Welo – Connect, Collaborate and Create wherever you are. Welo – Connect, Collaborate and Create wherever you are. Go beyond online meetings

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By: Cliff Pollan, CEO & Co-founder of Welo

It’s a common phenomenon in online communities: the vast majority of members are “lurkers” – they read, consume content, and observe, but rarely post themselves. This might seem counterintuitive since these individuals clearly want to engage in some way, yet something holds them back.

  • Market Research Confirms: Studies repeatedly show that approximately 90% of online community members are lurkers, while only 9% contribute occasionally and a mere 1% are truly active contributors.
  • Why the Hesitation? Participants may feel uncomfortable sharing for a variety of reasons:
    • Fear of judgment or not having a “good enough” idea
    • Overwhelmed by the fast pace of the conversation
    • Introverted personalities or social anxiety
    • Lack of a sense of belonging in the community

Think-Pair-Share: A Welcoming Solution

Think-Pair-Share (TPS) is a structured approach specifically designed to address this hesitancy and create a more inclusive environment. Here’s why it’s a great fit for fostering participation:

  • Overcome Hesitancy: TPS removes the immediate pressure of posting in front of the entire group, making it more inviting for those who traditionally hold back.
  • Build Confidence: Sharing ideas with a single partner first helps people feel more comfortable participating later in the larger Welo conversation.
  • Foster Connections: Pairing members builds community and can lead to broader participation down the line.
  • Diverse Perspectives: TPS gives space to people who might not speak up immediately, ensuring a wider range of viewpoints are heard.

The Power of Structure: TPS is effective precisely because of its structure. It breaks down the participation process into three manageable steps:

  • Think: Members reflect individually, giving them time to process and formulate their thoughts.
  • Pair: Individuals connect with a partner, allowing for deeper consideration of ideas and mutual support.
  • Share: Key takeaways are shared with the wider group, enriching the overall discussion.

How to Implement TPS in Welo

Focused Prompts:

  • Keep prompts brief and easy to understand.
  • Aim for questions that spark quick reactions and a variety of short responses.
  • Example: “What’s one surprising thing that makes you feel connected to this community?”
  1. “Think” Phase:
    • Post the prompt in the Welo.space.
    • Set a timer (1-2 minutes) for members to type out their initial thoughts.
  2. “Pair” Phase:
    • Give people agency to move themselves to a breakout room. Alternatively use Welo’s automatic pairing.
    • Give time (3-4 minutes) for pairs to discuss and expand on their ideas through chat.
  3. “Share” Phase:
    • Use the broadcast message to ask people to return.  After 15 seconds if all are not back use the Ask all to Join to bring the remaining people back to the main room. 
    • Ask for one-sentence summaries of the key point from each pair’s discussion.
    • Everyone posts their summary, creating a quick and insightful thread either in the room chat or a shared document as a room resource.

Additional Tips:

  • Moderate Actively: Guide the conversations and ensure everyone feels heard.
  • Start Small: Use simpler TPS prompts initially as icebreakers to build familiarity.
  • Set a Positive Tone: Emphasize a welcoming atmosphere where all viewpoints are valued.

Let’s break down those participation barriers and unlock the valuable contributions of your community members and deliver new value.

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