The concept of community building is amazing; individuals gather around common interests to share valuable information and build success stories. A community is generally based on mutual interests and grows through face to face interactions which further these interests.
However, you might spend weeks attending seminars, events and gatherings and not find a single community that seems relevant and useful.
Because bringing individuals with common ideas and interests together under the same roof or in a shared environment isn’t enough.
Forced conversations over a couple of coffees in a lifeless setting do not breathe life into the concept of community! Such interactions only yield half-hearted attempts to connect with each other and a few LinkedIn requests.
A community is different from a chatty network. It might not even have a whole horde of people. But the members have a positive relationship with each other. They:
- Are well aware of who the others in the community are and have already taken stock of strengths and weaknesses
- Treat the community as a collective consciousness – an evolving asset that benefits from the contributions of everyone
- Are ready to help and also seek guidance and support in return. A community isn’t about “preening” or “strutting your stuff” for validation. It is comprised of shared experiences – both uplifting and challenging so that everyone can learn important, vicarious lessons.
However having said that, community building shouldn’t be viewed as a difficult task!
After all human beings are social creatures and the desire to forge strong bonds is intrinsic.
So if you follow the next four steps, you will find yourself at the center of a growing circle of positivity, transparency and initiative – one that is more a support system than a crowd.
STEP #1. Stimulate Bonding
For individuals from diverse backgrounds to connect with each other and share their ideas and information, they need to establish relationships of comfort and trust. You need to break down barriers and cliques that may prove to be deterrents along the path of bonding.
- Conduct a problem-solving task or activity that requires groups or individuals to work together to find a solution. To accomplish their common goal, they will have to ditch their pronounced sense of “self” and add their uniqueness to the brew that is a community.
STEP #2. Promote Communication
Two-way communication is what fuels a community. As already discussed, a community isn’t a platform to parade achievements with a sense of being “better than the rest”. Communities encourage stories that bring to light best practices and lessons met both while courting success or understanding momentary failure.
Communities push people out of their comfort zones when it comes to brainstorming and innovations but they need to put members at ease where asking for help or guidance is concerned.
To promote trust and openness amongst the group members, you can organise friendly group discussions where people share their feelings, struggles and personal weaknesses without fear of being judged.
STEP #3. Promote Affirmation
Encouraging group members through affirmations is paramount when it comes to building a strong community. An individual feels more confident and active when his ideas are considered, appreciated and adopted.
Even if certain inputs can’t be executed right away, the mere act of acknowledging someone’s thoughts and suggestions is the magic glue that strengthens the sense of community as well as equality.
- If an individual shares thoughts and ideas, ask others to provide praise through positive feedback before sharing constructive criticism.
STEP #4. Advanced Sharing and Setting Goals
Once members of the group start to share their present struggles and visions of the future with confidence, they can set common goals to achieve.
Every individual will have the support and encouragement of other group members. They will be able to tap the collective wisdom, leverage resources and connections introduced by their peers and also use the community as a sounding board. These advantages are often the difference between stalled projects and committed progress.
The secret to building a strong community is to put yourself out there and be of emotional support and inspiration to each other through challenging times.
To wind up, here’s a video we created on community building that provides additional tips and insider’s info. We are honoured by our nomination to the ESHIP SUMMIT hosted by the Kauffman Foundation in recognition of our community building efforts.
We choose to use this opportunity and share with you, the dreamers, entrepreneurs and passionate individuals of today’s era, how community building can empower you to embark on successful ventures and fulfil your business dreams.