How lets talk lets connect is transformed in last 7 months?
Let’s Talk Let’s Connect.
The year was 2016 and some of us wanted to see if we can build a small platform that will help us meet new people, build connections and explore possibilities together. So we began a WhatsApp group called ‘Law of Attraction’ which was an open platform to explore, experiment cognitive thinking. Very soon, we felt that it would be even better to gather and explore these possibilities in a physical space, away from the busyness of our everyday life and our distractions with gadgets. So we began a humble experiment to build a community of people with an interest to slow down, share and listen and called it ‘Motta Maadi Sandhippu (MMS)’ a name that was quite apt since we decided to request and use the terrace spaces we could get to host our gatherings.
Before we knew it, our WhatsApp group (Law of Attraction) had over 500+ participants and was bustling with interaction and exchanges. Within a short time, Motta Maadi Sandhippu (MMS)had received great response through word of mouth sharing and we had volunteers actively hosting over 20+ gatherings across 12 locations in the city which had over 600+ attendees. We were elated by the impact we were able to create and most importantly with the fact that we were all co-creating it together as a community.
But that is when the COVID-19 lockdowns kicked in. Things changed dramatically all of a sudden. Nobody was sure about how our future would look like, some of us worried about losing our jobs, our rent, the economy was suddenly dipping and things were looking bleak and uncertain in many ways, including the future of our initiatives that had been a source of energy and great motivation in life.
It was at this time, one of our friends, Divakar came up with this idea of building a knowledge exchange platform online inviting people from our present community and beyond. “Let’s Talk Let’s Connect” (LTLC) would be a platform for anyone to step up and share their knowledge and skill with others offering a session which others could benefit from. While the idea seemed fantastic, it involved a lot of effort to organize and make it a reality- we needed to work on forms, documents, invite posters, audio-visual design and content, publicity, registrations, etc. all of which involved a lot of investment of time, effort and energy from the organizing team, many of whom were already being stretched thin with their office work.
But that didn’t deter Divakar, who, out of his love for creating this for the community joined hands with his friend Nagendiran as they worked hard creating this platform. In the last few months, since COVID lockdowns had begun, they managed to inspire a large number of people to come forward and co-create this platform.
The sessions began to quickly popularize among people and in less than a span of 7 months, we had successfully hosted over 300+ sessions from over 50 experts catering to over 6000 participants with over 800+ hours of learning across various themes that enhanced both their personal well-being and their professional skillset.
But to keep this momentum going was no easy task. The rapid scaling up of the work meant we had to spend an enormous amount of time with our organizing work — maintain proper documents, coordinating with speakers and registered participants, creating publicity content and marketing. All this intense work also meant that the team was constantly stretch thin and working super hard and had to take much more time to handle emerging conflicts, bridge communication gaps, check in, reflect and learn to support each other. Doing all of this while also balancing their own professional and personal life was quite incredible and challenging.
Today, as the lockdowns have mostly been lifted and work life has resumed for many of us (with precautions), things have only gotten busier than before. Especially when it comes to Let’s Talk Let’s Connect, we have been deeply grateful for all our learning and experiences.
While we would love to continue to offer and operate this platform to touch more lives going forward, it has also become very important for us to come to terms with certain realities about our way forward. As a team, we have come to this clarity that the LTLC project cannot continue the way it has, for it has grown so much in such a little time and has become incredibly challenging and exhausting to manage with our current resources — which include our available free time, team members we presently have and the financial costs (which we have been bearing from our own pockets for all these months).
This leaves us with the need to innovate and try out new strategies to continue to support and offer this platform. We strongly believe that it is time for us to trust in the community we have built together and loved and cared for so much to rise up and support us in keeping this work alive so everyone can continue to keep benefitting from it.
After a lot of deliberation, we have decided to offer our upcoming sessions at Let’s Talk Let’s Connect in the spirit of “PAY AS YOU VALUE”. Pay as you value is an invitation, in the spirit of Gift Culture, that appeals to people to contribute financially to the session they are attending based on how much they feel like offering from their heart, out of love for the experience they have received. This is also a wonderful way for us to honour the enormous time and effort that goes into creating these sessions, as well as partially remunerate our guest speakers, hardworking team members and pay for the online platforms which need a premium for uninterrupted usage.
The reason we have not wanted to “FIX” a price to these sessions is because we believe and trust that we can build a platform for a community where learning can no longer be a business and transaction but a space of love, kindness and mutual support. We do not wish money alone to come in the way of someone learning through this platform. But at the same time, we also recognize that if we do not end up receiving enough contributions to sustain this work, we will have no option but to drop this initiative. While this may seem like a risky gamble for some people, we wish to place our trust in the community that we have built and believe that people will rise to continue to support this platform in the true spirit of “CO- CREATION”. Just the way we have always intended it!