Category Archives: blogs

anything specific to blogging

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My icons on networks, connections and strategy

As I blog into 2012, it’s important to reflect on what I hope to achieve with my blog this year.

First, blogging is a personal practice where I reflect on work and ideas that intrigue me.  The act of blogging forces me to consolidate my thoughts, articulate them and share.  As an independent consultant, I don’t have office colleagues to do this with at the water cooler hence blogging is my metaphorical water cooler.  I hope to continue blogging and write more in the coming year.

Second, blogging is about connecting with others.  I need to connect and share with peers around the blogosphere and beyond to reinforce that despite working as a sole-proprietorship/consultant in a remote location – I am still connected!  The Internet has made working from home possible.  It has also enabled contacts and connections that I never would have thought possible 10 years ago.  Thank you to those that read, follow and link to my blog.  I particularly shout out thanks to those who commented in 2011 including Anni Holtby, Jennie Hoffman, Sylvia Currie, Beth Sanders and Isabella Mori.  Each person is someone I met outside the blog and have kept in touch with online.  I want to keep the conversation going in 2012!

Third, how are people finding my blog and how can I improve this?  The posts that got the most views in 2011 included topics of Graphic Facilitation and Planning, Collaboration, Relationship Building.  According to WordPress, I should continue to write on these topics as they have ‘staying power’.

Fourth, people find my blog with search terms such as graphic facilitation, relationship building and michelle laurie and my top five referrers include: Facebook, (thanks), (thanks to the graphic facilitation workshop I posted there), LinkedIn and (sharing my workshop I think….).  I need to continue posting on my social networks and reach out to supporting networks.  My posts need to have tags that help people link to the posts and I should not change my name (even though I got married this past summer!).

Lastly, the infographics and metaphors used by WordPress to describe my stats were compelling.  For example: A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. My blog was viewed about 6,300 times in 2011. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people. They also used maps and stick people and photos to help tell me my story.  I appreciate this greatly as it engages me in the information and even enticed me to write a blog about it.  I would like to generate my own infographics in 2012 and tell more stories on my blog using metaphors to engage people.

Thanks for commenting in advance and keeping the connections going!


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2011 in review – Thanks WordPress!

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.  It’s been great to review the stats they generated including the top 5 referring sites, top blog posts, searches by visitors and more.  Thanks WordPress for all the great info!

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 6,300 times in 2011. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Reflections of a home-based consultant living on the edge of the woods

“Be patient.  Good things come to those who wait.”

This is the Chinese fortune cookie wisdom I received Sunday night after eating out in a town nearby.  The town of 10,000 people is the hub of the region I live in which most likely has more trees, wildlife and clean running water than it does people.  Yes, I am feeling a little isolated.

My small town on the edge of the woods

I wonder if it’s the remote geography, working alone in my attic during the dark November days, or lack of strong professional networks to share the daily grind with.  Being patient is interesting advice as I have been thinking about my professional life lately and how I can enhance it from good to great as well as being less isolating.

For anyone that works on issues related to improving people, places and making positive change, you could imagine that doing this alone in your attic, mostly by typing into a computer box, could be a lonely place (despite my online friends – thank you friends 🙂 ).  Given that it’s a not so bad trade-off for living next to bears and powder skiing, I have been seeking advice lately to find that magical work-life balance.  Here are some of the nuggets that I plan to work on in the New Year:

–       Have a filter for work you take on.  Here are four criteria my inspiring colleagues at Bright Green Learning use: Impact, Creativity, Interesting, Learning.  I may add people/team to that list.

–       Network.  Go to conferences to meet people you want to work with and keep in touch with them.  This may mean dedicating two phone calls a day as follow up which is very possible (That is my brothers advice and he owns a successful HR magazine so I’ll take it).

–       Develop a local network of professionals who may also be looking for people to connect with.  I will use my community building experience to start this in 2012 with the domain being ‘professional development’ and the side benefits of deeper relationships and networking (this is an idea that has been on my mind since I moved here – time for action).

This is only the start to my 2012 ‘good to great’ list as my mind is burgeoning with ideas for connection, social media is at my finger tips and I should not forget my widespread community of friends, colleagues, alumni…who I should make more time to get in touch with.

Blogging is important to me as it is a place to reflect and share thoughts with others.  The professional world (even for someone living at the edge of the woods) has lots to offer.  So do I wait patiently for taking my professional life to the next level or work to make it happen?  Drop a line if you have a thought.  My top of mind response is that it will be a bit of both.


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Websites that make me laugh

Have you ever had a technology failure during a major presentation or even a minor one?

I was surfing the web and found a hilarious site that shares cartoons on social media and a bit about its evolution.   It’s great that we can laugh about it!

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Northern Voice is happening May 13-14

Have you ever been to a conference where you interacted with great people, were exposed to new and innovative ideas and left feeling energized and inspired?  This is Northern Voice!

On Friday May 13th, Sylvia Currie and I will be hosting a session called Drawing on Walls – Large Format.  I hope you can join us there!

Sometimes our imaginations are sparked by a visual where words fail us. Think about when communities plan and imagine their futures, when teams consider the possible outcomes for their projects, when groups create maps to track their progress. These are all opportunities to use visuals to engage and deepen community dialogue. In this session we’ll touch the paper, play with the pens, and loosen up our drawing muscles. Warning: You will stretch beyond the confines of typing on a keyboard!

Learn the basics and practice with us at Moose Camp! 


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3 Bears and Random Postings

I was inspired to reinvigorate my blog after the fantastic Northern Voice conference.  There was a fascinating session on if blogging is dead that has led me to believe that no- it’s not dead.  Blogging has a purpose.  For me blogging is very much about reflective practice.

Blogging did start to die off for me in the past year when I looked at my blog as part of my profession.  In that case I limited the scope to topics that strictly dealt with Knowledge Management.  I didn’t write about other work I do related to climate change, sustainability or my rural life, which I used to comment on from time to time.  I know people look at blogs for work or to find out about a person so I felt timid to share openly.

The people that I met at this conference and the discussions I had (even on the topic of openness) have led me to think about my blog more broadly.  I will write on whatever inspires me, KM, sustainable development or my life.  This has opened up all sorts of creative thoughts. I now have a list of ideas I want to blog about… when I find the time.

I sign off with this reflection.

Tonight, as I was walking home from a community meeting, I saw 3 bears crossing the road.  It startled me and I stood still.  I was living in the moment for those few seconds.   As someone whose profession is dedicated to reflecting, learning and planning, I appreciate being forced into the here and now.  Thank you to the bears.

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Blogging for Reflection

In my courses, I teach that blogging is an effective reflective practice.

This quick clip summarizes the beauty of blogging – regardless if people read your blog!

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On a blog hiatus

The last couple months have been keeping me busy and my blogging has suffered.

I am somewhat disappointed to have let it slide but I have been having so much fun offline… and this is helping to relieve the guilt 🙂

I will return to blogging shortly!!

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Communities and Network Connections Launch

 Have you ever felt that technology and the internet are always one step ahead?  Over the last few days I have dipped my toe in new waters and discovered a world of internet collaboration options.  I have linked my blog content to a larger site that houses many bloggers all writing on a similar topic.  It is like a clearinghouse for information on Communities and Network Connections.

As a participant I was asked to post a few things on my blog to help the searching and keyword capabilities.  After some technical difficulties, I managed to upload my new features – check out the key words option as it is quite cool.  You can see on the right side of my blog that it picks up words I use a lot and links them to blog entries on the subject.  These are grouped on the Communities and Network Connections site which is bringing together content from all different blogs.  

I am interested to see how this social experiment plays out.  I am not sure about how it will actually ‘build community’ yet but I already found interesting information in the blogs sitting together by topic areas on the main site.    Thanks to Nancy White for inviting me to play.  Learning lots already!!

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I think I am a xenophilia

I just read a great blog entry on the connections between homophily, serendipity and xenophilia.  Given I didn’t quite know what all these actually meant prior to reading, it was very informative.

The article describes homophily as: “Homophily” is a remarkably useful term, a compact word that succinctly expresses the idea that “birds of a feather flock together” – that you’re likely to befriend, talk to, work with and share ideas with people who’ve got common ethnic, religious and economic background with you.  He then questions as to what this means in politics, life and even if this makes one stupid.  For example, by sticking to those with your own thoughts, you are apt to miss huge trends.  Great picture of sheep!!

Serendipity is described as, “pleasantly surprising” or “accidental discoveries”.

Xenophilia is described as, “There are people in the world who are genuinely fascinated by the very breadth, complexity and difference of the world.”

Check out the article here!!


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