#03 Making Connections & Working Out Loud

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard  about  things like informal learning, social learning and curation. If you’re still wondering what in the heck that is all about and why you should care I hope that this program will help you uncover those answers for yourself – but not by yourself. One of the greatest benefits of the tools and technology behind these approaches is the connections you can make with people. Ultimately it is not about technology, but how the technology can help you and your organization learn and do things better.

Before we start digging into specifics, I think we should take a look at how and why this type of approach can benefit both you  and your organization. And I don’t know of anyone who can do that any better than Jane Bozarth and John Stepper.

Jane captures the essence of this whole social/informal approach in her article “Narrating Your Work

“By sharing what we are doing and how we are learning, we distribute the tacit knowledge otherwise so hard to capture; invite feedback and encouragement from others; invite others to learn with us; document our work and learning for future use; and tie our learning to the efforts of others.”

Jane Bozarth :   Blog  |  Twitter  |  Book: “Show Your Work: The Payoffs and How Tos of Working Out Loud

John Stepper is on a mission to make work better by changing the “…over-reliance on email, meetings, and managers to find information and coordinate work.”  In his post on the “5 Elements of Working Out Loud” he reminds us that our goal is more than just blogging or tweeting and that we should use these tools with the purpose of finding better ways to get things done. In other, words it not about the tools it about what they enable.

Simply using social platforms might be considered working out loud but it could completely miss the point. Working out loud is meant to be purposeful – to help you get things done and make work better. To be effective, you have to do more than just blog or tweet about what you’re working on.

In that same post John goes on to outline these 5 elements of working out loud:

  1. Making your work visible
  2. Making work better
  3. Leading with generosity
  4. Building a social network
  5. Making it all purposeful

John Stepper:   Blog | Twitter |  Book (Due out Sept 2014) “Working Out Loud


  1. Leave a comment on this post and share your reaction to the idea of working out loud. Have you ever heard of this concept? Do you do anything like this already?  Is this a good idea or do you have any reservations about working this way?

29 thoughts on “#03 Making Connections & Working Out Loud

  1. I like the idea of working out loud. I tend to do that often with my work team that sits near me but it might be good to start blogging some tips and tricks I learn as I develop curricula with new medium or try different approaches. This way I can reach my long distance team members too and anyone else who follows my blog….but how do you get folks following a blog?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I bet you will find some blog followers here!
      The key, I think, is to find your community. I create eLearning so the Articulate forums have been a great place for me to make connections.
      I also always “advertise” new posts on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. Facebook is just personal, not professional, and I originally posted a blog on there because I thought it was a fun, widely applicable post. But it turns out I have several personal connections that are in the L&D field and/or who just find my posts interesting… Who’d a thunk? (Not me!)

      Liked by 1 person

    • I agree with Allison that some of the folks here would love to connect with you and follow your blog. (I know I would). Since you can usually a link back to your blog when you leave a comment, commenting on other people’s blogs who you are interested in is a good way to help them discover yours. Sharing your blog posts to Twitter, LinkedIn and/or Google+ sharing the link there is a great way to help people find you too. You can even set this up to happen automatically anytime you publish a new post.


  2. I guess my entire blog is me working out loud. Just by sharing how I created something I’ve been able to connect with lots of people I’d never have met otherwise. It expands my horizons because I get the benefit of their feedback, plus I then want to seek out their work and find out who they are, too. It felt intimidating and embarrassing at first – (“This isn’t good enough to show anyone!”) – and often still does – but if you can get past that obstructionist voice in your head, you’ll never look back. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • That’s a good point Jackie. Things definitely do not have to be perfectly polished to be helpful. Good enough and out the door beats all the stuff I have stuck in my blogs drafts folder for sure! 😎 It is amazing how hard it is to click that Publish button sometimes but I think it gets easier every time you do it.


  3. I also use my blog as a place to work out loud. I agree with Jackie – you have to get past that self-consciousness. Once you do, it is great fun and can really serve as a great sounding board. I have found that the process of writing the post itself is the greatest benefit to me. It makes me consider why I made certain decisions and really makes my creative process more introspective and purposeful.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. This makes me think of Vygotsky and his contribution to educational psychology where he linked language and thought, whereby he stated we learned through a sort of inner speech or self-talk. I also always tell my son he knows he is ready for test if he can tell someone about the concepts. If you can talk about it, you must have a pretty good grip on a concept.
    Transferring this to working out loud, however, I have a really hard time transferring the inner speak to the outer world…whether it is via blog, speech, or whatever. I’m an introvert and things jangle around inside my head FOREVER. Seriously. However, when you get Jane and John and spaces like this nudging you to share, the extra focus and prodding sometimes helps me get my words/thoughts/and work out. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thanks for the kind words, Mike! I have been doing a lot of presentations since the book came out and find I must sometimes emphasize that showing your work doesn’t necessarily mean posting every aspect of every minute of your day on a public-facing social tool. Working out loud doesn’t have to mean “noise”. Think about what is useful for your own reflection but also ask, “Who else could benefit from knowing about this?” Remember that your willingness to share could make all the difference to someone struggling to learn a new skill, find an answer, locate an expert, or make a connection. I had so many examples that they overflowed the book so I’ve been aggregating those, and those that came my way after it went to press, to this Pinterest board: http://www.pinterest.com/janebozarth/show-your-work-book-coming-may-2014/ . Enjoy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Jane for everything you share. We’ll be touching on Pinterest in a couple of weeks and guess who will be a prime example for that one!? 😎


  6. I had not heard of the term “Working Out Loud” before. At first I didn’t like the term, but I think it was just a reaction to the “loud” word, which generally has a bad connotation. However, I really like the idea of sharing what you know with others out of pure generosity and not to self promote. At the same time as you are generously sharing information that may help others, you are developing your own skills and getting some useful feedback from others. I loved the cookie article since I am a nutrition and culinary teacher, the example of improving skills that you find fun, can also turn into a business!

    I do something a little similar on FaceBook as I share information about food, health, wellness and sustainability (it requires hardly any work on my part and not sure that it is developing a lot of skill). However, I have been told by many people they love my posts because they are interesting and usually teach something, so in that regard, I guess it is a little like “working out loud.”

    I have been inspired by the generosity of time and sharing of information in the short time I have been involved with this Learn Camp! I am thinking I would like to create my own blog about nutrition, wellness and sustainability.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. That is great to hear Susan! I think you’ll be glad you created your blog. Take advantage of all these great and helpful minds here if you need any help getting started.


  8. I have a confession to make…I have a “draft” blog post on “Working out Loud” – dating back to 3 March this year when I first came across John Stepper’s post on “5 Elements of Working Out Loud”. Maybe it’s time to finalise and publish this one!

    Like others who have added comments to this post, I use my blog to work out loud and I also found this extremely confronting initially. Time is my big problem, but since I started blogging 12 months ago, I have also realised that your blog post doesn’t have to be perfect.

    I’ve now started doing some very short posts on my e-Portfolio WordPress site under the title “Inspiration” – when something inspires me enough that I want to share it with others. This has been a much more effective way to communicate with my network on just what I’m working on, researching, or thinking about.

    I’m finding that one of the most effective tools to use to very quickly let my network know what I’m working on is Pinterest. I get a lot of response from this collaboration tool and I can also quickly see what others are thinking about and researching too.


  9. Working out loud is a great way to start upping your standards. If you share what you’re doing, you’re going to want to make sure that it’s good! Also, I find if I’m not recording what I’m doing, publicly or not, it’s easy to forget what I learned from it.

    Working out loud takes a lot of work and you have to be committed. And it’s scary! It takes me time managing my LinkedIn profile alone and now I’m much more active on twitter. I’m just finished re-doing my website and I’ve started a blog page where I’m going to commit to bi-montly half page musings. Thanks for the inspiration!


  10. Hi Sue! I’d love to check out your newly updated site. Can you share a link to it?

    There are a lot of ways to share your work. Some are easier than others. Blogging is great but you can also work out loud by creating a quick online video with a tool like Screenr, etc and even sharing your bookmarks with a social bookmarking tool like Diigo or even Pinterest is a good way to share stuff that is super fast and easy. ( We’ll be getting to those soon.)


      • How about a quirky video intro? A couple of minutes of the who and why? What is your super power?

        I’ve thought about doing that personally, but my fear is it slowing down the feed, and if you post a video will it have to be perfect? Do people get turned off if a video isn’t Spielberg worthy?


        Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks so much for your input Shannon! Never thought of a video, I’m horrifically awkward in front of the camera 🙂

        I definitely don’t think a video has to be perfect. I remember seeing someone’s video resume and it was simply her at her kitchen table giving a short overview of who she was. It was really good and you got a sense of who she was. I was impressed.

        Maybe I could substitute and screencast a Prezi with me voicing over?

        I was also thinking of doing a short fake interview with myself. But now I’m after giving the game away, and everyone will know it was me all along….


      • Thanks for sharing the link to your site, Sue. You have a beautiful design sense! I enjoyed looking at your samples. I’m trying to work up ideas for my own site that I’m still setting up. It’s hard to find time after a full day of work to come up with ideas and put it all together!

        You’ve done a really nice job and I like the idea of a voice over with a Prezi too – I’m sure you’ll make it look fantastic!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Amy! Wow, thanks a million – chuffed that you think so 🙂 I know, it takes a lot of time.

        Luckily I had two days with no work so I just got “in the zone” and got it done. Still a bit of upkeep and work needed though. Looking forward to checking yours out when you get it done, I’m sure it will be brilliant! If you’ve made a start, that’s the hardest part done 🙂


  11. I am inspired by these articles and posts. I know that in my work I have shared and responded to articles and questions via our Yammer site. These interactions with colleagues have been very valuable. I would like to continue to explore and expand the way I am working out loud.


  12. I was in Jane’s session at ICE and I had heard her make this comment numerous times, but for some reason seeing the phrase on a huge screen in gigantic letters made it come home “If you are working on something not worth sharing, why are you working on it?” That has become a sort of mantra for me. Would I share what I’m working on with my peers, my #PLN? If not, perhaps it shouldn’t be a priority on my list. (excluding expense reports – I mean who wants to hear about that? On other hand if you’re not using Expensify for tracking expenses your crazy).

    I started writing my blog, because I had thoughts that were popping out of my head and I had to get them out – now with encouragement from people like Mike and Jane (and lot’s others) I know that sharing in that space means something to someone, some where and it’s a great feeling knowing that you can help move a needle somewhere. I don’t know what I would do without Mike’s tips. That is a great case of working out loud, find tips and share them. Like Jane, I also have a group Pinterest board that started out as an experiment. A group of people aggregating learning concepts that “spoke” to them on one level or another. 10 people are part of the board, and currently we have 533 pins of some very cool stuff. http://www.pinterest.com/stipton1217/creative-learning/

    To me, another good point from Jane is the concept of it’s not noise and it doesn’t have to be on social media, group white board for example. There are 2 parts that are difficult, to me, about “Working Out Loud” – The first is really grasping that people may want to know what I’m doing and secondly is remembering to do so. I work from home, so I forget to share and I also forget to go out into the universe and discover, but exercises like this keep the theory in the front of my head!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I love this concept of narrating your work. It’s a complete departure from what I originally anticipated a blog to be: showing expertise. Admittedly, it’s a bit frightening for me to learn ‘out loud’ – showing that type of vulnerability online is probably one thing that’s kept me out of a blogging space for so long. Reading the comments above, I see I’m in good company.

    What I love about this idea is the possibility for idea sharing and collaboration. In the end, isn’t that what social learning is all about?

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I have found that as an introvert, working out loud is a difficult change to make. I can see the benefits of working out loud, but it will take some time to implement this change into my life. As Audrey said, “it’s a bit frightening for me to learn ‘out loud’ – showing that type of vulnerability online “,

    Liked by 1 person

  15. This is how I work best. We use business social at my organization. Many people are still grasping this social platform. I am out there trying to use it everyday. It is not about who has the best idea or stepping on peoples’ toes; it is about doing what is best for our customer and finding a solution in faster, more accurate ways. Bring on the ‘thinking out loud’ concept. I enjoy learning from others.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Pingback: #11 Microblogging & Enterprise SocialNetworks | Learn Camp

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