Happy July! It seems so strange that we are already halfway through the year.
I don’t know about you, but there is one thing that has helped me through 2020 more than anything else – community!
Whether it has been my own community, such as the amazing women in the Event Influencer Collective that kicked off in February, or other communities I’ve been actively involved with, like the Hivery women’s coworking space and community based out of California, community continues to make the most significant difference in how my day, my week, and my events (in every way they look) have gone this year.
Which takes us to one of the golden rules, or perhaps we’ll call it the ABCs of amazing events: Always Build Community.
You’ve heard me say this before, but events are that incredible integration and intersection of content and connection. And it is community that is going to leave your event guests feeling deeply connected to your mission and the transformation that occurs for them through the course of the event.
The thing is, community is something that needs attention and fostering. While it’s possible to build community when you walk into an event for the first time, it’s even better to continually be creating and supporting and fostering your community, so that when you finally come together under the umbrella of the event it’s like a family reunion with hugs and hi-fives instead of a group of strangers meeting for the first time.
So here are some of the ways I am regularly building community, both leading up to and in the course of my events, to deepen the connection and create lasting memories and transformation.
Prompt Conversation: While I am not a fan of small talk, I LOVE thoughtful and intentional conversation, and it is one of the things that promotes a deep and authentic community. As such, I am regularly prompting conversations with those in my community and sphere of influence. I post conversation prompts in my social media, such as my opinion on something happening or a curiosity with a call for response; I include questions for thought and journaling in my emails, with a request for readers to email me back; I start events and gatherings with an intentional question and then include time for sharing. For some people, it can be hard to manifest conversations out of thin air, so conversation prompts are like an invitation for those in our community to share and connect.
Reach Out: I don’t know about you, but I get excited every time a friend I haven’t connected with in a while reaches out, or when someone I’m just getting to know reaches out with an invitation to connect further. It makes me feel seen and inspired to continue the connection. The same is true of our communities. Whether they are longstanding clients, or a new subscriber to our email list, a personal outreach is a great way to build that relationship and continue building your community. And who knows, you may make a new best friend in the process!
Connect Others: I am blessed to know many people all over the world, and have friends in many far-flung places, but I’ve noticed that the disconnection that occurs between these various worlds sometimes makes it challenging to have a deeper sense of community. So this year I’ve been doing a lot of work to build a broader community and connect the people who I love and respect from various areas of my life and far-flung destinations around the world. I’ve done this by making some 1-1 introductions of amazing people who I want to connect, and in hosting small group gatherings (by Zoom of course) to have heartfelt discussions about things that are going on in our lives, our work, our communities, and the world. It has been beautiful to see new relationships blossom, and a deeper fabric of community built both personally and professionally. Just as exciting is that it is going to translate to some amazing connection and conversation when we gather together for a larger event. I can’t wait!
There are numerous ways to build community, because it’s about relationships, friendships, caring for others, nurturing connections, and helping others feel seen and heard.
What are some of the ways you are building community? I’d love to hear what has worked for you, and what you are trying!
I love chatting about community as much as I love to chat about events, so if you want to connect and talk about building your community, your events, or just life in general, send me a note.
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