Working Out Loud Circle Guide: Week 10
- Suggested Agenda
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Additional exercises from Working Out Loud
You explore different techniques for expanding your network.
• Chapter 16 - Expanding Your Network
• Chapter 20 - Engaging Your Network
10 minutes - What happened since last week?
15 minutes - Exercise: Leveraging other networks
10 minutes - Exercise: Identifying influencers: Who’s your Kimmel?
20 minutes - The group helps each other expand their network
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. Discuss interesting blogs from [Jive Community], YouTube Channels, Facebook pages, or other self-published sites you found and why you liked them. Share any contributions you made (or ideas for possible contributions). If it is really interesting, go to the blog, click on Share (Top right hand corner just under your Follow button) and you can actually share it with a Group or with People. Encourage your group to share interesting blogs with the rest of the members in your [Jive Community] Working Out Loud Group.
Exercise: Leveraging other networks (15 minutes)
One way to accelerate developing your own network is to leverage networks that already exist. When you make a contribution to a large organization, you can become visible to people in that organization, extending your reach.
Play Internet detective and find at least five organizations that are relevant to your purpose.
If you’re stuck, here’s are suggestions for different kinds of networks that might improve your Internet sleuthing.
Professional groups: Are you a project manager? Then take a look at the Project Management Institute. Are you from New Zealand? Take a look at the Kiwi Expat Association. Organizations related to specific professions or experiences are designed to help members connect with each other.
Conferences and meet-ups: This is where people related to your goal will congregate in person. Organizers are often eager for contributions - from help promoting the events to volunteering to original content.
Online communities: On there Internet, there’s a community for everyone. Even clowns have the Clowns of America International online community (www.coai.org). Such communities are the online versions of conferences and meet-ups. It’s often easier to meet people in the online version because there’s a much broader range of contributions you can make over time.
Vendors: Many people use a product or service related to their job. The salespeople working at these vendors are eager to introduce customers to other customers or to prospects. In some cases the vendor also hosts an online customer community, making it even easier to contribute.
Contributing to one or more of these networks isn’t a replacement for deepening individual relationships. It’s just a way to amplify your contributions so you can come into contact with more people and more possibilities.
Exercise: Identifying influencers: Who’s your Kimmel? (10 minutes)
Usually the network you’re looking to leverage is related to an organization. Sometimes, though, it’s the network of a single individual. In the book, there’s a story of Paul “Yosemite Bear" Vasquez whose YouTube video of a double rainbow led to an incredible array of connections and opportunities - but only after Jimmy Kimmel, the talk show host, tweeted about it.
Look through your relationship list and identify people in your network who have much more influence than the average person in your list. If you don’t find anyone, use the time to play Internet detective again. You might start by looking for people who are already reaching an online audience, paying extra attention to bloggers, authors of books and articles, and other content providers related to your goal. whether or not you already have a blog or other site, most people struggle with what to say and how to frame it as a contribution.
You can start by going to your own profile in [Jive Community] and click on following and followers. You will be able to go through the 2 lists to see which of the people you are following have more influence than the average person. You can also check the list of people following you.
After clicking on the followers list you can look through them to find someone that has a much larger number of followers than you do. These are the users that have more influence in [Jive Community] than the average user. You can use the filter options to try to find users in [Jive Community] that have a strong influence.
For this exercise, think about what your contribution might be for those people. Remember to include the universal gift of appreciation.
The group helps each other expand their network (20 minutes)
This is an excellent time to reinforce the habit of going through your lists. Take a full 20 minutes as each of you review your lists and share with each other how you maintain them. Are you tracking your last contribution and the date of your next one? How often do you go through them? Help each other add at least one more name or network to each of your lists.
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 11 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. Keep thinking about other networks you could be leveraging.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: But I don’t want a lot of followers.
You don’t need a big following to achieve your goals. Generally, the depth of the relationships with people in your network will matter more than the size of your network. Still, leveraging existing networks and influencers relevant to your goal will increase the chances you’ll find people who can help you or who will otherwise have access to opportunities that interest you.
Q: Why would people with big networks respond to me?
It’s your contributions over time are what enable you to deepen a relationship with almost anyone. For example, Fred Wilson’s blog reaches millions, but only a thousand or so regularly contribute and are considered part of the community. Keep in mind that most goals don’t require you to connect with celebrities who have millions of followers. Instead, you’re just looking for someone who has influence in communities and organizations related to your purpose.
Additional exercises from Working Out Loud
Something you can do in less than a minute
Search LinkedIn or Facebook for groups relevant to your goal and join one. Or join the “Working Out Loud” group on Facebook to see how easy it is to connect with people around the world who have something in common.
Something you can do in less than 5 minutes
Make a contribution to an author whose work you admire. I’ve offered my appreciation to authors on Twitter as varied as Austin Kleon, Amanda Palmer, Gretchen Rubin, Amanda Ripley, and Sandra Boynton - and I got a response from each of them. The point was to get something from them. I was just offering a sincere “thank you” and happy to interact with someone whose work is appreciated by so many people.