I’ve been an English teacher for almost 14 years and, for me, this profession is a two-way street: I’m able to provide my students with the tools they need to succeed, but I’m also acquiring a lot of information about the world they live in and the current job market needs in terms of communication. What I’ve learned about human interactions at the workplace and the power of effective communication never ceases to amaze me.
My experience at Inflection Point is not an exception. I came here almost two years ago with a considerably challenging task: implementing an English program that was effective and attractive for our employees. So far, I’m still working on improving, but I’m more than happy to say that I’ve managed to exceed my own expectations. We’ve had more than 30 students attending to class and we’re hoping to continue attracting more every semester.
Besides the English program we have in progress, I was willing to achieve new things and I knew that there was more to be done, but I wasn’t sure what, or how to start looking for it.
After a while, inspiration knocked on my door. One of my tasks at Inflection Point is to review and edit (along with our incredible Social Media Manager, Hiram Pinto) the blog posts you see before they actually get posted. In spite of enjoying this activity a lot, we found ourselves concerned due to the fact that very few dared to write a piece, and that caused a lack of articles to be posted. That was the first step to develop a new idea to spread knowledge: we spotted a necessity. We noticed that in order to give our blog the image it deserved, we had the challenge to make our people aware they could actually write something worthy of being read. But not only that. We also had a desire to change the current status at a time.
Using my experience in front of a group as a reference, a suggestion came to my mind: first of all, we had to let people know they were able to write something for the company blog and get some exposure from it; secondly, we needed to teach them what we expected from them as writers and guide them accordingly on how to achieve it. I brought this suggestion to Hiram with an invitation to pitch in and he couldn’t be more interested in the idea. Our Blog Writing Workshop was born after this!
We started the developing process of our workshop with two main questions in our head: what do we want people to know about the company blog? and how will we guide them through the creative process? We needed to set a clear objective. Having this in mind, we started getting together. We had a bunch of tasks that we tried to accomplish every week or every two weeks (kind of like a Scrum team) and then, we were ready to present the idea. Things ran so smoothly as we listened to each other carefully and valued our contributions. We noticed that we had a lot to pitch in and we were invested in creating something that would add value to the experience of writing for our blog. In other words, we believed in each other’s talents and expertise and we were willing to use that information in our favor.
The day of presenting the idea to our Marketing Leader and Human Resources leader came. We were anxious because we knew there were things to polish, but hopeful that the feedback obtained from the meetings was going to be important. And it was! We obtained great advice on improvements and adjustments for the activities we were planning, but most importantly, we received encouragement. Support and trust from our leaders were very important for us to know we were on the right path.
After proper advertising of the workshop among our coworkers, the first day came. We were really surprised to see the response from the attendees: some of them were not aware of the existence of a blog in the company, some others believed they didn’t really have anything of value to share with the world. After this entertaining brainstorming session, some of them seemed really pleased because they left the meeting room with great topics to start working on a piece of writing. Once this session was over, we realized something: some people just need a little push to dare to do wonderful things. In this case, the push we offered was giving them the chance to exchange ideas and knowledge in a safe environment.
The second session was even better. Our attendees arrived with a short draft in hand. During this session, they reviewed each other’s texts and got instant feedback. This particular activity was really helpful for our peers since they were able to make adjustments with comments from people with the same professional profile as their potential readers. After this session was over, they left the room with an important assignment: sending their draft to us for a final revision. Now we have a bunch of great interesting articles we can’t wait to share with you!
We got together after the workshop was done to evaluate what we did. Looking back at what was done and planning potential improvements was necessary since this was the first time we implemented this sort of activity. We took notes of what went well and what can go even better in the future, and now we have full confidence that this fruitful effort we’ve made is going to continue giving us satisfaction in the years to come. We can’t wait for the next edition!
In the end, more than having been us the ones who shared knowledge, we tried to motivate people to do it themselves. We were convinced they had a lot to say and we were finally able to persuade them to go for it. They just needed guidance and encouragement in an environment where they could feel comfortable enough.
As I said before, teaching is a two-way street: our peers discovered that they’re able to write something great and worthy of being shown to the world and we, as facilitators, learned that a clear objective, passion, and collaborative work can make a huge difference in projects dedicated to passing knowledge or raising awareness.
If you, my reader, feel the curiosity to share new knowledge with your peers either as a workshop or as a blog post, don’t hesitate! Surround yourself with people who are passionate, read about the topic of your interest and start planning the way you want to transmit what you know. Don’t be afraid to pass it on!