Bringing the personal connection into online communities
The key to a healthy network lies in the quality of the connections between the people in the community.
Yet many networks and organisations struggle to create real engagement in their community. That is, personal and meaningful exchange between participants, beyond likes or follows. This is important because .
Our Huddles are facilitated online community calls designed to create real engagement and meaningful connections. We offer highly interactive sessions which allow participants to share, reflect, support and learn from each other. We use participatory facilitation methods to tap into the collective knowledge, skills and experience within the community.
How does it work?
A Huddle typically lasts between 1.5 - 2 hours, run online using Zoom. We have put into practice everything we’ve learnt about running in-person workshops, and adapted it for the online environment, so that we can create a safe, supportive space where participants can share their personal experiences and dive deeper into relevant topics.
Elements of a Huddle can include group reflections, working in smaller groups or pairs using the Breakout Rooms function, and individual exercises, such as journaling. We combine these elements to create a highly personal experience within a larger group. We can also use these different levels of interaction to harvest insights for the broader community. By doing so, each Huddle is especially designed based on the needs of the community.
‘It really was amazing to make the call together. I am super thankful for everything I learned.
As a facilitator it's such a pleasure to make the group experience finally possible through the breakout rooms in a meaningful and easy way. It's a game changer.’
- Clemens Grätsch, Community Manager, Project Together
Huddles work best when they are guided by a specific theme.
We like to frame themes as questions to invite collective reflection and sharing. We often find it valuable to aim these questions at the individual level, so that participants can share from their own experiences. This creates in-depth insights for the community as a whole.
Examples of questions can include:
- What inspires me at the moment?
- What challenges am I facing in my work?
- What would support me?
- What skills or resources do I want to share with the community?
There is a huge value in offering Huddles as regular community events.
Not only can participants get familiar with the format, but trust is built over time and it’s possible to create more meaningful experiences. It also means we can build on certain themes and dive deeper into topics which are relevant to the community. It can work well to begin with a more general Huddle (e.g. sharing about challenges) and based on the outcomes, choose themes for future Huddles.
The power of knowing you’re not alone
One of the most common responses we get from participants is: ‘wow, I thought I was the only one facing this problem. It’s so good to know I’m not alone’. Time and time again we’ve been blown away by how much we can support and learn from each other, simply by having the space to share.
'I'm amazed by how when we have spaces to share, how much there is to share.'
Melissa Abecassis, Ashoka ChangemakerXchange Community Member