International Working Out Loud Week (#WOLWeek) is 7-13 November 2016. I’m using it as an opportunity to promote Working Out Loud (WOL) and give my own practices a boost by following the 7 days worth of actions to get you started working out loud.
Image source: WOLWeek.wordpress.com
On #WOLWeek Day 1 I blogged about my current WOL Circle goal:
“to clearly explain the impact of knowledge and expertise on Australian organisations.”
I shared links this to my Day 1 post on Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+. I also sent targeted tweets to people in my network that I knew have an interest in knowledge management. One of these people, Ben McMann, recommended two Australians that I could connect with:
Today’s New Connections
Today I looked at the Twitter accounts of the people he recommended, skimmed through their recent tweets, and visited their blog sites. This gave me a sense of their interests and what we have in common. I asked myself whether I could see myself engaging in a conversation with them where I have the potential to learn something and/or to make a contribution to them. Based on this initial screening I followed them.
While following someone on social media is a good first step, and an easy thing to do, it’s a superficial form of connection. So I took one additional small step – I sent them each an introductory tweet.
Each tweet included a brief message about something specific I had noticed on their Twitter profile or blog. These messages are an invitation to engage with me – to build our relationship a little through conversation. (For more on the idea of depth of connections and gradually building intimacy with people in your network you can look at the ‘Intimacy Levels’ exercise in the Week 2 Working Out Loud Circle Guide.)
Will these two new people I have connected with help me to achieve the goal I shared yesterday? Will I be able to make a valuable contribution of some sort to them? I don’t know yet. I never do when I first add someone to my network. It’s the first step in a process of discovery which may go nowhere, or may result in new opportunities I had never imagined – either with these people, or others that they lead me to. That’s the mystery and joy of engaging in a network.
Connections for my Current WOL Circle
Yesterday I mentioned that I am currently in Week 8 of a 12-week Working Out Loud Circle. In Week 1 after you share your goal you start building a relationship list, which is simply a list of people or organisations related to your goal. You aim to identify ten people or organisations – either those you already know, or new ones.
I started my list with people and organisations I already knew, many from the Knowledge Management Australia conference which I attended in September 2016. These were either people I had not known very long or were aware of but had not connected with. Even where I did know them, my level of intimacy with them was low. My challenge then was to introduce myself to these people in a meaningful way. This required that I exercise empathy – to do a little research about them, and think about what their interests may be, and how it could be of value to them to be connected with me. Over several weeks I reached out lightly to the people on my list. In some instances they did not reply. In others they did, but the interaction stalled. In three cases the ongoing dialogue around my goal has been rich and led me either directly or through others in their network to resources that are directly relevant to my goal.
I hope that I have been able to contribute to these people along the way – which will be the topic of my Day 3 #WOLWeek post tomorrow: Make A Contribution.
- Learn more about Working Out Loud at workingoutloud.com
- Read an overview of Working Out Loud Circles
- Download free Working Out Loud Circle Guides to help you start and run your own Circle