So you have been on Linkedin for years, but how many of your Linkedin Connections do you know are real. Research says that 90% of Linkedin Connections are virtual with no connection to real life.
So the idea of LinkedinLocal struck Anna McAfee, and she invited her LinkedIn connection to meet in real. 18 odd people attended her first Linkedin Local. And today there are numerous LinkedIn Local events being organized around the world.
Preeti Chaudhary was the first to initiate this idea in India. Elearning Carnival had an opportunity to talk to Preeti Chaudhary during a #LinkedinLocalDel and understand the role of such events for professional learning and development. Here we go:
Gireesh Sharma: Please tell us something about yourself for our users to know you a little better.
Preeti Chaudhary: A world nomad from India (lived in 3, for 7+ years in China most recently, and travelled to 18 countries on 4 continents and counting!), English Literature/Psychology/Sociology Uni graduate who thrives on people interaction. A polyglot with 6 languages (English, Hindi, Simplified Chinese/Mandarin, Bahasa Indonesia, Tamil, Urdu), presenting a diverse range of international, intercultural experience across industries/sectors and cross-functional levels. A flexible yet emotionally intelligent and stable person who believes in delighting others by not only meeting but rather exceeding their expectations, each time – every time! Intrigued? To exchange/share stories, let’s catch up over a cup of a crisp Latte/Chai, please connect with me via www.linkedin.com/in/preetichaudhary/
Gireesh Sharma: How did the idea of starting LinkedIn Local come to your mind?
Preeti Chaudhary: A firm believer of in person, face to face (over virtual) meetings myself, it was a natural extension of my inherent personality and belief system to make something like this happen – see patterns emerge out of abstracts, to connect all the dots and to thus enable in real life, human to human interactions and make them a relaity – a platform where people can come together as a community to connect, communicate and collaborate.
Gireesh Sharma: How does LinkedInLocal help the participants and what is the prime takeaway? Are these events more oriented towards business networking or learning?
Preeti Chaudhary: A mix of both – I would say these events are of a business networking nature, providing attendees with tremendous learning opportunities as well along the way (from peers as well as subject matter experts/specialists) People to people interactions open up horizons and vistas from where things take off organically – peers deep learn from each others’ successes and failures; they also gain insights and bird’s eye industry views, knowledge and insights from experts and specialists = a win/win in every sense of the word.
Gireesh Sharma: Is there a particular format that LinkedInLocal follows to organize the event means Guests, Speakers, Audience? How are two LinkedInLocal events different?
Preeti Chaudhary: Events are very fluid in nature! We give the Community what it wants so no two events are the same! We try to be as varied as possible so that there is something for everybody that attends – to go back home inspired and with definite takeaways.
Gireesh Sharma: How many linkedinLocal events have you hosted so far?
Preeti Chaudhary: 14 in 12 different cities in 4 months – we launched 5 cities (Mumbai, Guwahati, Bengaluru, Noida and Hyderabad) in our first month of operations in Dec.2017, 3 went live in Jan.2018 (Gurugram, Kolkata, Delhi), 4 went live in Feb./Mar. (Chandigarh, Pune, Lucknow and Ahmedabad); with Gurugram and Mumbai hosting their 2nd events as well in this period.
Gireesh Sharma: What are the challenges that you faced during your first few events?
Preeti Chaudhary: Nothing major, being an organised and systematic person, I put in a month of pre launch prep work in November 2017. I made and customised the centralised hub and spoke India working model, putting together all the systems and processes, SOPs etc. in place and testing them, recruting/onboarding (virtually handpicking) Teams of Voluntary Co-Hosts in each of these 12 cities and once this was all in place, it was a well oiled machinery – only a matter of tweaks here and there/finetuning as the process evolved and matured; and to keep the Co-Hosts motivated to make things (read events) happen!
Gireesh Sharma: There are meetup groups on the similar lines? Do you feel some competition for such groups?
Preeti Chaudhary: There is enough space and more for everybody to coexist here – more the merrier, this only benefits out communities and society in the end so that is great. Groups that provide maximum value to their members/followers will survive while the others will be left behind/on the sidelines – there is a self-elimination process already in work here so the best is to keep going forward – without losing focus or forgetting the core values behind the formation of one’s group.
Gireesh Sharma: Is it a For-Profit or Not-For-Profit initiative? Do you foresee the commercialization of such events? Why/ Why not?
Preeti Chaudhary: LinkedIn Local is Non-Profit but there are instances of similar groups of a commercial nature. I guess the question of monetisation or not depends on the vision and mission of the people behind these ventures.
Gireesh Sharma: How do you select your guest speakers? Are there criteria to be a guest speaker or anyone can share a story with the group?
Preeti Chaudhary: All events are curated. Depending on the format, any and every willing attendees are free to share their stories with the group with an aim to inspire others, learn, care, share and grown together as a community. The subject matter experts/specialists are known and LinkedIn ratified and engaged with public figures who would have spent a considerable amount of time in their chosen domain/s to be able to share their expertise with the attendees.
Gireesh Sharma: How do you fund these events? I see you ask some fee, does that suffice for the event or do you invest yourself/ get some sponsors?
Preeti Chaudhary: All events are self funded – only cost free venues are chosen, ticket prices cover any incidentals like attendee refreshments, hiring a photographer and/or any other organising cost at a no profit no loss, break even basis.
Gireesh Sharma:How can some request you to organize a LinkedInLocal in their area or company?
Preeti Chaudhary: Kindly write a personalised message to connect – thank you and look forward to seeing you face to face soon!
Contact Preeti Chaudhary
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