Archive for August, 2012

The Power of Peer Assists

August 30, 2012 Leave a comment

Last week I ran a Peer Assist with a group of Online Faciltators.

One of the groups where a little concerned and wanted a bit of advice.

Peer Assists are a great way of sharing the collective experience of the group but also to suggest ideas that have never been tried before.

There’s even a great little video on youtube that demonstrates how they work.

We had three focused questions that where to be asked to the group,  resulting in some great suggestions and tried and tested methods.

  1. How do we expand the core group of members?
  2. How do we demonstrate the value and benefits to our members?
  3. How do I get the most bang for my buck regarding the time I spend facilitating the group?

How do we expand the core group of members?

  • Tweet new content (Check out the upcoming Social Media Week in #localgetssocial)
  • Make use of hot seats
  • Make groups the interactive part of your team offer
  • Use events to promote the community with flyers, posting presentations and following up questions to speakers that weren’t able to be asked on the day
  • Personalised acceptance / welcome notes: personable, friendly, signpost to sources of help
  • Review your membership and target councils where there are gaps; invite them to join
  • Channel shift – post and answer emailed questions on the group
  • Use external forums (LGC, Guardian networks) to promote the community and make links to new audiences
  • Include the expectation of contribution in the group ground rules
  • Have a mix on content that people can interact with – it doesn’t all have to be at an expert level and doesn’t all have to be serious
  • Think about incentives for joining (1000th member celebrations etc)
  • Member of the month / interview key members
  • Face to face events
  • Use e.g. peer review signposting and principal advisers – join up better with other parts of the LGA and other Groups

How do we demonstrate the value and benefits to our members?

  • Review existing content for evidence of benefits
  • Reflect benefits in updates / reviews
  • Look at including community numbers in internal reports

How do I get the most bang for my buck regarding the time I spend facilitating the group?

  • Be personally interested and interesting
  • Think about what content you can post that only the group can see e.g. communications from central Government
  • Try to bring in Govt contacts to the groups
  • Ask people for their views; be provocative
  • Be aware of your own priorities and those of the team – are you focussing on the right things?
  • Use group messaging
  • Review Google Analytics to see what’s working

A big thank you to Rebecca for sharing the notes from the session.


I don’t have time to faciltiate the community!

August 22, 2012 Leave a comment

Time is a big issue for many facilitators.  They are unable to put the effort in to get members to interact and wonder why members do not come back.

And member’s wonder why they even joined.  It’s a bit of catch 22.

 But what about if you could facilitate a community on one hour a day?

For some people that would still is a tough task.  So how about 10 minutes a day.

It’s better to be doing something rather than nothing.

Personal online tools to assist you in facilitating your group

August 2, 2012 Leave a comment

This is something that I have been thinking about for a while and has a great overlap with the concept of Personal Knowledge Management which has been discussed and talked about for a while from people such as Patrick Lamb from Straits Knowledge and Harold Jarche

As you all know the role of the online community facilitator is quiet diverse as you can see via Dion Hinchcliffe’s Jack of all trades, who says that, you will play these roles as a community facilitator.

Project Management, Customer Management, Professional Development, Brand Management, Advertising and Marketing, Staff development, Business Planning, Community Management and Content Management.

But what tools are there out there that can help you fulfil some of these roles?

One term that has started to come about is Content Curation, which covers quiet a few of the topics that Dion mentions

Sumeet Moghe uses a great image to show how you would content curate if it was dealing with Personal Knowledge Management and I have taking his concept to share what I do.


From August 2, 2012


But as we are looking to support and feed the community I believe there is one bit missing for us and that is Share

Making the list

  • Collect – What tools do you use to collect content?
  • Process – What tools do you use to highlight content to go back to?
  • Organise – What tools do you use organise the content?
  • Review and Retrieve – What tools do you use to review and retrieve content?
  • Share – What tools do you use to share the content?

So what personal online tools do you use to help, collect, process, organise, review and share content with your community?

Well I asked this question to the Online Facilitators Community on the Knowledge Hub where we organised an online round table for 90 minutes.

Below is a summary of what tools we discussed broken down into each of the five categories.

World's Largest Basket with ApplesCollection

Try to keep your mechanism for collection automated as this can save a huge amount of time rather than manually collection.  It can also mean that you have the info collected in advance, so you can get to processing.

  • Google Reader to collect and aggregate all of my information from news sites and blogs;
  • Twitter Hash Tags to collect and aggregate all of the information that my social network wants to throw my way;
  • Newsletters, Webinar’s and other communities.
  • Evernote
  • Sticky Notes – Google chrome
  • To do – Outlook
  • Youtube
  • Google Alerts
  • Slick RSS
  • Slideshare
  • Linkedin
  • Other community sites

Processingconveryor belt

You all know that you will never be able to keep up with everything just dip your foot in when it’s convenient.  If you miss something really important, your networks will bring it to the surface again at some point

Try to skim through all the information that has comes your way, while resisting the need to read through each of them.  And highlight the ones to come back to.

OrganisingOrganized embroidery floss

Organising is really a direct follow on to the processing.  As you are processing the content you will probably be tagging the content in a way to easily find it.  Or adding it to a tool for later use.

  • Delicious
  • Scoop It
  • Mindmapping
  • Google Drive
  • Outlook Folders


Reviewing & RetrievingWinston retrieves the news

When your content is organised hopefully you can find it easily, all you should be doing is searching for it.

ShareShared Zone>

That’s the finally stage you have collected, organised and are ready to share the content, but what is the best way to get the content to the correct audience.  You know how they communicate so pick the appropriate channel.

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