Working Out Loud Circle Guide: Week 6
You expand the set of contributions you can make and improve your profile.
• Chapter 14 - Deepening Relationships through Contribution
• Chapter 15 - How to Approach People
• An article on profiles - e.g., “17 New Ways To Make Your LinkedIn Profile Irresistible To Employers” by Julie Bort or “Are You Making These 7 Mistakes with Your About Page?” by Sonia Simone
10 minutes - What happened since last week?
15 minutes - Exercise: So much to offer!
10 minutes - The group discusses their contributions
20 minutes - Exercise: Updating your online profile
5 minutes - A few things before the next meeting
What happened last week? (10 minutes)
Each person should speak for a few minutes about what they did since the last meeting. Focus on helping each other make contributions and how to allocate
time to invest in yourselves.
Exercise: So much to offer! (15 minutes)
One of the single biggest challenges to working out loud is that many people think too narrowly about what they have to offer. You’ve already practiced offering universal gifts. Now you can practice thinking even more broadly.
There’s a quote from the author Murakami at the beginning of chapter 14: “The fact that I’m me and no one else is one of my greatest assets.” Here are ten facts about you that could be the basis of yet more contributions:
1. You have/don’t have children.
2. Places you’ve lived.
3. Where you grew up.
4. Your gender.
5. Places you’ve worked.
6. Vacations you’ve taken.
7. Physical challenges you’ve had to deal with.
8. Career mistakes you’ve made.
9. Schools you attended.
10. Things you love doing.
Each of these as well as a hundred other things about you could be gifts for someone if framed as a contribution. They can form the basis of a shared experience. Making the shift from offering universal gifts to making contributions that are personal and specific to you increases their value both to you and to potential recipients.
Here’s a simple creative exercise. It’s easier to do with a friend or in a Working Out Loud circle since other people more readily see things about you that you’ve long taken for granted.
Look at the ten facts above and try to write fifty facts about you. When I first did this exercise, I struggled because I felt the things on my list had to be big accomplishments. Now I know that any part of my experience—had knee surgery, became a vegetarian, had a mother with diabetes, went to Regis High School—might be interesting to someone else if I frame it as a contribution.
For this exercise, don’t worry about who the gift is for. Free yourself, and write down at least fifty facts about you. From these interesting facts you will have a lot of content that you can choose to add to [Jive Community]. Some of these facts could also be added to your profile or you could even click on the New Skill button and add something there.
The group discusses their contributions (10 minutes)
Discuss whether that was hard or easy for each of you. Help each other to see the wide range of gifts you have to offer and who might benefit from them.
Exercise: Updating your online profile (20 minutes)
In the earlier weeks, you created or made minor changes to your LinkedIn and Twitter profiles. Now here’s a chance to do a more thorough update. If you don’t want to use LinkedIn, then consider an About.me page. These simple guidelines apply to almost any profile. You can find more tips in the suggested reading.
Do: Lead with the headline: one or two sentences about who you are and what
Do: Write a longer summary that lists the major projects, places you’ve worked,
and when you worked there.
Do: Keep it short and engaging.
Do: Write as if you’re speaking to the reader, using “I” and informal language.
Do: Include a photo. A professional headshot is nice but not required. Just be
sure you look at the camera and smile a genuine smile. Wear what you would
wear when you’re working.
Don’t: Don’t use buzzwords. Don’t lie. Don’t exaggerate. Just imagine reading yourself as the reader and your intuition will tell you what words and phrases to avoid. Be your authentic self.
Have other members in your circle read it.
A few things before the next meeting (5 minutes)
At the end of this meeting, the facilitator has three small but important jobs:
1. Schedule the next meeting.
2. Remind people to read the Week 7 circle guide and suggested reading.
3. Ask: “What will you do this week?”
Before the next meeting, keep working on your relationship list and on the contributions you would make for each person on it. And see if you can review your profile again.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: I only got to twelve facts.
That’s OK. Simply doing the exercise and thinking about what you have to offer is a positive step. If you’re struggling to think more broadly about yourself, try doing the exercise for a friend. Examining someone else’s life tends to be more comfortable. Then, after you’ve written fifty facts about a friend, try the exercise again for yourself. For extra credit, contact your friend and tell her you’ve written fifty things about her that would be contributions for other people. That in itself would make a lovely gift.
Q: I understand the idea of contributions, but I’m still not sure what to say.
Focus on simple gifts and how you offer them. Presentation matters. The carefully wrapped present with the handwritten card. The book with a thoughtful inscription. Even a simple postcard or photo that says “I was thinking of you.” The value of a gift often has more to do with how it is offered than the worth of the thing itself.
The rules of etiquette and gift giving can seem quite complex, further complicated by technology. Now it’s not just what you say and how you say it but which technology you use to say it with. In the next chapter, we’ll go through some simple principles and examples that can serve as useful guides for any situation.
Additional exercises from Working Out Loud
Something you can do in less than a minute
Look back at positive habits you tried to develop—anything from flossing to playing the piano to exercising regularly. Think about the times you achieved your goal and the times you didn’t. What was the difference?
Something you can do in less than 5 minutes
In Week 4, there was an additional exercise to create a physical progress chart. If you did that, review it. What adjustments, if any, do you think you need to make? If you didn’t create the chart, get a piece of paper and a pen or pencil and draw up 30 boxes, one to count how much time you’ve invested in yourself for each of the next 30 days.
Use colored pens and nice paper to make it creative, or use a pencil and a sheet ripped from a notebook. Just be sure to display it in a place you’ll see it every day, like taped to the refrigerator or bathroom mirror.