Community building feels most elusive when you’re getting started because you want to do something. You want to start something. But like you said…you want it to feel natural, not forced or fake.
The counterintuitive answer is that the community you’re looking for is all around you. It’s people. They’re already there, already doing things!
Step one is to meet them where they are. Get curious. Don’t start something new of your own…go look for anywhere that people are already gathering. And focus on getting to know who they are. It’s a lot of one-on-one work. It feels slow at first. That’s normal.
Then, as you start to get to know people, you can start to notice patterns in what you learn about people. The things they do, professionally and in their free time. Where do they hang out? What kinds of lives do they live? What goals do they have? What do they enjoy the most? What do they enjoy the least?
Looking for patterns gives you the opportunity to start bringing people together in ways that feel natural, and require SO much less effort than workshops and network events.
The last step that I mention in my most basic community building playbook is to lead by example. Sometimes all people need is someone else to step up and say “that’s a great idea, we should do that together.” That’s where you can be the catalyst.
Just remember that the temptation is going to be for you to do everything. And yes, you’ll need to take the lead on some things.
But successful, sustainable community building is more about noticing things that are about to happen and encouraging them than trying to pressure-cook things into existence. Make sense?
On Mon, May 22, 2017 at 11:58 AM, Lisa Dimond [email protected] wrote:
Hello! My name is Lisa Dimond. My family and I opened ecafe, a coworking coffeehouse, in Overland Park, KS, in October 2016. Here’s our website (which is a work-in-progress): www.ecafecoffee.com. We also have another website, www.visitecafe.com, which is in the process of being merged with the coffee one. Originally we thought we needed to be 2 separate entities, but we are now presenting as one.
I mainly run the coffee shop portion of our setup, but I am starting to take over the coworking space as well. I am really interested in how to build community in our space. Everything I read talks about building community as one of the top priorities in a coworking space. I just don’t know where to start. I need specific examples, please.
Do I hold workshops? If so, how do I go about finding them? Do I charge for them, or make them free?
I want to hold networking events, but don’t know where to start. I don’t want them to be stuffy and fake; I want it to feel natural.
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The #1 mistake in community building is doing it by yourself.
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