This is the first time we have done something like this and I found it very useful.
A big thank you to Mike, Fiona, Ailie, Kyriacos and Dimple. Apologies if I have missed anything obvious.
How did it go?
Using a phone conference call and asking people who are joining the call to provide the questions beforehand was useful. This let us set an outline agenda that we could easily add to.
We had three topics for discussion this time. I wonder what they will be the next time we run this?
- How to make your group welcoming
- How to get started with your community
- How to make webinars interactive
I’m not going to remember everything from the conversation but hopefully, I can highlight some of the items we discussed for each one.
How to make your group welcoming
- Start simple by getting people to introduce themselves to each other and find out a bit about everyone. This could be done face to face, via telephone conference, forum etc. Pick what works for you and your members.
- Help people get over their fears for participating. Some members may need more encouragement and it’s not only technical fears that you may have to help with.
- Find ways to keep the momentum going, anything from regular discussions and quick polls, to regular calls and content being shared.
- If you’re running events for the group, a text reminder can be really helpful before events.
How to get started with your community
- Make sure that you have a clear purpose for your group and that there is a real need for it.
- Identify your audience and look to gather a core group of people first who will participate. Don’t always go for the big hitters as they tend to not have as much time to participate.
- Gather a list of wants and offers from your core members to find out what people are working on and where they could support others. This can also help you to create new content such as topics for discussions, templates, lists of resources etc.
- Build a plan of engagement to add new content and activity that will keep members coming back on a regular basis.
How to make webinars interactive
- Simplify your slides and reduce your text and bullet points. Look at examples from across the web on good practice.
- If the technology you are using has polls, chats or surveys, think about how they could be used to help make the webinar more interesting.
- Start early and get the participants to engage in icebreaker style questions.
- Look at alternatives such as Google Hangouts and Skype Chat, and try blending face to face events with webinars for people who cannot attend or for presenters who cannot make the face to face event.
Our next Facilitator Welcome Call takes place on the 4th of April – "What do you want to know more about online community facilitation?"