Today is the fourth day of International Work Out Loud Week and it’s all about sharing your progress.
Yesterday I shared on Snapchat, the benefit and value that working has loud has helped me in my own personal learning journey around public speaking and speaking in front of a camera – and you can see my story in the video below.
My whole aim is to start a conversation with people like myself who are freelancing or in their own business to see if working and learning out loud has provided any personal learning or professional learning benefit back to them.
The premise is that it may be easier to work out loud WITHIN an organisation or a company, but how practical and smart is it if you’re in your own business?
Would transparency and openness of your work, process and thinking help you or hinder your competitive advantage?
Would working or learning out loud on something new make you vulnerable in front of others?
What’s the advantage to someone whose business is about helping others learn – (be seen as openly learning in front of others) without bringing up the question in other people’s minds that they should know “their stuff”?
Sharing My Progress
This whole experiment in Snapchat to answer these questions reminded me of another experiment I did on the 1st February this year where I captured what I was doing at work on Twitter through the day by tweeting every hour (obviously this was before my Snapchat dabblings). You can read and see what I did in the embedded story however my reflection about working out loud was this:
Real time sharing the process of your work as a freelancer through the day (especially if you work alone), is a distraction. By default, working out loud also means engaging in conversations. I could have shared my work and not responded to any tweets or engaged in any further conversation but this would have still disrupted the flow of my work. The value of working out loud comes from the interactions with others, the flow of ideas and the application of these ideas to your work and sharing these. For someone working by themselves, the process is not conducive to work flow. In fact, it creates distraction and results in an overwhelming sense of confusion because it leads you down different paths (which paradoxically, is also what you’re hoping for when working out loud).
How would I WOL differently next time? If I wanted to work out loud (as a solo agent), I’d consider setting aside a day in the week to do exactly that. I’d collate my questions, issues, concerns, problems and send them out for responses and conversation starters on one particular day – not working out loud every day. Alternatively, I’d create a small online community of people whom were willing to participate in the day with me and create our own little group to support, respond and share our work through the day. That is, create a WOL Day with a group of your own people (preferably as DIVERSE as possible from different networks, professions, industries) so that you don’t create an echo chamber of ideas. It would be similar to the concept of a COLLAB CAMP but an online version.
So it’s interesting to see that 9 months later, no one else has mentioned the distraction and in fact, this time around with Snapchat, I haven’t found it as distracting – what I did however, was manage my time using the social network.
Strangely I had MORE conversations on Snapchat about this question (from new people I hadn’t engaged with before) than I did with Twitter interactions (engaging with people in my own network). That is, people saw my tweets but didn’t engage with me in this experiment, while in Snapchat, there has been more one-to-one conversations. I believe that this is because unlike Twitter, you’re seeing the actual person, hearing their story, watching their facial expressions, the tone, volume and passion in their voice – the story resonates more with you than just reading it.
So today is all about showing my progress and I’ll capture some thoughts a bit later on today.