Working Out Loud Circle – Post 2

View all posts in this series for better context.  We began our circle by discussing my colleague’s goal for the next 12 weeks – improving his work skills around a few  technologies (SQL Server suite, Hadoop, HD Insight, Cortana Analytics Suite – Power BI and Azure).   We then progressed to going through his relationship list, one item at a time.  The goal for week 2 is to make some simple contributions to your relationship list.

Week 2 Reflections

In re-reading Chapter 11 of Working Out Loud before having our meeting, I noticed the list of sample contributions from the book was not in the Week 2 Circle Guide, so I typed those into my OneNote notebook to discuss them in our meeting.  The more examples of contributions you can give the better, as it is a new concept to people in the circle.

The most powerful part of Week 2 was the quick discussion on the levels of relationships, from zero to five, with zero meaning the person doesn’t know you exist, and five  meaning you’re a trusted advisor.  We talked about making progress with everyone on your list through genuine contributions, and not to worry about getting to a five with everyone on your list.

After going through his relationship list and discussing contributions he could make, we created a Twitter account for him.  Make sure your attendees have their phone with them since you get a text message from Twitter on your phone to activate the account.

After creating the account, we began searching for the people on his relationship list.  We used Twitter search to locate the people and no one had a Twitter account!

The majority of the names were presenters at a technology summit and employees at Microsoft, you would figure these people would have a Twitter account.

So we had to adjust.  We searched via Google, which found them on LinkedIn.  We then chatted that one of our goals would be to create some contributions with those people and then send a request to connect via LinkedIn, not to just send a request to them now.

I changed our search within Google by adding Twitter to the end our of search query, for instance you can find my Twitter account on Google by entering “Ben McMann Twitter” without the quotes.  We were able to find a couple of people on his list with this approach.

Next, since we didn’t have much luck finding the people, we changed gears and searched for the topics – the technologies he was wanting to improve his skills in – by entering hash tags in the Twitter search box.  This produced better results in Twitter, and provided an opportunity to teach him about Twitter hash tags.

I then walked through how to use topics to get you to people.  I quickly discussed how to determine if an account was a good one to follow (number of tweets, number of followers, ratio of those two aspects – to determine if it is a connector or expert).  I learned the principles of a strong network from Harold Jarche’s PKM Mastery class, and the role of Connectors and Experts in building a good network.

I also explained the value of Twitter – how you can use the platform to meet your needs and adjust the platform as your needs change, since you can follow any account you want – without their approval.  I walked through who I follow and how I have a diversity of people in my network to help my goal of personal learning.

He asked how much time I spent a day on Twitter. I said 10-15 minutes and showed how I use Twitter on my phone to find interesting content, and how I favorite Tweets to read later. 

Another part of being a facilitator is to help your fellow Circle members use the technologies, so I will be creating a few cheat sheets for these technologies to speed learning and discussion.

How do you prefer to learn?

After going through Twitter, I asked him how he prefers to learn – and video was his preferred method. So we took those topics from his list and went to YouTube. We did a couple of searches on YouTube and found some channels that he could subscribe to. 

We were a little over an hour in time now, so we agreed that his homework was to make a contribution for everyone on his list and we would go through those contributions at the beginning of our next meeting.

After the circle, I sent an email with a link to download the Week 3 Circle Guide and a reminder to continue working through his contributions on his relationship list.




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