E L S U A ~ A KM Blog by Luis Suarez

April 2011

Community Managers and the Art of Facilitating Communities Effectively

Gran Canaria - Artenara with Roque Nublo in the HorizonContinuing further on the topic of online communities and community building, and just as my last blog post touched based on how to build an engaging community, today I thought I would go ahead and talk a little bit more about one of the most relevant and important community roles out there, which, in most cases, is a big unknown for most knowledge workers out there, specially seeing how that role seems to have morphed into something completely different than what it was first envisioned for back in the day. Of course, I am talking about the role of the Community Manager, or Community Facilitator, which has been my preferred term from the beginning. Who else out there nowadays doesn’t consider themselves a community manager, right?

The truth is that everyone is, indeed, a community facilitator / manager nowadays, as you saw in a recent blog entry where I referenced Gautam’s comments along these very same lines. So I thought I would develop further on this topic, specially since, earlier on today, I bumped into a couple of rather relevant and interesting links very much connected to this topic that I am sure you would enjoy quite a bit. The first one is coming from my good friend, Gautam Ghosh, once again, who earlier on tweeted a link to a blog post that he put together in September 2010 and which, despite the months gone by already, it’s just as valid today, if not more!, than ever before. Have a look into “5 Skills for Online Community Managers” and find out what some of the community facilitator traits would be like, according to him…

As a teaser, here you have got the listing of the five of them, next to a couple of quick comments from my side, based on my own experience as a community facilitator, and from where I will prompt you to go and check out his blog entry to read the full description of what each trait would mean eventually:

  1. Depth of knowledge in the subject of the community: That’s right! Very very helpful, although I don’t consider it really an essential trait to have (I was once involved with an internal community building program for nearly three years where I was not very much familiar with the subject matter of the communities, but I surely knew the people behind it!). Either way, the more familiar the community facilitator is with the subject matter that drives the community, the better! And if that community facilitator knows the organisation, business, corporate culture, etc. that supports and sponsors that community, or communities, all the better!
  2. Passion about sharing knowledge: There is very little that I can probably add about this one. Have you ever seen a community facilitator that’s not passionate about the subject matter of the community? About the people belonging to the community? I am sure you haven’t, and if you have, that community is probably on its way to go rather dormant or die altogether! Passion drives everything, even community facilitators! Without it you are getting half the value!
  3. Comfort with asking for help: This, to me, is one of the most important traits from every single community facilitator out there, what Harvard Business Review’s Management Tip of the Day calls “Admitting when you don’t know“; basically, admitting, not just to yourself, but to everyone out there!, that you do not know everything, nor are you expected to, and that it’s ok to go out there, even outside of the community and ask for help, whenever you can’t help answer a particular question. HBR’s Management Tips couldn’t have put it better in these few words: “Acknowledge your own limitations so others can do the same. And when you need it, ask for help and be open to learning“.

  4. Comfort with Technologies: Another important trait, for sure, one that I have always called being capable of “walking the talk; indeed, if you, as a community facilitator, would want your community members to get the most out of their community tooling, they are going to need a leading example; someone who can show them, who can educate them, who can explain what are the options and how to make the best choices within that community tooling. And that someone is going to be you, walking the talk
  5. The ability to showcase results and tell the story: This one is probably one the toughest traits to achieve and one that community facilitators tend to master over time with practice and lots of learning from the community. But perhaps the most important aspect from this one is to work effectively with their own communities in showcasing those results and share that anecdotal evidence, versus trying to figure it all out by themselves …

Pretty tough job that one of the community facilitator / manager, don’t you think? Well, thank goodness we have got a whole bunch of different, relevant and rather helpful resources out to there to make the job a bit easier on us all. Let’s go with the second resource then that I think you would find also a pretty good, and entertaining!, read. It was shared yesterday through a tweet by my good friend Cordelia Krooss and while reading through it, I just couldn’t help thinking how scarily accurate it was describing the various characteristics from internal community facilitators coming up with “The 13 hats of an internal community manager“. This fine article was put together by Steve Radick, Lead Associate with Booz Allen Hamilton, and if you are an internal community facilitator, or if you are heavily involved with internal community building programs, it’s one of those reads I would strongly encourage you all, community leaders, to read through and then confirm back in the comments how each and everyone of those 13 hats would eventually describe you and your role pretty accurately. Perhaps even too accurately.

I found out for myself how each and everyone of them are rather descriptive of my day to day workload as an internal community builder and I am certain they would be for you, too! If not, take a look at this teaser, where I have taken the liberty of quoting over here each and everyone of them, but read their full description over at Steve’s piece; it will be worth every word! His sense of humour, permeating throughout the article itself as well, would make you smile, if not laugh altogether big time! Here we go with the list of 13 hats:

  1. Referee
  2. Ombudsman
  3. Party promoter
  4. Comedian
  5. Teacher
  6. Inspirational leader
  7. Help desk
  8. Psychiatrist
  9. Troublemaker
  10. Cheerleader
  11. Project Manager
  12. Writer
  13. Janitor

I am not going to describe all of those traits myself over here, since Steve has done a fabulous job altogether at it, but I can imagine how by going through that list you can sense what each of them would be about and, most importantly, how you can relate to each and everyone of them more in detail. I surely couldn’t single out any of them at this point that I wouldn’t relate to it, confirming, once again, how the job of community facilitators is not as easy as some people think it is by posting something on Facebook, or send the odd tweet, or sending across the odd friending request, or share whatever the internal status update . That’s probably just the tip of the iceberg in constant movement throughout the organisation extending not just internally, but also externally.

My dear friend Claire Flanagan comes to confirm that very same thing with one of the most interesting reads to date on the topic of community building and community facilitators, not only because of her wonderful insights, as usual, but also because of the good amount of rather helpful, essential, if you ask me, resources that she has linked to, including the fantastic reads put together, back in the day, by the one and only, Dion Hinchicliffe, under “The Next Generation Enterprise: An Emerging Focus on Social Business Processes and Relationships” or the fabulous  “Community management: The ‘essential’ capability of successful Enterprise 2.0 efforts” (With the rather well know jack of all trades), along with the Communities Manifesto by Stan Garfield (Which I still consider an essential reading for everyone heavily involved, or rather interested, in community building, in general), amongst several other resources worth while reading, including the Community Roundtable group that I have talked about over here a couple of times already … Gran Canaria - Roque Nublo & Roque Bentayga Seen from Artenara

All of those, along with the indispensable “Online Community Toolkit” that Nancy White has put together over the course of the years will surely become our new bible for all of those community facilitators, whether seasoned or just getting started, who are getting more and more involved with their communities as time goes by. As you can see from this article, and the various resources I have linked to throughout, the role of a community facilitator, manager, leader, whatever term you would want to use, is not an easy job. Back in the day it didn’t have perhaps the right level of attention, nor involvement from the business side. Hopefully, that’s all changing for the better, re-gaining back that respected reputation it once had and as more and more helpful resources emerge on this very same topic we can all make it much easier upon ourselves (Remember, we are all community builders) and realise how the role of community manager is much more of a full time job than whatever we may have realised in the past.

The good thing is that we are not alone. Our various communities fully understand that, and, much more importantly, our businesses, too, which is why both their leadership and sponsorship on nurturing such roles will be a key, huge success factor for the well being, maturity and sustainability of a community. Any community. And that’s about time, too.

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Building an Engaging Community By Gautam Ghosh

Gran Canaria - Roque Nublo & Roque Bentayga Seen from ArtenaraA few days back Spike Jones put together one of those wonderfully provocative blog posts on the topic of Online Communities that would surely make more than one person feel rather uncomfortable, specially, if they have got an online space and they call it a “community” , when it isn’t. Indeed, take a look into “The Fallacy of Community” and be prepared to read further on what has been one of my pet peeves from over the last 11 years and counting … “Just because a bunch of people are in the same place (online or off) doesn’t mean you have a community“. Exactly! So, what is eventually a community, then, you may be wondering, right?, if we have been abusing that concept for a long while now, and not just with the emergence of social computing tools as of late…

To me, a community, whether online or offline, is just basically defined as a group of people, who share a common interest on a particular topic, or set of topics, and who, as a result of that, would want to connect, build and share some common knowledge amongst themselves related to that very same topic. Or, as Spike mentions himself in that entry, “Community has context. Community has meaning. Community has deep, meaningful interactions [amongst community members]“.

So how do you get to build and facilitate healthy (online) communities? For sure, it’s not an easy job; it’s more than anything else an art, because, as we all know, you can’t manage a community; it’s just like you can’t manage knowledge either; the very same thing. The only activity that you could probably do is to help facilitate that conversations and interactions take place amongst community members under a specific context and with a certain purpose. And from there onwards that’s probably the $1 million question that everyone keeps wondering about. And that’s a good thing, because I don’t think that anyone has got the right answer either. There are no best practices on that oxymoron that some people know already as community management. More than anything else, because what may well work for one specific community, may not work rather well with another, since they don’t share the same context, the same membership, the same interest area, the same goals, etc. etc.

However, there are plenty of really good, and equally helpful!, resources to help you build and facilitate (online) communities in a more or less effective manner. One of my favourites that I bumped into not long ago was a Slideshare presentation that my good friend, HR and KM blogger extraordinaire, now Product Evangelist with Social Business Software firm Qontext, Inc, Gautam Ghosh, just shared over at this blog post under the title “My Talk on Building and Facilitating Communities“.

It’s a rather short presentation he recently did at triggr, but very helpful in setting the stage of what defines a community, and, most importantly, what not, and from there move on to sharing a bunch of tips on how to help sustain those engaging communities. Of particular interest would be slide #11, where he shares a rather nice graphic of how community builders / facilitators need to design for both community and content in a rather balanced manner. Another interesting couple of slides would be slides #14 and #15 where he sets the stage of who should be a community facilitator and some of the various different community member roles. Lots of rather interesting insights I wish we would have available as well through audio / video, so that we could learn plenty more from Gautam on what has worked for him over the course of the years and what not.

Perhaps it will become available at some point, but for now I would want to leave you with the embedded code of his presentation, so that you can have a look into some of the other relevant ideas that he shared during that event:

 

 

As time goes by I will keep sharing over here a bunch of other relevant and worth sharing resources around community building and online facilitation that I am sure you would find helpful as well. Because, after all, like Spike concludes on the article that started this entry:

You can’t create a community – because you can’t build people. You can only construct the buildings. Community isn’t apps and tweets and status updates. Community is shared passion. Community comes from the heart and soul and sweat and blood and love inside people. And they decide and where and when and how it happens. Not you or your website or your program

Couldn’t have said it any better myself. Communities have always existed out there, for hundreds of years!, interactions and conversations amongst community members have always taken place out there as well; it’s just that new community tooling, i.e. social software tools, is making that job much much easier to achieve now, that one of connecting, collaborating and sharing your knowledge across with people who share your same common passion on a specific subject matter, but, as usual, that community tooling is just a means, not the final destination. They are not a community. People sharing and learning about a common interest are. They are your final destination.

Your ultimate goal is to “be a part of the community in the full sense“. And participate actively in the conversations…

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The Power and the Beauty of Connectedness

Gran Canaria - Roque Nublo & Roque Bentayga from ArtenaraThere are plenty of times when the whole world goes on to a complete standstill, where everything we know of just simply stops, when one bumps into one of those rather inspiring video clips that you know is going to change the way you view, see and experience things. One of those videos that changes plenty of the perspectives we have lived by over the course of decades, not just in a working environment, but also us all as a society. Specially, when it deals with one of my favourite topics from all along: Learning, that I don’t seem to be talking much about lately, and is probably something I need to start fixing as well! Anyway, I am not sure whether you folks had a chance to look into Debbie Kroeker‘s video “Thoughts on Connectivism“, but if you haven’t, please do take a little bit less than 3 minutes to watch it and be ready to be wowed right and left. Because you will 😀

That’s right, in a rather interesting blog post put together by Debbie, she gets to mention the video itself, but I eventually found out about it through Nancy White, when she shared it over at her own blog under “Debbie Kroeker’s Thoughts on Connectivism“, thanks to a hat tip from another one of my favourite Learning 2.0 folks, Stephen Downes, at OLDaily, who references the always insightful George Siemens (Another good friend as well I am surely looking forward to meeting up in the carbon for the first time, after all of these years interacting online, in Milán, Italy in June 2011) with one of his very thought-provking ideas: “Have you ever thought about how completely irrelevant structured learning is?“. Ha! Talking about connectedness… with a purpose!

Not to worry, I will be coming back to this idea in a couple of minutes, so you will see what I mean, but for now, and like I have mentioned above, I would certainly like to encourage you all to have a look into Debbie’s video, which lasts for nearly three minutes, and which contains inspirational, learned quotes like this one:

The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read or write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn” by Alvin Toffler

There is very little more that I would be able to add in that regard that I couldn’t have agreed more with by a long mile, so I better cut through the chase and embed the video clip over here, so you can start watching it and be prepared to be blown away, big time!:

Thoughts on Connectivism from Debbie Kroeker on Vimeo.

 

Pretty amazing, don’t you think? I told you! 😉

Well, what about my point on Connectedness, (Yes, with a capital “C”), right? Let’s see… For a long while, I have always wanted to find an excuse to be able to inject in a blog post one of my favourite YouTube videos ever and connect it with the kind of work I do as a social networking evangelist. And lo and behold Debbie just gave me such lovely opportunity. In her blog entry she references the absolutely delightful piece of work by Eric Whitacre has been working on “A virtual choir 2,000 voices strong“, whose end-result is this mind-blowing Eric Whitacre’s Virtual Choir 2.0, “Sleep”, and which she used as background music for the clip.

Have you actually taken a look into Eric’s 14 minute long TED Talk on how that experiment came about in the first place and the discussion on the final outcome coming from v1.0? Goodness, if you haven’t checked it out just yet, I would encourage you all to have a look at your earliest convenience! It’s one of those rather inspiring pieces of art, creativity and poetry put together by our unique humanity that surely helps us understand a whole new world under Connectedness and how technology is helping make it a reality for us all today. And I am not exaggerating it a single bit there! Eric’s account of the project he’s been working on for a while is not only rather stunning, but also incredibly moving, as he gets to share some wonderful insights from those folks participating in the choir long the way sharing their own story. Total strangers, with a purpose for doing good, delivering big time and making us all experience shivers running up through our spines with goosebumps galore all the way through.

That, folks, is what connectedness is all about; that’s what social networking out there on the Social Web is all about. That’s why I am really excited to finally find the chance to connect one of my favourite videos with the whole concept of (social) networks describing how they operate, whether business related, or not. Because, that, folks, is no longer what we do, or how we behave in a business context, or elsewhere; it’s, actually, who we are, as human beings, and the kind of impact technology is having nowadays in all of us in helping shape up that own perception of ourselves for the better!

Thus, allow me for a minute to share with you all, over here, what I mean in a more visual, graphical way. Go and grab a cup of coffee, or tea, sit back, relax and press the play button on this video:

Then, when you are done, go and grab another cup of coffee, or tea, and watch version 1.0; the one that sparked the whole thing; the one that shows why there is no way back, why instead of neglecting it all, we may as well continue to embrace it and help prepare for the change that’s coming. The one that’s already here! … Go out and Connect!

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CommunityBuilders – Online Community Still Crazy After Years with Nancy White

Gran Canaria - Almond Tree and Its Beautiful BlossomContinuing further with that series of blog posts I mentioned in the recent past I would start sharing across on the topic of online community building and facilitating successful communities, as another one of my passions and areas of interest, I thought I would drop by over here today and share further details on a recent education event, that we hosted back in March in one of the IBM communities I co-lead with some other fellow colleagues, CommunityBuilders, and which I am think plenty of folks out there would find it rather interesting, specially, after you find out who our special guest speaker was… Intriguing, eh? hehe I am really happy that I have now got the time to finally share it across with you folks: it was our great pleasure, and true honour, to have with us, for an entire hour, one of the people who has been rather instrumental in helping spark my own interest in online facilitation and online communities over 11 years ago. And I bet that has been the case for several other thousands of people out there, too! Yes, of course, I am talking about the one and only: Nancy White.

If you have been involved with virtual communities and online facilitation, I bet it’s almost impossible not having come across the absolutely fabulous work on facilitating online communities Nancy has done, and shared across!, over the course of the years. Her work around Online Community Toolkit is probably one of those essential resources for any community manager, leader, facilitator out there who may want to get things started with their own online communities, or take existing ones into the next level of interactions. Her book, co-authored with Etienne Wenger and John Smith, on Digital Habitats – Stewarding Technology for Communities is probably what I would consider a bible on online facilitation, community building and community tooling.

I am sure that in a future blog post I would have an opportunity to put together a blog post where I can talk, much more in detail, about the contents of the book and how folks out there interested in both virtual and physical communities could benefit from it. But for now, back to the event we hosted a few weeks back… When I asked Nancy whether she would like to be our special guest speaker for CommunityBuilders by the end of last year and she confirmed she would be with us, I was really excited about the opportunity of finishing off the year with a big splash for our community online events. Alas, life had other plans for all of us, and we eventually hosted the event by the end of March! Talking about perseverance and stubbornness, I guess, right? Either way, we kicked off this year with a great start altogether!

Nearly a month later, I am very pleased to, finally, share across with you folks both the presentation materials that Nancy used during that one hour virtual event, as well as the recording of both the video and audio of the session itself, so that you all would have an opportunity to listen to her pitch while going through the slides. It was an hour long session, where Nancy covered some of the basics behind the concept of Community (And how not everything out there, other groupings, may necessarily be a community), how both technology and community are walking through a rather thin line influencing one another, for the better, in defining how community members connect with one another and how those connections influence the path technology is following; and from there onwards she dived into an engaging conversation with the rest of the audience through a rather lively Q&A session covering a whole bunch of topics going from examples of effective community tooling, communicating efficiently with your community members, measuring the value of communities towards their stakeholders, biggest new challenges for online communities today, promoting and engaging activities for communities, etc. etc.

Thus I guess I better stop here, for now, and cut right to the chase, sharing with you folks the link to the materials, so that you can have a look right away and dive into them. The link to the video recording can be found over at “CommunityBuilders Monthly Call – Online Community Still Crazy After Years with Nancy White” (30 MB download) and you can download a copy of the slides over at Slideshare or start checking the deck through the embedded code below:

 

There is very little more than I would want to add after sharing those resources across, other than encouraging you all to have a look and take the time to download the recording and go through the slides. If you are into online communities, community building and community tooling, it will be worth your time. I can surely vouch for that! We all learned tons! And, once you are done with that, let me also take this opportunity to point you to a recent blog post that a good friend of mine, Matt Moore, shared across over at the Innotecture blog, where he shared three wonderful short interviews (No more than 8 minutes long, for the longest…), where both Nancy and Matt covered the following topics:

  1. “Nancy discusses how networks and communities overlap and differ and what this means for us as members.
  2. Nancy and Matt Moore discuss how to keep community sponsors, community members and yourself happy.
  3. Nancy and Matt Moore discuss how to pay attention to online community dynamics

They were worth it, weren’t they? Lots of wonderful insights shared across in them as well, mainly, on the topic of online communities and (social) networks and how they both work together in unison to get the most out of those member interactions and their conversations. From here onwards nothing else from my side to add, other than to take this opportunity to share a special Thanks!! with Nancy herself for taking the time of being with us at CommunityBuilders and for being such a wonderful inspiration throughout the years! She probably doesn’t know this, but one of the reasons why I am so passionate about collaboration and online communities in general is due to her own contagious passion, expertise and know-how that she continues to share over the course of the years! Mesmerising!

Thanks ever so much, Nancy! Hope you folks enjoy the recording and the materials, just as much as we did! 🙂

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Improving Your Presentation Skills – Part Deux

Gran Canaria - Roque Nublo Seen from Artenara

I am sure that you would probably still remember how a couple of weeks back I put together a blog post where I shared a good number of resources with plenty of hints and tips on helping “Improve Your Presentation Skills“. No wonder. At the time, the article made the rounds striking a chord, and probably hitting a nerve, or two!, that most of us seem to be able to relate quite close to all along: you can never learn enough about the art of delivering an engaging and thought-provoking presentation in front of an audience. Delivering captivating presentations is a gift, and a skill that needs constant fine tuning, nurturing, learning and maturing over time.

So, I am back! I am back putting together another article developing further into this very same topic, since a bunch of folks shared across a whole bunch of rather interesting resources I thought would be worth while sharing on this Part Deux entry. Are you ready for some more Presentation Zen? Read on then …

 

Start with this wonderful article shared by John Mancini under the heading “8 things I have learned about effective presentations“, which surely is a rather relevant piece with plenty of advice from John’s own experiences on delivering engaging presentations to large audiences by summarising them all into 8 things. I have taken the liberty of listing them all over here, as a teaser, to entice you to go over his article and read it through. It’s worth while every word!:

  1. “There is no need for a keynote to be more than 20 minutes
  2. Tell them what you are going to tell them. Tell them. Them them what you told them
  3. Get out from behind the podium
  4. Try to deliver your content as if it is a performance. It is
  5. Can the commercials
  6. No font smaller than 24 pt.
  7. No clip art and minimal canned templates
  8. Less is better than more

Once you are done reading John’s piece I can certainly recommend you also have a look into this particular article from UCBerkeleyNews for a rather interesting and refreshingly surprising read on the art of delivering a wowing presentation, featuring David Byrne. Moving on … another interesting resource, which would be worth while your time, for certain, and which one of my networks shared across on Twitter right after I published the first part of this blog entry, would be the evocative post shared by Dan Pallotta over at Harvard Business Review under the suggestive title “Delivering the Speech of Your Life“, where he, too, dives into sharing across his basic rules gathered from all of his years of public speaking; once again, allow me to take the opportunity to share the headers, as a teaser, to share with you what you will be finding over there when you start reading it:

  1. “Know your goal
  2. Memorise your speech
  3. If you don’t want to knock it out of the park, don’t follow rule #2
  4. Practice the transitions
  5. Don’t fear silence
  6. Never, ever, use PowerPoint as your speech notes
  7. Give something of yourself
  8. Be yourself
  9. Don’t speak in abstractions
  10. Feel what’s happening in the room
  11. Make eye contact until it scares you
  12. Don’t miss your own talk
  13. Come for a place of love for your audience

Very interesting set of tips, don’t you think so? I am sure you would agree with that sentiment, so go on and finish off reading Dan’s article and then come back for some more interesting readings on this topic of improving your presentations skills and how to get better at it by the day. Starting with this wonderful blog post that my fellow IBM colleague, Wes Morgan put, together just recently and which came out as a result of him sharing a bunch of tips on Twitter around the topic of public speaking. Lots of great insights in there, too! Worth while a read!

Now moving into the provocative side of things, here are a couple of mind-blowing links I am sure you would enjoy reading as well, still on this very same topic, but with a slight twist. The first one is a reflection by Steve Denning under the heading “Death by PowerPoint? Is PowerPoint the Villain?” and which ties in, quite nicely, with the main themes covered over at his book “The Leader’s Guide to Radical Management“, which (The book) I will talk about separately in an upcoming blog post. Another worth while read!

From there onwards jump into this Slideshare presentation (Ohhh, the irony, eh? 😉 hehe) under the provocative title “Stop breaking the basic rules of presenting” and go flip through the charts of what I think is just the right combination of plenty of great fun mixed rather nicely with a whole bunch of tips and tricks on what to do, and what not!, when speaking in public delivering your presentation. And since we are talking about relevant presentations in Slideshare to this particular topic, here is another one of my favourites, titled “Don’t Be A PowerPoint Felon” which pretty much covers, and very effectively!, three different presentation crimes and how to avoid them. Just brilliant! I am sure you would enjoy it quite a bit, too! If not judge for yourselves:

Phew!! That’s what I call a whole bunch of resources, with plenty of hints and tips, tricks, techniques, know-how, and lots of experiences on achieving Presentation Zen. However, there is more… Plenty more! But, for now, let’s go ahead with just one more. If you haven’t gotten the time to go through all of those resources or interesting links I have shared above, not to worry, here is one final video clip that I would love to leave you with and which only lasts three minutes, but which, I am sure, after you watch it, will change your perception of putting together a presentation, and delivering it effectively, for good! And for the better! Starting today.

Have a look into this entry on “Create an Effective Presentation” by Nick Morgan, CEO of Public Words, who, coincidentally, just recently, put together this article under the heading “If You Must Use Power Point, Here’s How To Do It – 5 Tips From Hans Rosling“, which is also a must-read, packed with plenty of fantastic advice (By the way, one of my favourite TED Talk videos, as of late, from Hans Rosling himself is this one on “Hans Rosling and the magic washing machine“; watch it! and you will see the word engaging take a new meaning, to say the least!). Anyway, back to Nick’s 3 minute video clip, where he details “five key steps to engage any audience“, here is the embedded code, so you can play it right as we speak, if you are just too busy for all of the resources I have shared in this post so far 😉

You see? I told you this 3 minute video clip by Nick was worth the wait all the way, right? A very good use of three minutes, if you ask me… Well, I guess that’s what happens when you use your own blog to capture some excellent resources you bump into on how to improve your own presentation skills and then after it’s out there you start experiencing how plenty of folks keep sharing across their own hints and tips, additional relevant resources, etc. etc. So, to all of you who have contributed to make this blog entry on this topic a reality (Part Deux) of becoming an engaging public speaker let me share across a special thanks! for taking the time to sharing them across! Now, it’s a good time to get things started and practice! Because practice makes perfection, or so they say …

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The Power of Words – Back to Blogging!

Gran Canaria - Maspalomas LighthouseOnce again, back to the grid, back to my usual regular blogging activities, after my last business trip is now completed, which, this time around, has been slightly longer than usual, since I have been away on the road for 10 days, having just returned last Sunday from participating in a couple of conference events, as well as a bunch of customer meetings and enablement workshops on Social Computing in both Barcelona and Madrid. Phew! It’s good to be back to the “normal” and usual routines, but the overall trip has been tremendously beneficial in multiple grounds. Who would have thought that this time around I actually enjoyed travelling quite a bit, eh?!? What’s happening to me?!?!

Was it because I participated presenting in some amazing Social Business conference events both in Barcelona (April 5th) and Madrid (April 7th)? Or perhaps because I also took a couple of days off, along with the weekends, to do some sightseeing and check out some of the amazing venues surrounding both wonderful cities? Or was it perhaps because of the fantastic meetings, workshops and enablement sessions I have been engaging with throughout those few days with both customers and fellow IBMers, mixing quite nicely internal and external social software evangelism activities? Or, maybe, because I finally managed to get my hands on my new favourite, shiny, object that happens to start with an “i”, for iPad 2? Or who knows, perhaps I enjoyed this trip quite a bit for the simple treat of meeting up in the carbon with some wonderful people, a few of my Twitter friends, customers and fellow colleagues, with whom it was absolutely delightful to share dinners, drinks and rather inspiring conversations!

Goodness! I have got so much to share over here with you folks from over the last 10 days that I don’t know where to start! Perhaps, one step at a time, I guess. And somehow I feel I am going to begin by tackling something I have been talking about in the last few weeks and which I think I have finally come to terms with on striking a solution that hopefully will be a win-win for everyone. Do you remember when I reflected back on the day about those dormant periods with my blogging over here? When I was basically mentioning how with all of the business travelling I was finding less and less time to blog, while on the road? Well, how about if I keep things going, but instead of creating blog entries on the usual topics you folks have been reading about all along over here, I start blogging on some lighter subjects, which also happen to be some of my areas of interest, for a while now, like travelling in general and food (Yes, another #foodie person over here! Check! hehe).

Why not, right? It could be an interesting new experiment where I can try to see how blogging on those additional topics could help me out in a couple of ways:

  1. To keep up with a regular schedule of blog posts, instead of the irregular periods of time here and there by combining both business related blog posts and some personal related ones. After all, we are all business people, professionals with a persona behind us, aren’t we, right?
  2. To help, maybe, increase my social capital with you folks sharing additional areas of interest based on places I get to visit or recommendations to fabulous restaurants I keep bumping into every so often. I know of a few of you out there who would love to read more about those, too! And maybe share a table at any of them at some point in time, too! hehe
  3. And, finally, perhaps give me also an opportunity to share one of those hobbies I have developed over the last 7 years: photography. As you folks know, I have got my own Flickr account, but it’s been a little while since I have shared a batch of pictures from the recent places I have visited, including Gran Canaria itself, where I live. So this would certainly help me get back on the schedule of posting more pictures on a regular basis. And then link to them over here with short descriptions on where I have been and all.

The good thing is that I already got a very very good example to follow. One of my old time KM mentors, and KM blogger extraordinaire, the always insightful and thought-provoking, Bill Ives, does this on a rather regular basis, when he blogs about his favourite restaurants on cities he has visited just recently, as well as sharing his travelling experiences, including some wonderful pictures, and not to mention his own art! Thus it shouldn’t be too hard, initially. But let me ask you, folks, what you would think about it? Will you stick around and find out some more what I have been up to while away from the traditional work environment? Or will you move on to something else more interesting…? 🙂

To help you decide going one way or another, how about if I also keep sharing shorter blog posts, where I can help spread the word around on those amazingly inspiring video clips, and other golden nuggets, one keeps bumping into every so often, which I think is worth while sharing across to raise some more its own visibility, maybe to inspire others into making a difference, maybe to detail how, sometimes, it’s the small things that matter, those that make us all a bit more human, after all. How about if we get this series going with this particular YouTube video on “The Power of Words“, which seems to be a spin-off of this other original brilliant piece of art: “Historia de un letrero, The Story of a Sign“:

Very touching, don’t you think? It will be another few weeks, before I am on the road again, in order to try this new experiment here in my blog on “getting more social, more personal and do business”, and see how it would go further along, but, certainly, this exercise would give me an opportunity to get back on track with my own regular blogging activities, which will resume, once again, from here onwards … So thanks a bunch for sticking around! We are back in business! 😀

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