Our new evaluation networking series is live! Skip down the page for more info.
Not sure if you’ve noticed, but COVID has done a number on our networking events.
Yes, we’ve been having virtual replacement events. But many of those are in the form of traditional webinars. There is a speaker who gives a talk, answers a few questions, and then boom, event over.
And sure, those events are valuable. But it’s not really the same thing as the live meeting.
With a virtual event you can get the same speaker to deliver the same talk to the same audience. But it won’t feel the same. And it won’t be the same. Because we almost always take something for granted when we host live in-person events.
That awkward 10 minutes where you are sitting in the room before the talk, and you strike up that conversation with the person in the seat next to you. The long line at the Starbucks filled with fellow conference attendees. That 15 minute chat you have with the professional acquaintance as you walk towards your car after the event. Overhearing the one on one conversation of the two people sitting next to you, one of which is talking way too loud, but then realizing a point of shared interest.
The things that we sometimes gripe about with live events are also incredibly important parts of our social experience. Sure it can be awkward or annoying, but so many of our close relationships are born out of awkward moments or shared somewhat annoying experiences.
Yes, this is my argument, I am making a call for more awkwardness and discomfort in virtual events.
Okay, but is this really all that critical?
If you already have a solid network, a job, a social circle, and a client base, then the shift to virtual has probably been just fine.
Now if you are an evaluation consultant without enough clients, a graduating evaluator without a job, or just a social creature who feels a little out of touch with the rest of the human world, then the shift to virtual has probably been taking its toll.
And a series of webinar talks is probably not going to make a big difference.
Free Evaluation Networking
Here is how it works.
Each week, Wednesday at 2PM Eastern Time (11AM Pacific), we get together virtually via Zoom.
1. The first 20 minutes.
Every session will include a “featured networker,” which is a person from the greater evaluation community. We’ll kick off each event with a Q&A, talking about their job, their experiences, and their connection with the evaluation world.
2. The next 10 minutes.
Small group introductions. We’ll split into breakout groups, and spend a few minutes introducing ourselves to each other.
3. The final 30 minutes.
For the final 30 we’ll dive into networking, either as a large group or within smaller breakouts. Each week we’ll have a conversation starter topic to help get the group conversation started.
It won’t be recorded, so if you don’t show up there is nothing to watch later. But that also should let you feel free to talk without worrying about showing up forever on the web.
That sounds a little awkward.
I have a theory that almost all of our good connections and friendships start off at least little awkward. And if we want closer relationships to come from our digital events, we need to introduce a little awkwardness into the program.
So the events will not be fully structured. If you have things you would like to talk about in any given week, bring the ideas with you. Even if it doesn’t match the starter topic.
Also bring questions and an inquisitive mind for your fellow participants. Here are some simple questions you can use to start interesting conversations with strangers.
- What’s your biggest struggle right now?
- Anyone have a big win (or a little win) they would like to celebrate?
- What did you want to be when you grew up?
- If you could go back in time 5 years, what advice would you give yourself?
When will it launch?
We launched on June 2. We are totally live.