more permanent working out loud video posts is an essential feature for me.  It means that I can separate out content about different projects or activities after downloading and remix in more coherent ways.  The short video format feels very fresh to me.

I have not yet tried to use Snapchat as a networking tool – to find new people and connect with them.  Helen has told me she is finding it very useful for connecting with others, particularly those outside of her own field.  I’m curious about this.

Part of my challenge may be that I’m trying to use Snapchat for things I already do using other platforms, that I’m treating it like other platforms.  The impermanence is the distinguishing characteristic of this platform – I feel like I can be more casual here, and share without too much effort or polishing.

What I’ll do next

I’m going to:

  1. Keep narrating my Community of Practice toolkit development on Snapchat with the intent of remixing and reusing the content.  It will be an experiment in Working Out Loud using Snapchat.
  2. Figure out how to use the ‘Memories’ functionality to reuse and edit content.
  3. Follow more people and watch how they use Snapchat.  Observe closely and learn (i.e. I’ll be ‘lurking).  Look for the use cases.
  4. Try using it to connect with people – to leave comments on their content and chat with them (one on one of course).

To help with 3 and 4 on this list I’ve followed everyone that Helen has identified as people who show their work on Snapchat.

It still feels strange, and remain willing to walk away from Snapchat – but I’m not done exploring yet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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#ATD2016 My Post-Conference Insights

I attended the Association for Talent Development International Conference and Exposition (ATDICE) in Denver 23– 25 May 2016.  On the day after the conference I made a short video to share key insights I gained from some of the sessions I attended. Video is below, followed by (slightly polished-up) transcript.

Personal Leadership

My first insights I relate to aspects of personal leadership. I attended a session called Leading with Impact and Influence by Amy Franko from Impact Instruction. Amy spoke about leading from the inside out, and not being knocked about by external circumstances, or letting them dictate how you show up.  She spoke about creating your own leadership path to create a ripple effect on others in order to have impact, influence, and provide inspiration. She shared research from the Centre for Creative Leadership that identified key future leadership skills:

  1. Communicator
  2. Collaborator
  3. Agile learner
  4. Multi-Cultural Awareness
  5. Strategic Thinker
  6. Self-motivated
  7. Adaptable
  8. Social

I really liked the tips for building resilience. These include:

  • having a sense of purpose,
  • developing a strong network
  • self-care,
  • asking ‘What can I do right now?’
  • reframing
  • having a gratitude practice.

View my notes on Amy’s session.

Thought Leadership

Another session I’ve got a lot out of for myself was on Stepping Into Thought leadership. The session was presented by two very dynamic people – Alexia Vernon and Halelly Azulay. Before they went into different thought leadership they talked about what thought leadership is. They suggested that you don’t need to carve out a completely original area of thinking or an original idea; rather it’s about bringing your original voice and perspective to the topic to articulate what you want to say about it. They provided questions to help you uncover your focus area of thought leadership.  They also stressed the role of building strong networks to help build thought leadership.

Thought Leadership Secret Sauce

Then they went through a stack of different though leadership activities in the areas of:

  • Writing
  • Speaking
  • Service
  • Media
  • Hosting
  • Online Training

Their presentation was well laid out and I’ve captured key points in these notes.

Brave Leadership

Sticking with the theme of leadership, there is no way I couldn’t mention the amazing keynote by Brene Brown. Many people will have seen her TEDTalk on vulnerability. She was a fabulous speaker, very authentic, and spoke to her topic really well. It’s a topic that can be quite raw and I had a feeling she was reaching out directly to my heart and talking about topics relevant to my personal life around thing such as vulnerability and trust, and also that she was speaking to my head in organisational context around bringing trust into the workplace. She suggested that leaders have to make a choice as between comfort and courage. It takes courage to do the essential work of being a leader – which is to go to places that others may not want to go to, places around emotion and behaviour. She spoke about the four pillars of courage:

  • Vulnerability
  • clarity of values
  • trust
  • rising skills, which is about how to get back up after a fall.

She really made me want to embrace life, to live a bigger life and to be the very best leader that I possibly can.  I’m definitely a Brene Brown fan girl now.

View my notes about this session.

Science of Learning

I went to the ATD Science of Learning Community of Practice panel.  Four speakers each spoke about a different aspect science of learning.

Paul Zak , Chief Research Officer at Olfactor, talked about trust as the basis for effective culture.  He shared interesting research which uses oxytocin as a signalling mechanism for trust.

Sebastian Bailey is a psychologist with a PhD in learning transfer. He’s used his research to develop a model for supporting learning with bite-size methodology. He has founded Mind Gym.

Patti Shank PhD and is president of Learning Peak challenged the use of the term ‘neuro-‘ anything. When someone claims that a product or approach is backed by neuroscience she suggested that you need to be wary as we haven’t learnt much about learning from neuroscience. However we have learned a lot from cognitive science and we should be paying bit more attention to that and applying it.

Will Thalheimer is a PhD, consultant and research translator. He spoke about ways of improving smile sheets, which I’m sure anyone working in an organisational training context could benefit from looking at.

View my notes on this session.

Benchmarking

TM BenchmarkThe next area I was really interested in here was benchmarking and Data. I had a great conversation with Laura Overton of Towards Maturity who specialise in benchmarking and research on organisational learning. We discussed their benchmarking tool which is open at the moment. I strongly encourage workplace learning practitioners to complete the benchmark. I’ve recently done that and it’s giving me some good data to look at where my organisation sits compared to the benchmark in a range of elements of learning strategy and practices, and helped me to start identifying areas for improvement. Here’s a link to the benchmark .

Laura also presented with Peter Casebow from Good Practice about improving how managers learn using an evidence-based approach. The Towards Maturity data shows that only 30% of learning professionals understand how their people learn. Good Practice has done research with 500 managers on how they deal with unfamiliar challenges. It turns out that access trumps the perceived effectiveness of method for finding answers and solutions. People will use the easiest way to access information, even if they know they may not be using the best quality information. Lack of access and lack of relevance of content were highlighted as barriers to people using their intranet to help solve problems.

Practical Uses of Social Media for Formal Learning

The final session I wanted to mention here is from the super-energetic Dan Steer who had us cheering along at the right times. It was on practical uses of social media in formal training. His objective was to ensure that everybody left with something practical that they could put into action immediately to improve the formal training – and he delivered. He provided some basic principles around only doing in the room what need to do, and thinking about using social media tools to do other things that don’t need to be done in the room. He also suggested you need to think about the type of activity you are doing, the objectives of the activity and identify the best motivating and most useful tool.

One tool I learned about that session which I will definitely be looking to use is Ginkgo, which is a collaborative note-taking tool. What is awesome is that you can download the collaborative notes into a MS Word format and make that available as a readily accessible recap afterwards.

View my session notes – or go straight to the source and view Dan’s materials and additional resources.

Thank You ATD

ATD Michelle

The other thing I wanted to do is to thank ATD. 10,000 people, huge conference venue, amazing organisation. ATD did a great job at every single aspect of the organisation, and as a speaker I really appreciated the opportunity to be here and share a case study. I don’t know that I’ll be back every year it is a long trip from Australia but I’m certainly planning on being back in two years . I will be blogging and sharing more of my notes from sessions over the next couple of weeks so lookout on my blog for more insights

 

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Lists that will help you make the most from a Conference

My practices for getting the most out of attending a conference include making the lists outlined below.  As you read this post think about your tips for generating these lists.  What other lists do you find helpful?  Please share your replies in comments below this post.

In summary the lists are:

Make or start before the Conference:

  • Goals
  • People
  • Sessions
  • Exhibitors

Make during or shortly after the conference:

  • Key Takeaways / Insights
  • Actions
  • Relationship Follow Ups
  • Resources

Lists to make or start before the Conference

Goals

Complete this list before the conference begins.  Ask yourself: “Why am I going to this conference?  What do I want to get out of this conference?”

This list could include a general theme you will use to orient your activities at the conference, e.g. Collaboration, Strategy, Leadership, Science of Learning, Technology, Thought Leadership.  For theme ideas consider your professional development plan / direction, work projects, topics you’ve been reading about recently, a recent or upcoming challenge / opportunity.

Include more specific outcomes, for example:

  • To get ideas for enabling informal learning in my organisation
  • To improve learning evaluation in my organisation
  • To use learning science to improve learning strategy in my organisation
  • To identify next steps in building my thought leadership
  • To meet people with experience in XYZ

List a maximum of three specific outcomes to help you to focus.

People

Ask yourself:   “Why do I want to interact with people at this conference?  Who do do I want to meet or interact with?”

Start this list before the conference.  Think about your WHY first – consider the following:

  • Your conference goals – who or what type of people are relevant to these goals?
  • Your professional network – are there gaps you’d like to fill or people you’d like to renew or strengthen your relationship with?
  • Is there something you are involved with that you’d like to promote or advocate?
  • If you Work Out Loud, look at your relationship list .
  • What contribution(s) would you like to make to others at the conference?

Enjoying yourself and having a little fun is a good reason to interact too!

Be selective when making your list as you are unlikely to be able to interact meaningfully with everyone who is there.  Use your WHY to develop and then prioritise your list if it is long.

Look at the conference website and program to view speakers / facilitators, organisers, advisory committee members, sponsors and exhibitors.  Find out who is coming to the conference.  Contact people in your network and ask if they are attending or know anyone who is.  Do a Twitter search on the conference hashtag to see who is using it.  Check the Twitter account of the conference hosts / organisers and subscribe to their Twitter list for the conference, or start your own event Twitter list.

What other ideas do you have for finding out who is going to the conference?

In addition to listing specific individuals, think about what ‘type’ of people you would like to meet.  For example, people who:

  • Have a specific skill or type of experience
  • work in a certain type of role, industry or organisation
  • come from a specific country, region or city
  • Have similar conference goals to you
  • are in a certain age bracket
  • are in a different profession to you
  • are different to you in some way
  • write blogs or articles

Update your list during the conference as you discover new people, get insights from sessions and discussions, and referrals from other attendees.

Sessions

Look at the conference program and pick what sessions you want to attend. Often exhibitors present informal sessions about their area of expertise or products and services, so look at these too.  Assess relevance of sessions to your goals and whether they sound appealing to you.  Read session descriptions and speaker biographies in the program or conference website.  Search online for content that the speaker has created (e.g. articles, videos), interviews with them or information about their work.

Identify sessions relevant to your goals, or being presented by people that you’d like to interact with or learn from.  If there are a lot of concurrent breakout sessions that you are interested in find out if any of them are being recorded so that you can view them after the conference.  If you are attending the conference with colleagues or people in your network you could go to different breakout sessions and discuss sessions / share notes with them afterwards.

Consider attending at least one session that is on a topic outside of your normal field of interest – to be open to serendipity and the opportunity to learn something new.

Be flexible during the conference.  You may get new information or an insight which changes your session choices.  If you are in a session and not getting what you need from it then it’s okay to leave.  Use the time to try another session, speak to exhibitors or meet with people.

Exhibitors

Exhibitors help cover conference costs, so it’s good form to spend some time in the exhibition area.  There may be some overlap with your People list, and the factors impacting which exhibitors you visit are similar to the People list.  Think about what types of services or products you’d like to learn about to figure out which exhibitors to visit and what you’d like to achieve.  This could range from simply thanking sponsors to a brief conversation and collecting literature or a product demonstration.

You could make an initial Exhibitors list before or at the start of the conference – whenever you have access to information on Exhibitors.  At a large conference, walk right around the exhibition area and identify which booths you’d like to return to.  You may need to prioritise this list.

Lists to make during or shortly after the Conference

Key Takeaways / Insights

Look through your session notes and identify a short list of key takeaways or insights from each session.  See my post from Enterprise Collaboration TechFest for an example of what this might look like.  You can do the same for your interactions with people and visits to exhibitors, as well as personal reflections on specific or overall experiences at the conference.

Putting these all into a single location helps you to synthesise what you heard and discussed in order to identify key themes or recurring ideas you picked up at the conference.  It also makes it easy to review what you learned at a conference at a later point.

Actions

Definitely start this list at the conference while things are fresh in your mind.  Make a list of all actions you are considering taking as a result of your conference experiences.  Get it all down.  Think of it as a someday/maybe list.  Use whatever tool or system works for you – paper or electronic.  After the conference read through your list and highlight anything you are committing to do.  Look at your goals list before you do this to provide context.  Move highlighted items to your regular action / to do list – then get on with it.

As an extension activity set up a learning transfer buddy agreement with someone at the conference.  This is a great idea I picked up from Emma Weber of Lever – Transfer of Learning.  I’ll update this post with a link to details of how to set up your agreement so you make maximum progress.

Relationship Follow Ups

Developing your network is a key benefit of attending a conference.  Relationship follow ups are a special set of actions which warrant a separate list.  You can include both specific actions you are committed to doing as well as possible future connections and contributions you could make to a person.

Again, start this list at the conference, especially if you make specific promises to anyone.  Write down the name of the person, follow up action and target date. Ensure you have their contact details or know where to find them online.  Add them to your online network as you go by sending them a LinkedIn invitation or following them on Twitter – or do this shortly after the conference if you prefer.

Make brief notes about who you meet and interact with, including valuable informal discussions.  You could write key points on business cards.  Look through your notes after the conference and add to your follow up list.

Resources

Make a list of resources that speakers mention which sound interesting and potentially useful.  This will include books, articles, other publications, videos, podcasts, websites, organisations or associations, and tools.  Add suggestions from exhibitors and other attendees.

Speakers sometimes provide access to additional resources via a hyperlink or email address. Even if you access these resources on the spot it can be helpful to add these to your consolidated resources list for future reference.

Where to make your lists

In a nutshell, wherever and however it suits you.  You may have existing systems you use rather than making standalone lists.  For example:

  • Write goals in your electronic journal – I keep mine on Evernote.
  • Create a Twitter list for people and exhibitors.
  • Tweet key insights then use Storify to collate them.
  • Add actions straight into your ‘to do’ software/app with a category or tag for the conference so you can sort and review them later.
  • Curate resources straight to a social bookmarking tool such as Diigo or Pearltrees

There’s always an old-fashioned notebook or index cards.  Whatever approach you use, make it convenient and efficient for you to use.

Over to you

What are your tips for these lists?  Are there other lists you like to make before, during or after a conference?

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Promoting Twitter for Professional Development – approaches and resources

Jane Hart runs an annual online survey of learning professionals to identify the Top 100 Tools for Learning.  Twitter has been voted as the No. 1 tool in this survey for the past seven years.  In the past two years it has transformed my professional development, and I take every opportunity to encourage others in my organisation and profession to use Twitter.

Twitter Top 100.jpg

In this post I share some approaches and resources that I have used to help others to get started with Twitter.  I have run informal group sessions inside my organisation, and a pre-Conference ‘learning lounge’ at the 2016 Australian Institute of Training and Development Conference.   Recently I’ve included resources on why and how to use Twitter in a self-directed micro-learning program created to build digital and network skills and habits in my organisation.  Additionally, on-the-spot opportunities frequently arise to discuss Twitter and show people how to get started.

Explain the Why

To the uninitiated, Twitter, along with other social media platforms, can appear to be a place where people go for gossip, celebrities and cat videos – in short, a waste of time.  This is why it’s important to focus on the WHY and bust some myths before moving to the HOW to use Twitter. This is as true for group presentations as it is for spontaneous discussions.  Helen Blunden of Activate Learning Solutions discusses this more fully in her blog post How Do You Start Out in Twitter? Find the Why First.

One Hour Customised Workshop

I ran my first one hour Twitter workshop as part of a ‘lunch and learn’ professional development series in early 2015.  I searched for existing resources and found Helen Blunden’s post on How to Promote Twitter for Professional Development to Your Colleagues.  I downloaded her slide pack, updated it to reflect changes to the Twitter interface since her post, and customised it.  Customisation included stories of my own experience and the opportunities that had  been created actively engaging with others on Twitter and building my network.  I included Twitter profile pictures of the people involved in my stories, explaining how I had built my relationship with them and the way we had collaborated.  This was the most powerful part of my presentation as it illustrated the spirit of generosity and reciprocity that can be generated in online networks over time.  I could see the light bulbs going on for people.  I also identified Twitter accounts relevant to my audience so I could suggest useful people and organisations for them to follow.

See Helen’s post for tips on how to promote and attract people to your event.

During the session I moved between the PowerPoint material, demonstrating things on my laptop, and supporting people to try things out on their laptop or devices. I had another experienced Twitter user present to help support people – it’s important to have enough support to get people hands-on during the session.

You can view my presentation below and download it to update and customise it if you would like to use it.  If you compare it to Helen’s presentation you’ll see where I have re-used versus customised content.

Half Hour Pre-Event Demonstration

The AITD invited me to run an informal 30 minute ‘learning lounge’ on the morning of Day One of their 2016 conference.  The intent was to encourage and equip attendees to join in the conversation on the backchannel.  What a great initiative!  Instead of just telling conference-goers that they should use Twitter, it equips them to get started and gives them an active conversation to join in so they can see benefits immediately.

I was unsure how many people would attend a session at 8.30am prior to Conference kick off.  The session had been included on the conference agenda, and one of the AITD team told me that whenever they responded to a query about the conference they had encouraged people to come along.  They must have done a good job at this – there was around 80-100 people at the session!  I checked existing Twitter experience with the group and what they hoped to get from the session.  It was great to see some active users who had come to support those new to Twitter.  Others had signed up several years prior, but not known how to use the platform effectively.  Several people did not yet have accounts.  So, a mixed group.

Instead of using a slide pack I demonstrated directly from my iPad which I projected using a lightning to VGA adapter (a little pricey at AUD$75, but a useful tool).  I chose to project from a mobile device rather than a laptop as attendees would be using mobile devices during the Conference.  My goal was to quickly get people comfortable enough with ways of engaging with others on Twitter (e.g posting, replying, retweeting, quoting tweets, using hashtags) that they would follow and start participating in the #AITD2016 backchannel.

You can download the session run script.  I followed it fairly closely and found that it flowed well.  I had been concerned that there wouldn’t be enough content in the backchannel before the conference had started to demonstrate some of the functionality so had asked some of my Twitter buddies to post.  It turned out there was plenty of content to use, so it was easy to demonstrate everything in the script.  I only just got through everything on the script in 30 minutes, and didn’t have time to check that novices were hands-on trying things as I demonstrated.  I did offer to provide individual help to anyone who needed it after the session, and provided a job aid for iOS mobile devices.  Note that the Twitter interface does change over time, so suggest you check this job aid (created May 2015) before reusing it.

Although not in the script some people were interested in how to use Twitter lists, so I demonstrated this in an extra five minutes at the end of the session.  Lists are a very useful filtering mechanism, although a little advanced for an introductory demonstration.

Self-Directed Learning

In my organisation we have been developing a self-directed micro-learning version of our Work Connect and Learn program.  This program aims to build digital, networking and knowledge management skills and habits.  Program ‘modules’ are shown below.

WCL Topics

Twitter is included as a topic under ‘Online Networking Tools’ in the Connect and Network module.  Justine Jardine has done a great job curating and presenting content in the program.  We’ve applied a ‘less is more’ philosophy, providing just enough commentary to introduce a topic and links to resources for people to explore independently, plus suggested activities.  (As an aside, a discussion forum is provided for people to respond to some activities and interact as they wish as they complete the program and try out new approaches and tools.)

The list of topics and links to curated resources is below, followed by the suggested activity.

WCL Twitter Activity

How About You?

Have you used any of these approaches to encourage and support people to get started using Twitter for professional development?  Perhaps you’ve used other approaches?  What are your observations and tips?  Please leave a comment in reply.

 

 

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Hosting a Post-Conference Blab – What I Learned

blab logoBlab is a live video streaming tool with chat box / Instant Messaging.  I hosted my first blab on 15 March 2016 – here’s link to the recording.  I was inspired to do this by an article in February’s ‘Training and Development,’ magazine, published by the Australian Institute of Training and Development (AITD).  I read the article en-route to Enterprise Collaboration TechFest in Melbourne (29 Feb – 1 Mar).  The author, Helen Blunden, provided suggestions for How to Work Out Loud at a Conference.  Although hosting a blab wasn’t one of her suggestions I’d been looking for a good reason to do this, and could see that it would provide an opportunity to continue the conversation started at TechFest.  I scheduled the blab almost on a whim when I arrived at the conference, and then had to figure out how to make it work.

I hosted a 30 minute to get confident with the tool.  A few friends who had hosted blabs before joined this session.  This was a good move. The tool is easy to use and an Internet search will yield plenty of ‘how-to’ advice.  The hands-on practice allowed me to focus on content rather than mechanics at the real event.

What I learned and some tips

Using the Blab tool

Blab is an easy tool to use.  Search for ‘how-to‘ guides online and run a practice session before your first real event.

I am a Mac user.  I wasn’t able to run blab in my Safari browser (perhaps it can be done, but I couldn’t figure it out).  I used Chrome instead and it worked well.

You can add a custom image to your scheduled blab to help promote it.  I didn’t know this at first and hated seeing my profile photo every time I Tweeted about the blab.  Once I added a custom image I was more confident to promote the blab.  I also felt that the image reflected the topic and could attract people to the blab.

Remember to record your blab.  One of the attendees reminded me 20 minutes after the start of the session.  The next morning I went to a breakfast event where someone told me they had been listening to the recording that morning.  (That blew me away!)  I have since reviewed the recording both to recap content and to reflect on what I would do differently next time.

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Hosting a Blab as a post-conference activity

Before you schedule your blab ask the Conference organisers if they would be willing to promote it, and check conference hashtag.

Schedule your blab before the Conference starts so that you can promote it during the Conference.

Include the conference hashtag in the blab title.

Consider multiple time zones when you schedule your blab.

Allow 3-7 days between the conference and your blab so conference attendees can travel home and word of your blab has time to spread .

Promote the blab via social media and word of mouth during and after the conference.  Use the conference hashtag and hashtags relevant to themes and topics discussed at the conference.

Use a mix of general social media posts to promote your blab and targeted posts where you @mention people to invite them.  Target conference speakers and organisers, people active in the conference backchannel, and thought leaders in relevant fields.  Even if they don’t attend they may promote the blab.

Invite speakers to join the blab.  Sharon O’Dea joined mine and it made a lot of difference to have her take part in the conversation.

Within a couple of days on the Conference publish a blog post summarising Conference themes and your takeaways.  Curate links to content published by others about the Conference.  Promote the blab on your post.

Write generic reusable questions to use in your post-conference blab. (Tip – you could answer these in your post-conference blog) Examples of questions:

  • ‘What do you think the key themes of the conference were?’
  • ‘What is the most valuable idea or tip you picked up at the conference?’
  • ‘What’s one thing you will do (or do differently) as a result of attending this conference?’

Write conference-specific questions to generate discussion in your blab.  Refer to your notes about panels, questions from the audience, or questions you had written during the conference for ideas.

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Your Ideas?

What other tips or ideas do you have for hosting a post-conference blog?  Please post your thoughts in the comments box.

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Enterprise Collaboration Techfest #ECTF16 My Takeaways

ECTFI attended Enterprise Collaboration Techfest in Melbourne, Australia 29 Feb – 1 March 2016.  I’m hosting a follow-up blab to discuss questions, ideas and themes – on Tuesday 15 March 8.00pm AEST (Sydney time) .  In advance of this blab I wanted to share my personal notes from the sessions I attended.    Keep in mind that I’ve polished these notes a little in order to share them and help seed discussion on the blab, but they’re mostly for my personal use.

Below I’ve listed each session I attended, my key takeaways and any potential personal actions.  Click on the session title to access my session notes in Evernote.  I’ll update some of these notes in the coming week e.g adding images of key slides.

Today’s Digital Collaboration Tools – Connecting Everything to High Value Business Outcomes, Dion Hinchcliffe – Chief Strategy Officer, Adjuvi

My key takeaways:
  1. Difference between coordination, cooperation and collaboration – the need to explain what collaboration is.
  2. Seek to put community in the centre of everything I do
  3. Open up the Doors to Collaboration.  Don’t prescribe who can participate.  Don’t make assumptions on who should be involved.
My potential follow on actions:
  • Get a copy of Social Business by Design – Dions book.  Management strategy guide and handbook on social business.
  • Learn about blockchain
  • Learn about the Internet of things
  • Check out Slack – the ‘one collaboration tool to rule them all’.

Fashioning New Ways of Engaging with Customers and Technology at Burberry, Robyn Randell – VP IT Asia Pacific, Burberry

My key takeaways:

  1. User adoption – small things make a big difference e.g. Show users 1:1 how to use things
  2. Give people the functionality they need to do to their job and they will not want to find more tools
  3. Do things WITH people, not to people

My potential follow on actions:

  • Capability Community – consider introducing a ‘Capability Roundup’ in fortnightly catchups – stories of either Learning/Development wins or failures/opportunities from learners across business unit

Leadership in the New Era of Enterprise Collaboration – From Dictator to Collaboration, Paul Miller – CEO and Founder, Digital Workplace Group

My key takeaways:

  1. Power centres are moving from physical to digital workplace. If you’re invisible in digital channels you will become invisible in the organisation.
  2. Endeavour to create functional, beautiful digital workplaces.
  3. For most of us if our physical workplace were designed like our virtual workplaces we would refuse to work there.

My potential follow on actions

This session was a call to action to create digital workspaces with as much care and thought as we create physical workspaces.

  • Look critically at our community hubs and other digital spaces – how could we make them more beautiful and easy to use, more like a consumer experience?

Putting the Narrative to Work, Ethan McCarty – Global head of Employee Communications, Bloomberg

My key takeaways:

  • Understand the reason that a collaborative culture is important to your organisation.  Collaboration is not an end in itself.
  • To build a culture of collaboration select people who value collaboration and encourage them to decide how to work together
  • Recognise collaboration as a leadership skill.

Conversation Cafe run by James Dellow – General Manager, Ripple Effect Group

James Dellow stood in at short notice to run this session when scheduled session was cancelled at short notice.  Session was run as Roundtable discussion with some participants rotating between tables at designated points during sessions.  Questions were based on some of themes emerging at the conference on Day 1:
  1. Who should own collaboration?
  2. Should we worry about ‘shadow’ IT?
  3. How do you keep collaboration on the management agenda?

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The Four Pillars of a Collaboration Enterprise, Silvio Damiano – CEO, Founder, About My Brain Institute

My key takeaways

Session looked at how individual leaders could improve collaboration through their personal trust-building behaviours.

The 4 pillars at an individual level to drive collaboration are:

  1. Inspiration – Become the source of inspiration, not source of desperation  – leave people with more energy in every encounter
  2. Communication – Improve the way you communicate
  3. Generosity – Grow your generous side
  4. Courage – Have courage to address the issues that need to be addressed

My potential actions

  • Read biographies to study how generosity looks like in the life of others.
  • Use reflection tool on quality of relationships to think about quality of some of my key relationships and how I could improve them in order to improve collaboration (tool is in image at end of my session notes)

Human Centered Digital Workplace – Creating Digital Worlds Where We Want to Work, Paul Miller – CEO and Founder, Digital Workplace Group

My key takeaways:

Our Digitial world needs to be seen as a new dimension of human experience and have characteristics of beauty.  Digital workplace needs to be well architected and maintained.  It should be welcoming and functional.

My potential actions:

  1. Improve governance of digital workplace in my organisations – Create good governance so content is accurate, reliable, timely.
  2. Read Good Governance Practice Guide – Digital Workplace Group eBook

Using Community to take Enterprise Collaboration to the Next Level,  Dion Hinchcliffe – Chief Strategy Office, ADJUVI

My key takeaways:

  1. Community management is an essential skill set in organisations.
  2. Community management is maturing as a practice.
  3. Community Managers speed adoption

My potential actions:

  • Update ‘business case’ for Community Management in my own organisation using content, research and case studies shared in this session
  • Develop community playbook and roadmaps for all communities.
  • Look at community success metrics which are emerging

Communications Strategy or Collaboration Strategy? Hint: Employees Demand Both,  Ethan McCarty – Global Head of Employee Communications, Bloombergs

My key takeaways

Content and people were two key themes that stood out to me in this session.

  1. Meaningful content is important
  2. People->Process->Platform (in that order)
  3. “Killer app” is our employees – especially in connecting with external world. Encourage them to share content in days that are appropriate for them

My potential actions

  • Develop content strategy for my Capability Community.
  • Include content strategy in Community Playbook.
  • Figure out how to access and use SharePoint data
  • Investigate Design Thinking, Lean Start-Up and Agile – how can I use these in my work?
  • How can I encourage Capability Community members to share content across our organisation in order to build learning culture?

Delivering a Truly Collaborative Workforce, Sean Hallahan – Managing Director, TATA Global Beverages Australia

My key takeaways:

Note – although the Tata team is small (40 employees) the leadership approaches discussed could be adopted at team level within a larger organisation.

  1. Focus on the “human” (team) first then allow them to choose their technology.
  2. Leader as host rather than leader as hero – important mindset shift
  3. Intangible things people want from leaders

My potential actions:

  • Read Margaret Wheatley Leadership in the Age of Complexity: From Hero to Host
  •  View Simon Sinek Ted Talk on ‘Why’ again
  • Consider whether my leadership delivers on the ‘intangible things people want from leaders’

Enterprise Collaboration TechFest Final Panel – Delivering Digital Workplace Strategies for Competitive Advantage

My key takeaways:

  1. Strategies to gain executive sponsorship (see session notes for list)
  2. Utility is the #1 driver of adoption

My potential actions:

  1. Develop 30 second elevator pitch on collaboration in my organisation
  2. Prepare 2-3 page presentation pitching collaboration for my organisation
  3. Community Playbook – look at notes on ROI from panel for ideas on outcomes and metrics
  4. When engaging with a new team on collaboration find out what their business problem is and the metrics around it

Other Conference Resources

Summary of key ideas and sketchnotes posted by Rebecca Jackson

Post conference blab where I discuss some of the ideas and questions from#ECTF16 with Sharon O’Dea and Sarah Jones

Archive of all tweets during conference that used #ECTF16 – thanks to Bruno Winck for creating this

 

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How I Use Social Tools with my Team

The Learning Rebel, Shannon Tipton, asked me to prepare a short video to show how I use social tools with my team.  She is gathering a collection to support a presentation titled ‘Creating your 21st Century Toolbox‘ at the Training 2016 conference in Orlando.  I thought this would be a nice supplement to my previous posts on how my team has supported the development of internal Communities of Practice.

In the video (5min 30secs) below I describe how I use a mixture of internal and external social tools to work, share resources, and learn with my five-strong Capability (i.e. Learning and Development) team.  Featured tools include SharePoint, MicroSoft OneNote, and Storify.  Other tools we use include Twitter and Diigo.  The video also mentions that we use these tools with (1) our internal Capability Community, which includes local Capability Managers in our operational sites and (2) other people working on projects with us to develop learning programs.

You may notice that there is more content / activity in some of the tools than others.  This reflects the gradual adoption of specific tools and evolution of our working practices as a team.  One recent development is the request from my team that we increase our use of discussion forums to make it easier to stay up to date with each other’s work, and to share resources and learning more fluidly.  That put a smile on my face!

 

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