Hosting an SLS

Hosting an SLS is a lot of fun! There are some things to remember before you host your very first one. Let’s get started!

  1. Get Access: Apply to be an SLS Facilitator
    1. Once approved, you can create your first meetupMeetup All local/regional gatherings that are officially a part of the WordPress world but are not WordCamps are organized through https://www.meetup.com/. A meetup is typically a chance for local WordPress users to get together and share new ideas and seek help from one another. Searching for ‘WordPress’ on meetup.com will help you find options in your area. group! (Link to ‘Applying to be an SLS facilitator’ doc)
  2. Create your Meetup Event
    1. Use this button to create your Meetup Event:
  1. Give it a compelling, but descriptive title — you want to make sure you’re reading the audience who will most benefit, so make sure the title is clear enough that interested people will sign up.
  2. Pick a date and time; by default, it’s set to Pacific Standard Time. Please note that if you plan to use a Zoom account to host your SLS, whatever time zone your Zoom settings are in will be reflected in the sign up. For example, let’s say you live in Spain and  so pay close attention to make sure these align!
  3. Pick the duration of time — these SLSes can last anywhere from half an hour to two hours, but most people generally expect ~45minutes to an hour.
  4. Add a featured imageFeatured image A featured image is the main image used on your blog archive page and is pulled when the post or page is shared on social media. The image can be used to display in widget areas on your site or in a summary list of posts. (provide resource link here)
  5. Description: Describe what people will learn.
  6. Topics will autopopulate; they work pretty well to find new learners, but you are also welcome to replace a topic or two with a more relevant one, such as changing ‘WordPress themes’ to ‘WordPress SEO’ if that better covers your topic.
  7. Select ‘Make this an Online Event’
  8. Add relevant details, such as a Zoom link, SlackSlack Slack is a Collaborative Group Chat Platform https://slack.com/. The WordPress community has its own Slack Channel at https://make.wordpress.org/chat/. channel (?), or other online tool you’d like to use to facilitate your event.
  9. Optional Settings: The most common optional setting used is “Ask Members a Question”. It’s up to you whether you want to ask one or not, but some popular ones that help you assess your social learners’ existing knowledge are: “What do you already know about X topic?” or “On a scale of 1-5, how comfortable are you with Y?”
  1. Click the red ‘Publish’ button once you’re ready.
  2. You’re not quite done! Don’t forget: Announce Your Event. This will send a push notification to everyone in the group.
  1. Twenty-four hours before the event, send a reminder email. 

This not only might attract some last-minute sign-ups, but will also remind people who signed up a week or two prior to the event that they’ve agreed to come! Sending this email helps with attendance, so don’t skip that step.

  1. Arrive early.

People will start to arrive as early as five or even ten minutes before the event is scheduled, so having your Zoom up and ready will allow them to at least enter the waiting room.

  1. Consider AccessibilityAccessibility Accessibility (commonly shortened to a11y) refers to the design of products, devices, services, or environments for people with disabilities. The concept of accessible design ensures both “direct access” (i.e. unassisted) and “indirect access” meaning compatibility with a person’s assistive technology (for example, computer screen readers). (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accessibility) Features — and turn them on!

Make sure to turn on any accessibility features, such as Zoom’s auto-captioning feature, before the SLS begins.

  1. Consider Icebreakers

Over Zoom, it’s important to invite people to speak aloud, to write in the chatbox, or even use emojis/reactions to share their thoughts. Whatever tool you’re choosing to use for your SLS, make sure to ask a few icebreaker questions to familiarize people with the options. Some questions you can ask are:

  • From where in the world are you joining us?
  • Are you a coffee drinker or a tea drinker?
  • From a scale of 1-5, 1 being “not at all” and 5 being “expert!” how comfortable are you with X topic?
  1. Set Expectations

Let people know what to expect, invite them to speak, and make sure they understand what an SLS is — a social learning space! Not one person knows the answer to everything, and we all bring varying levels of knowledge to the table. Invite users to share what they know, answer another attendees’ question, and provide space and time for everyone to share in whatever way makes them feel comfortable.

  1. Conclude

Many people like to come back to learn more about WordPress — make sure to let them know where they can learn more (learn.wordpress.orgWordPress.org The community site where WordPress code is created and shared by the users. This is where you can download the source code for WordPress core, plugins and themes as well as the central location for community conversations and organization. https://wordpress.org/), and link to any relevant websites or resources mentioned during the SLS. Invite them to join us again, and thank them for their time.

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