Last Friday we had our first PNI Hangout, which was a resounding success. With four people on the call, the conversation was excellent, and it was a great start to a new tradition.

First we introduced ourselves. Then we started talking about what we wanted to talk about in our PNI Hangout calls. We started thinking about some things we’d like to talk about.

Sharing stories

Somebody mentioned the difficulty of getting first projects, that is, selling PNI projects without a long track record under your belt. Somebody else said, why don’t we go around and talk about the first projects we ever did, and how we sold them; or about projects we failed to sell. We did that. Each participant shared a story. They were about:

  • A project that started well but fell apart when the funding organization went through a restructuring.
  • Selling a project by helping a client connect emotionally with the stories that were all around but not being tapped into. This connection helped the client see how the stories could help others understand the same thing.
  • Selling a project by helping a client with a project in hand that would benefit from the addition of authentic stories.
  • Selling a project by talking to a client about information overload combined with the lack of authentic, powerful knowledge.

While discussing these stories, we realized that there is a sort of spectrum between the motivating forces of untapped resources (stories all around but not being used, like the water reservoir above this post) and unmet needs (goals people could use stories to help them achieve but don’t realize it, like barren soil image here)18034948_l.  We talked about how the best way to sell PNI projects might be to find instances where people have both forces, and where we can help them create a bridge between resources and needs.

Themes for future calls

We realized that during our talk we had inadvertently made a decision about which set of themes (see previous blog post) we would use for the calls. “Practical issues” won out. We can transition to other themes later, but this is what we want to talk about first.

So our next call will have the theme of Finding participants (to tell stories and work with stories) in PNI projects. That means figuring out who should tell stories and figuring out how to reach them and involve them in the project.

Format for future calls

We also decided that we liked the way the call went, with everyone sharing a story. We want to pursue on that track for future calls, we would have a topic, and the everyone is encouraged to share either an experience or a question/dilemma about the topic.

Technical details

We then talked about the best way to talk. The Mumble experiment was a success … in finding out that Mumble wasn’t working for us. We switched to Google Hangouts and liked it much better. Google Hangouts has a limit of ten people at a time, but we thought we could try it for a while, and if we have a lot of people we can deal with that problem later. The permanent link for the new PNI2 Hangout space is

That link should work at any time.

Finally, we talked about when we should hold the calls. The time we had the call works well for people in Europe, Africa, and the US. Since nobody in Asia or Australia has requested a special time – yet – we decided to keep holding the calls, every other Friday, at the same time. When anyone in those time zones wants to be in on the calls (please tell us if you do) we will schedule more calls to handle it.

Next call

Our next PNI hangout will be on Friday, June 19, 2015, at:

  • California 7 00
  • New York 10 00
  • London 15 00
  • Amsterdam/South Africa 16 00
  • Melbourne 24 00

The topic will be Finding and motivating participants for PNI projects.