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Do you read the instructions?

There is usually an element of excitement when getting something new to play or work with – a new gadget, piece of furniture, toy, software or even a new Knowledge Hub group. Yes, it can be exciting and you might find that you cannot wait to get started. The question here is… do you read the instructions provided first?

You might be someone who jumps right in and gets stuck in there and learns by winging it. Or you might be a little more cautious and assess all the bits and pieces first and then get going, knowing that you have some formal guidance to help you along the way. Then there are those who prefer to seek some help and advice from others and find out how they got on with it, and perhaps learn from their experiences before trying it out for themselves.

As with most things there is no one size fits all and you might take a combination of these approaches. There is no real right or wrong answer and it comes down to you and how you best learn, the time you have available to learn it within, and ultimately why you are learning it.

Screen shot of 'getting your group started' help section. So, bringing this back to Knowledge Hub (and online facilitation of course), we are the first to admit we have a lot of guidance to help you get started (i.e. the fittingly named ‘getting your group started’ help section). This is just because with the range of collaboration features you get, there is so much you can do within a Knowledge Hub group to help support your work. Our support materials have been created in a way that shares our tips, experiences, and good practice from over the years in the form of infographics, FAQs, video walkthroughs, e-books and checklists. We want to make it easy for you to dip in and out, as and when you need it. Plus, we like talking about Knowledge Hub, digital collaboration and community management.

When you are setting up an online group and your role is to facilitate and manage the group, of course it would be great to take the time to read through all the relevant guidance. But we know that this is not always possible, and at the same time we want you to get your group off to the best start and help you achieve what you set out to do. Instead we ask that you set aside some time (even if it is just 30 minutes) exploring your group and familiarising yourself with the features it has to offer – before you launch your group and invite colleagues to join.

A thought-out engagement plan is one of the most important factors in creating an online group where you want your members to get involved. There is no value in inviting members to join if they do not know what to do when they get there. The same applies to your co-facilitators – make sure they know what the plan is, what their role is and how the group is intended to support your work. Do what you can to make sure your group’s content and activity reaches your members in the right way and at the right time.

For those that do like to read instructions, we thought it would be helpful to highlight a few of the “if you can’t read them all, then just read these ones” guidance:

You'll find lots of other useful guides in the Online Facilitators Community - request to join if you're not already a member and go to the 'wiki' to access our Community Managers Guide.

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