Community Discussion: Open Table Fridays

In this episode we had a community discussion where I introduced a new TLDC idea: Open Table Fridays.

Open Table Fridays are going to be a regularly held Friday meeting using a virtual platform, specifically, Airmeet.

So what's gonna happen during Open Table Fridays? Volunteer hosts discussing topics such as mentorship, freelancing, working out loud --- basically anything relevant to L&D professionals.

And what you'll hear in this community discussion recording are some decisions we made about the frequency of these meetings - weekly, when they are going to take place - Fridays, the duration of every meeting - an hour - and more.

So give this episode a listen if you'd like to get caught up on this idea we're formulating and starting in May. Open Table Fridays will be an exciting community endeavor I think anyone involved in TLDC can benefit from.


Luis Malbas  
Okay, welcome, everybody. Good morning. Good afternoon. Good evening to you. Welcome to TLDC, the Training, Learning and Development Community. Thanks for joining. We've got a few people in. This is excellent. Hi, Stephanie. Nice to see you. Let's see, I've got Kim is in. Gabrielle Nice to see you. Lita. Liz, thanks for joining in, I'm sure we'll have a few more people log in. Yeah, so I'm glad that you can attend live, if you can't, if since you're here, because I am doing a community discussion to talk about something that over the last few weeks, I've been trying to figure out a way to build this thing. And as you know, from the title, and maybe you saw it in the Slack channel. And of course, in the newsletter, Friday open tables. And what it is, it's an idea that I came up with, because I've been getting different requests from from different people, about creating spaces to accommodate different topics, different groups, sort of subtopics within lnd. So that there are places that people can go to kind of gather and, and talk about these things, which I believe is important, you know, to having something like that. And it used to be that when I would build things, you know, for other orgs and stuff, we'd have to think about, okay, what is the value of building this to, you know, the organization versus like, what is the value of building this thing to the people that are going to participate in it? And that's kind of where it's a little different from me because I, I'm starting from that point, right, from trying to figure out like, if I do this, how is it helpful for you, the people that are in the community. And so I would really appreciate your feedback, everybody that's in here, if you can just sort of chime in and let me know what you think of some of these ideas. I do have a some slides that I'm going to share. I'm using Canva for the first time for doing slides. So hopefully this works. It was just I'm trying to familiarize myself with a lot of different tools, just because we've got that elearning tool Summit coming up. I guess that's next week already. And so Canva is something that I've been playing around with quite a bit lately. And so, yeah, I've got some slides to show you. But one of the things that really prompted me to come up with with with this idea, it was also like a podcast that I listened to, I think it was a couple of weeks ago. Let's see, it was what was it called? I did bookmark it, the multidisciplinary approach to thinking and it was an interview with a fella named Peter Kaufman. He's a CEO of Glenn air, an aerospace company that's based here in California. And what I liked about the podcast that I like, well, basically, his story is this is he, what he decided to do kind of with his, with the way that the way he manages how he thinks he wanted to learn a lot about a lot of things or wanted to learn about a lot of things, didn't want to be necessarily expert in any any things specific yet. But what he did was he he knew that he loved reading these, like really comprehensive interviews and discovery magazine. And and so he decided to get 12 years of discovery magazine issues, find the one big comprehensive interview that isn't each one of them, read each of those 144 of these articles and just learn about 144 topics that he thought he needed to know about. And so he actually did that. And now whenever he goes into anything, any type of a business situation or anything that is professional, he just has this vast sort of this knowledge that he can pull from because he's read all of these articles. And I started to think about that and to LDC and how we're just constantly having these conversations with all of these different people in the industry, and just learning so much about each other and about different things. And I think that's really kind of the value of this community is that we're just sharing all of this stuff. And

you know, I know that if I were to come up with like, if I had to write a blog post about everything I've learned over the last five years of doing this, it would probably be pretty darn good because I have talked to so many people and learn so much about this space. There is just that On a value there, and I don't know really how to share all of this stuff, like within even, you know, the website or anything like this, because there's so much of it. But it is really, really valuable. And I want to make these Friday open tables, kind of another extension of that, where maybe it's a place that we can go. And every Friday, you might be able to just sort of to jump in and just learn more or talk about something that you don't ordinarily talk about or something new. Something you know, that does is that is specific to what you need to know now and finding other people that can help you build that knowledge. I mean, there's just a variety of things that can happen at these open tables. And I want to shout out to Stephanie Diggins, who sent like an email to me a few weeks ago, that sort of is alluding to this, where she wanted to build, or was considering something called freelance Fridays, where maybe on Fridays, we talked with freelancers, specifically, you know, until DC, but then, you know, that takes resources just to do something specific like that. And but then these open tables could be, you know, it could host something like that as well as mentoring conversations. And, you know, Lisa was talking in the, in the last broadcast we did with, with Danny or two gone rounds, which I would love to hear more about that Lisa. And I thought, well, here's these open tables. So let me open up the slide deck. Okay. And just share with you what I'm thinking share screen. Oops. Oh, okay, so there we go. Oh, let me lead some of the some of the chat stuff here, Gabriele saying I love the idea of Open Table Fridays, but wonder how to decide on how many tables topics what to include. Exactly. And I think that what helps with that is actually creating limits. You know, like start small, like maybe there's only two topics this coming Friday or whatever Friday, even one topic, you know, if you start going like with too many then it is it can get a little overwhelming. And so that's where I'd like to I'd like to start Okay, hang on everybody. I am trying to share my screen but it is now going hold on I am I just reformat I had to reformat my Mac and I think that this might be a a a little bit of trouble so it's asking for some permission so hang on I had done that on this one

all right sorry about that kicked me out so I can get those permissions in there. Okay, let me open this up and I hope it works otherwise, I'm just gonna have to share the presentation with everybody in a link I should have thought about that. That's over the last few weeks I've been having weird things like just things here and there that would happen I got a little sick and and then my computer went down and I had to reformat it and just good times All right, here we go

ya know, Kim, I see your comment about and publicize it on social media LinkedIn and and Gabrielle doing marketing and that is absolutely correct. You know, being able to share this information out I think would really go a long way. Okay, let me know if you can see that. I'm sharing my slide. Yes. Okay. So Friday open tables

at a really really basic level, oops, sorry. I just want to create a weekly virtual space for meeting networking sharing and and I really when I when I do this stuff, I just try to start with the basics and And, you know, if I open up something like this, and we only have one or two people show up. And I'm just in there talking to you on Fridays at the start, right? But really, that's all it is. To, to begin with, it's just going to be a weekly virtual space for anybody who wants to come in for meeting, networking and sharing, and then we get more into into the details of it. Which is, it's going to take place on Fridays, to start out just one hour. And realistically, I've feeling it's going to be more than an hour because it'll be people want to do what they're going to do, where they're going to meet about something specific. And then there might be some networking and things afterwards, but schedule it for one hour, it'll probably be open for longer, I need help from you to decide what the best times would be for something for something, what hour that should be during the day. Should it be morning, afternoon, evening, you know, we're all in different time zones. So that is a big question for me. And then of course, topics to be determined it would be really dependent on who would be willing to host the table wants to come in and, and be a part of those conversations. And, you know, I don't know if any of you have experienced sort of the table situation in air meet the platform that I use. But those have been really valuable experiences for me in the past when I've been in there and being able to sit down with other participants of an event and chat. It really is very, very cool. So yeah, I think that I think that anybody that is interested in participating this would find some value in it. Kalitta saying afternoons eastern time is good for me, especially Fridays Gabrielle Thank you afternoons Eastern Time. Leaders asking so people gather around specific use case or challenges and brainstorm, discuss, correct? Yeah, and that's where I think it gets a little tricky is, like we were just talking about earlier, having too many topics can actually limit or I think initially it will be not quite as effective. Especially since it's a weekly thing. So it might be, you know, whatever topics we decide on might not be for everybody. But maybe there's those, you know, handful of people or a dozen, or who knows more, that will find a specific topic relevant to them. And so this space would be would, would would be a value, you know, at that time. All right, so here, I have a screenshot of Airmeet, the virtual platform. For Open Table Fridays, I've already actually created an instance in eremita. for it, I wanted to show you a picture of what the tables look like many of you are familiar with that interface already, maybe all of you are, but you can see that you can have up to eight chairs. So I don't know if you can see that these are little chairs here, you can have a minimum of two, you actually have to have at least two people in for the for the for kind of the breakout room, which is like a virtual table to activate, you have to have at least two people in there. But you could have up to eight. So there is that limit. And I figure if it becomes a situation where there's a topic that more than eight people want to talk about, we can open up an actual session room, which, you know, the air meet has that capability as well. And I'd be I can facilitate that if, when necessary. In in the in the session rooms, you can have actually 10 people all together plus a virtual audience of you know, 100,000 if if that ever happened, that would be pretty insane. But yeah, so this is basically what it looks like. And I think that the limit on tables is 144. Not that we would want to do that. But you can see there are seven tables here. I can make more I can I think that when it starts out it has six tables by default. But I can delete tables. So if we just wanted to have three tables to start out with, I can just do that. But you know, I've got like four empty tables in this picture. So we're just going with that. All right. Great looking at I see that you are talking about times. Afternoons ESD would be more accessible. Love it. Okay. All right, I'll look at that in more detail. Now. Um,

I have a listing here these five items that I that I threw in on this slide as you can see, you know, I mentioned that it's like breakout rooms each table can have its own topic, or if you know you wanted if tables got full and you wanted to break out into two tables with the same topic that's possible to to date participants, you know, and these tables are you know, sort of like, rooms, like any other like zoom breakout room, it's streaming audio video screen sharing, so you can do presentations. And then then of course, I mentioned that I could do an actual full session if, if we needed to do that. And so to build this, what I would need is I need some volunteers. And I'd have to kind of parse that out how that would work. Exactly. I know, initially, we might have multiple people that want to do something, but you know, and you tell me whether or not starting out with two sessions or two table topics or anything like that is too limiting, or what I'd love to hear what you guys think. Landing Page, I'm gonna build that out what it'll be is sort of like an entry area for you know, so that you can always go back the one thing about what this AirMedia instance is, I think I'm gonna have to rebuild, I can't just keep an air meat instance, open, you know, open all the time. You know, we can't just keep going back to the same conference, digital virtual conference area. Every time unfortunately, I tried to do that. I don't know if any of you ever saw that I used to have a campus that was open that I was trying to use that but it just doesn't, it doesn't work that well. So I'm going to have to create a new instance every time. And so a single landing page will help so that I can just keep changing that the link to the to the virtual space. And but keep the landing page the same. Yeah, and so for myself, I need a system to maintain the schedule to build it out, there are things that I'll have to do, like, keep adding, you know, New Table Topics, in the newsletter for promotion. So that like when when you get your newsletter on Mondays, what I typically like to do send it out on Monday, you'll know okay, oh, this Friday, we're going to be talking about mentoring, you know, and whatever. So, you know, I'll have to put a section in the newsletter for that. And then just ideas to make sure that it continues to be useful. Once Once we're in there, you know, that's the important thing for me, I'm going to make this this is going to be open to everybody. As long as you register, I do have to keep an eye on that, as you know, because I don't want you know, I've had a couple problems in the past with people with folks posting things like in Slack, I had some issues with people posting weird stuff in Slack. And I had to, I was on vacation, and I had to delete this stuff. I was sitting at the beach and delete slack of someone posting adult content. But yeah, I just have to make sure that, that this this, that we're continuing to build something that people like, we'll go back to. Let's see, let me go back. I can see. Okay, Gabrielle is asking, so how do we market it? Do we target people based on the topics we'll have at the tables? I think that personally, like, in my mind, what I would do is I would list it in the newsletter, and I would list it on LinkedIn, maybe Twitter. I haven't been posting much of Twitter, but it would mostly I think it would be LinkedIn, and, and the newsletter, and then I'm not going to target anyone specifically, I actually don't even have that capability, it would just simply be the audience that I already have embedded. And you know, the newsletter actually has about I have like 4000 subscribers, which, and I sanitize that list regularly. Which means whenever people don't open up the newsletter, like, I think I do, like 10 issues, if you hadn't opened up the newsletter, in 10 issues, I actually remove you from the list. Because obviously, those those folks are not interested in reading it. So it's very, you know, it's targeted, it's helpful, and I generally have, you know, upper 40%, low 50% open rate on the newsletter, and that's really, really high. So, so I think that, you know, I think that the marketing for that through the newsletter is good. And then LinkedIn, I have, you know, to DC has a lot of followers, which I don't track it that much. I know that there's something like over 12,000 or something. But I'm not like I'm not a very I'm not that into social media. So but when I do post stuff on LinkedIn people it seems to be seem to read it. So posting it in there would would be good.

And then Lisa's asking Would it make sense to do one topic at a time at first to measure what topics generate engagement? Yeah, what do you what do you folks think about that? Should it be one topic two topics three or? I'd love to to hear what you think. Kim is saying maybe put some basic guidelines for community engagement on the landing page. I love it, Kim, that's a great idea. Yes, yes, that is a great idea. And I could use help some help with that. Great idea. Okay, and for me, myself personally, is where my challenge is making sure that I have a workflow and a process that ensures that I'll have some level of success of keeping up with this stuff. Because since it's only me, that's really where the bulk of my work is, is whenever I have to figure out, okay, where do I place this in my day to day because I have my day job. And then I, you know, do to TL dc in the evening, you know, I have my family and all that. So I'm really particular about where I can fill stuff in. So that's kind of my challenge. And, you know, I'm absolutely willing to work on finding something that is going to be successful. And so the questions really, maybe we can get to this now is how long should the meetings be? You know, and then some, maybe specificity on when on Fridays? Is it a lunch thing? You know, like, if we were doing late afternoons, Eastern Time, it would be lunch for Pacific Time, which works for me. You know, that was something that a suggestion somebody had made to me by email about, you know, these Friday lunch gathering. And then I'd love to know what would keep you engaged. And if you guys wanted to try this for Friday. Thanks, Kim. On that for that. Um, yeah, so should we just say that? Let me start with the first one. Okay, 70, I'd say next Friday, by the way, I actually have we have an event. So are you talking about this this next Friday? Okay. So this, are you saying this this coming Friday? And let's see Kim saying start with two topics one hour two at the most give folks a sense that they'll have a choice, okay. All right. So here, let's go with I'm going to say that we're going to do we're going to call it one hour, but I'm going to open this place up like the the air meet instance will be open, I'll open up first thing in the morning, and then close it whenever I you know, whenever I get to it, but we'll just schedule it for an hour. And then the time on Fridays, Elaine loves the idea of lunchtime. Kim, it's okay about doing it this Friday. A lot of times, like whenever it comes to stuff like this, I just sort of like sometimes I want to just dive in and try to break things so I can figure out how to how to fix things. So if if if you wanted to try this Friday, I'm totally up for it. But next month is okay, too. Okay, that's a good point leader, your leader saying agree May is better kickoff, especially if we start then immediately the skip a week. Okay. All right. So, are you all good with go to the May? Okay, excellent. Okay, then I will try. We'll try it for me. So you're gonna let me have Friday off. I love it. I think my son has baseball practice anyway, so that, that'll be nice. Let's see. All right. So one hour, we're doing it on Fridays. I'll say so Eastern time. I'm telling you, the bulk of TLD seniors are on the East Coast surprisingly. My biggest population of subscribers to the newsletter newsletter are actually in the New York area. And I yeah, I think it's something like 60% of my subscribers are actually on the east coast. So I'm okay with doing it. ESP a time that

that you would like that's a great idea. Lisa. Lisa is saying maybe take a poll via the newsletter. How about let's just do a tentative oops Where did my posts go? If we did do it eastern time is there for you folks on the East Coast. Is there anybody from the west coast in the in the chat that is it's in right now. I feel like because I know I'm least I believe you're in Connecticut. Kim's in Ohio. Gabrielle is in New York. It's a Stephanie. I'm not sure. Okay, Aleta. You're in South Carolina. Yeah. So I mean, it seems like the active chat participant lose. Oh, you're in SF. Okay. All right. Stephanie's in Delaware? Yes. Okay. So majority of you right now active in the chat are on the east coast. So, I mean, throw out some times. Noon, Eastern that would make it 9am. Pacific. I heard earlier afternoons. Et would be better, but that's a good point. Lisa, could it vary? Okay. Kim is saying maybe 1pm EDT. I can do a poll. I can do a poll. And also varying the times is interesting. It's an intriguing, especially since I'm just keeping it open. You know, and I thought about that, what if it were, if different people, it would be up to the host, right, like, so if the host wanted have a particular table, they can determine like when they were going to be at the table and wanted to have conversations, exactly. Create some confusion. And a lot of times just having the solid structure is, is a lot more helpful, but those possibilities are there. Okay, so how about this? I'll do a poll in the newsletter. And then we'll also keep in mind varying the times. And, yeah, thanks. Okay, great. And then I'm keeping you engaged. Now. When I was thinking about this, the sort of the engaged part is, you know, I know, I've had people suggest more gamification in some of the events that we do. You know, and I liked that idea. I like, you know, making making doing fun stuff, I just don't have the resources. And it's not that I don't want to create stuff where we have fun. In fact, you know, I was thinking, I almost, and still may purchase, like, access to this platform where I can integrate more games into into stuff like doing trivia and all that. But is, you know, what, are there things that when you are in a breakout room, or when you participate in virtual events like this, that really kind of keep you keep you engaged?

Let me know, and Stephanie, yes. Repeat topics? I think that if, you know, if you wanted to do a freelancing conversation every week, I don't think that would be I think that'd be fine. Like, I'm hoping that, you know, potentially, we'd have a scenario like that, actually, like, if on Fridays, you know, like, initially, I thought, what if it, it's a lunchtime thing where, you know, freelancers can get together and grab their lunch and, and just chat about what some of their challenges are. You know, I could definitely see something like that working. I've just want it to be a useful space, right? So but the initial thing is just getting people educating them that this exists, providing the structure to show like this is a legitimate deal. And, you know, this is how it's going to roll every time and then kind of going from there. Yes, Kim, thank you. I always do the virtual events on Friday. So it's pretty much I've been doing a monthly so once a month we're not going to be able to do an Open Table thing, which in a way it's kind of by design so that so that that people keep an eye on events altogether, but you're absolutely correct

okay, Gabriela is asking dying to find a community of people focused on transition transitioning their org from training to performance. Oh, that's intriguing. You Yes, Lido recurring work out loud table or use case table that we rotate. I like it. Yes. Okay, step Many thanks for jumping in. Yeah. Oh, we should chat sometime soon. can bring me your MS Word problems table every week. Yeah. Yeah, I know that these are some excellent topics. And that kind of brings me to a point that I don't think that I listed in my slides. Yeah, because I only have one slide left. But it is sort of like my, my system for bringing in topics. Now, I don't know if you all remember this. I was using a tool, kind of a web app called Sleep plan that had an interface that let folks input things, but I am going to let me share it, actually, why don't I just do that? Okay. I think that I believe that you'll be able to get into this, let me know if this works for the the sleep plan. app was something that I use to get ideas about topics for T LDC. And it worked really, really well. In fact, I did it once. And I had to like, stop, because I had so many ideas. And I've actually used a bunch of them over the last year, and, and it might be I'll integrate integrated into the Open Table format. So that, you know, for people that want to sign up for topics or want to sign up for tables, we can use it there. And there are some great, great ideas in there. But you know, the one thing is, is I know we have we already have a selection of of, of Table Topics potentially. Now it's sort of like figuring out what to work and, or what to start with and where to go from there. And I know I want to cover, you know, cover it all. And you know, maybe we do more topics than just one or two. I think we just have to make that decision. So let me just show you what is it that's a wrap. Thank you for your help. That is my thingy, and I'm gonna go ahead and just stop the share. To do and I'm back. Yes, that's a great idea. Maybe at the end of every Open Table session asked for asked for ideas for the future. I love it. Okay, so I think that all together the main questions that I had about doing this, which was how long the meeting should be, what time on Fridays? When when to start this out some of these basic things we've got figured out. Now the next thing is deciding when we start this in May. What the topics will be? And that's yeah, and then me figuring out my systems for, for integrating it into how we messages out to the community and all of that. Yeah, and I think that, Lisa, to your point, crowdsourcing the topics, really what it comes down to is who's interested in hosting, right, because it's about individuals that are curious about something or want to talk about something like for instance, Gabrielle, if, you know, talking about what was the topic again, it was like, moving from training to performance. Yes. Moving from training to performance. That's intriguing. That is, that's a really, really good stuff. I actually, that that would end up being a pretty big, you know, I mean, I could easily see a table filling up for that. But it's just the willingness of, of individuals willing to host those conversations is where the constraint is what that would prompt

you know, creating a table. So that's, that's where I would have to that's why I think is what's important. So, um, yeah, I think that's, that's pretty much it. Mostly. Okay. So I'm going to just build this out. And if I could, if you're still listening, could you just like put a little message in the chat and, and let me know Know that you're in for this? And if it's okay, I would like to just keep you as somebody that I could go to for feedback. Okay, thank you, Lita. Anybody else? Lisa? Thanks. Yeah, cuz I would um, yeah. And maybe if you're interested, I could just put you folks on the landing page as, you know, kind of the board or the something. The organizing group, rock ash, thank you. Yeah. Yeah, just drop that in there. And maybe, maybe you, you folks can be the group that, that helped build this out. And it really is, you know, this is a place that we can continue just sort of exploring topics exploring our stories exploring, like, you know, the space, this industry, just, it's, you know, I mean, things are just continuing to evolve. l&d is, you know, more prominent than ever. So, you know, I think that having a space like this can be really important. And I love being able to facilitate a way to let the community manage the conversations versus like, you know, a single individual or whatever. I love just the idea of people getting together and figuring it out, like, as a group. So. So yeah, I'm just can't wait to build this. All right. So I've gotten over my time, it's 837. I really try to make sure that I don't take up too much of your time. And so with that, thank you so much. I'm going to you know, feel free to put your if you're in, let me know in there. And I'm just going to put you on a little list. And with that first Friday in May, we'll give it a try. All right. Take care, everybody. Thanks a lot. Don't forget next week elearning tool Summit. Oh, and if any of you are going to be at a TD ice that's in Orlando, or anyone going to learning solutions. I don't know send me a message because I need to add I'm gonna get more people into the expo and maybe you can go into the trade show part of it and just let people know and, you know, sponsorship, there's a cost to it at the Expo. I'd like it to be for free. I just haven't had time to do it. I had the craziest experience with my last booster. My vaccination it was. It was kind of weird. So I was out for a couple weeks. But anyway, that's it. See you next time. Bye. Thanks, everyone.

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