Category Archives: for hire

Digital Coaching, Catalysts and Sitting on Your Hands

MacBraynes Bus by conner395

I’ve been reflecting on some of the social media work I’ve done over the last year and seeing where I might improve my offering. The model piece of work that I’ve sold to people has gone as follows: “You tell me you want to have a go at this new fangled social media mularkey, but you don’t know where to start. So I’ll start for you and show your people what I’m doing. We’ll start off with me doing everything but my involvement will taper off as your team’s involvement increases and by the end of the project, you’re folk will be doing it all for themselves.”

Great. Sold. But….

What has actually happened is that people have had some great blogs from me (natch) but there hasn’t actually been much change in what they do, the comms teams I’ve worked with have liked the idea but as long as I was doing it *for* them it was too easy to sit back and continue to say “Yes, that’s nice, I wish I was able to do that”. I think there’s still a space for doing live-blogs of events as discrete pieces of work, but more ongoing stuff needs to be done differently.

So I’m looking for a better model. And over coffee with Jonathan Laventhol of Imagination I understood what it might be. He said to me “You need to sit on your hands more” And he’s absolutely right. Just as when you’re helping someone to learn to drive it’s not good to keep grabbing the steering wheel, I think there’s much more value that I can offer as a non-doing coach or catalyst for action.

In their excellent book on decentralised networks, The Starfish and the Spider, Ori Brafman and Rod Beckstrom talk about the difference between two roles that Julie Andrews made famous.

“In The Sound of Music, Maria enters a dysfunctional family, teaches the children a valuable lesson, convinces the father to pay attention to his kids, and shows the family how to get along. Likewise, Mary Poppins visits an equally (albeit charmingly) dysfunctional family, gets equally adorable children to behave, urges equally clueless parents to pay attention to their kids, finds equally effective ways for everyone to get along, and sings equally catchy tunes.”

“At the end of The Sound of Music, though, Maria, after falling in love with the children and the father, sticks around. It’s obvious that from now on she’ll be the one running the show. Mary Poppins, on the other hand, chim-chim-in-eys right out of London. It’s not that Mary Poppins has a fear of commitment. From the very beginning, it’s clear that she’s come to do a job. Her job is complete when the family can thrive on its own. Once she accomplishes her goal, she rides her umbrella into the sunset.”

I’ve tried both models, but like Mary Poppins, I’m much better as a catalyst. Going in, making change happening and moving on to where I’m needed more, rather than working my way up, establishing an empire and sticking around for the long haul.

Then I saw Seth Godin writing about Digital Coaches

“What’s a digital coach? A freelancer (individual) who usually works with entrepreneurs, small groups or companies to teach them how to dramatically improve productivity or market presence using technology. For example, a digital coach might hook up your cell phone to be more powerful or teach you how to use blogs and Facebook to connect to your audience.”

I think for me it’s a totally bottom-up approach – aimed at individuals inside and outside organisations who want to beef up their personal productivity using web 2.0 and social media tools. They might have a social media project hat they need to contribute to, but would also generally benefit from catching up with what’s arrived in the last year or so and someone to help them think it through in their own personal or business context. The focus is on enhancing productivity, preferable in simple, measurable ways.

When I’ve mentioned this to people, some have said “Wow, yes please” and others have said “Oh, I kind of thought that’s what you did already” So I think it’s probably right. :)

Photo credit: conner395 on Flickr licenced with cc-attribution

New Moos

newmooYay! My new batch of moo cards arrived yesterday and here they are. Let me know which is your favourite. I quite like the monochrome ones. The Russell Brand one was clearly a mistake.

I also (thanks to my compulsive RSS reading) got in quickly on the sneak preview of Moo’s new product which should be here very soon, but I’m sworn to blog secrecy about them until their official launch on 18th April.

More time at Open Coffee

I was very impressed by Open Coffee last week as you may have noticed, so I went back with more time to spend chatting to VCs, recruiters and entrepreneurs than before.

At the end I was really pleased to get to talk on camera to Sam Sethi of Vecosys and Paul Youlten of Yellowikis about what they’re finding exciting in this whole crazy web scene at the moment.

Good to see John Hornbaker again, not least because it gives me the opportunity to apologise for not linking to him before.

I also talked to:

Rupesh Chatwani of Lonsdale Capital about how the rest of the world is catching up with social media and that humanisation is the next big thing.

Brett Putter of Forsyth Group was he scouting for talent or clients or both? And how about Bright Young Things Clare Johnston and Agnes Greaves? I suspect I’m neither bright enough or young enough to qualify, but we talked a lot about using social media to engage with customers.

Ed Hodges of Voible (formerly blackfin.co.uk) – cool flash conferencing and some other smart applications for mobile, launching sometime in the next 6-8 weeks.

Alastair Mitchell & Andy McLoughlin of the online document management/groupware 2.0 (“like basecamp only more around documents and including workflow” – and British) solution huddle

Briefly at the end Ryan Gallagher and Paul Maitland of ConnectMeAnywhere.com who Sam speaks highly of above and nice to bump into Paul Miller again who is now doing School of Everything as namechecked in the Paul Youlten video.

My most excitable moment was meeting Jamie Wallace of walkit.com – I just love it, love it, love it and it’s so nice when you meet the faces behind great applications, particularly when they’re so self-effacingly surprised to meet a raving fan like me :D

Blimey! I’m out of Moo Cards.

[update: gaaaah! also had a fantastic chat with Ian Forrester (such. a. nice. man.) from bbc backstage and he indulged my ranting and raving about theatre blogging - forgotten in the first draft because we didn't swap business cards - Oli Barrett, Paul Birch and Steve Moore also fall into this category - phew!]

Social Media Tart for Hire

wt-soho-020At the uploading conference today I was with Oli Barrett when he got described as a “Media Tart”. On Twitter, I have as my description “Social Media Tart”. I like that this means I don’t take what I do too seriously. I’m also remind myself that Tart is a contraction of Sweetheart. There are of course less salubrious connotations, but let’s not linger on what they mean in this context.

Yes, I already have a bunch of lovely clients. No, I’ve never had so much on that I couldn’t squeeze another piece of work in somewhere. So YES, I’m for hire, folks! To move to a more tasteful metaphor than tartery, let’s see if there are any tasty morsels on this platter that you’d like to nibble on, or you’d recommend to friends.

Richer Records
I get hired by conference organisers to write a blog with audio, video and still photography for a one-day or two-day event. This includes live-blogging sessions and interviews with participants and speakers throughout the day. We also do pre-conference podcasts to help build interest and buzz before the event.

Blogging for Theatres
I’ve recently taken on my first theatre client to help them with their strategy for engaging with the community online. There are so many stories to be told about what’s going on in any theatre day-to-day and so many people who are passionately interested in hearing about it, but the bulk of theatrical marketing is still about print-based advertising.

Blogging in Blue Chips
At the end of last year I helped out on a global knowledge management exercise within a huge international company. I wrote a blog about a range of marketing initiatives and illustrated it with podcasts of phone conversations with project teams and videos of senior managers, talking about why this sort of sharing was of paramount strategic importance.

Social Media Club
I’m getting Social Media Club up and running in London. This is a global loosely-joined confederation of like-minded people. In London so far, we’ve had monthly round-table chats, but this month we’re branching out into weekly meetups with the motto “Thursday Night is Social Media Night”

Making daft videos
Peruse my YouTube stream for examples of my work. Firm favourites are “Let’s go Mento”, and the All This… And Brains Too! series but steer clear of certain elements of the G-Room Review Videoblog unless you are actively seeking accidental nudity.

Facilitation
Yeah, I still like to pull my faciliation trousers on from time to time. I prefer to work in an open space or cafe style, but can do more structured sessions as required. Hey! How long is it since you had a good old PinPoint session?

Blog Coaching & Seminars
I do one-to-one coaching on how to improve your blog (both in terms of using the software more effectively and by improving your writing). I’m also working with Suw Charman on some small-ish (8-10 people) seminars on “What is Social Software?”, “Moderation and Nurturing Community”, and “Encouraging Adoption of Social Tools”. We’re planning on doing public versions of these as well as in-house for individual organisations.

I’d like to carry on doing any and all of these so give me a call if you want to talk about how I can help you +44(0)7919182825 or e-mail lloyd dot davis at gmail dot com