I had the great fortune of hearing Adam M. Grant speak at a data visualization conference. Dr. Grant is a professor at the Wharton School of Business and author. I had so many good takeaways from that talk but here are my top five that I believe relate to nurturing an amazing community.
1. Weed out the takers in a community/group/organization.
I want to break these five down and how they relate to nurturing an awesome community.
Once you've got the people added to your meetup group, your Facebook group, or just your raving fans on Instagram or Twitter, then what?
How to you create a community people want to stay in?
Of course, content is king, and deserves a topic all on it's own. But there's more than just great content. There's this psychological aspect to it. But don't cringe! What it means is that there's support for what you're probably already doing or some evidence-based recommendations to help you create this amazing community you dream of.
Easy steps you can take now to nurture your community.
Now if you're thinking, but why do I need to do this or how can I do this, read on, friend.
The Why and How
1. Weed out the takers
What does this even mean? Don't you want people to take your resources, use them, be wildly successful, and become a raving fan? Well yeah. But there are other ways we don't want takers in our community.
First, especially if you have a Facebook group, encourage people to contribute. This can create really nice engagement within the group and creates some ownership--people feel invested in the group.
Second, if you have those energy vampires in your community, see how you can address it or kick them out. Listen, there are ways to bring up issues without sucking the energy out of an entire group. And if someone can't reframe how they communicate (side note: this is a great coaching opportunity), then perhaps your group isn't the one for them.
2. Create psychological safety
First, let's address what it is (this is my wording): psychological safety is where you allow for collaboration, creativity, and vulnerability.
So how does that apply to your online community?
In part, it's how you show up. Do you let your community members know that you encourage people to show up fully as themselves and to support each other, that the group is a safe place? Living these community guidelines will help create safety.
3. Encourage help-seeking.
This one should be natural for any entrepreneur attracting a community. Let them know you're here to help and to encourage them to reach out. Then you help. You can also encourage members of your community to help each other out too. I've been in a mastermind where we were encouraged to help each other out and to ask questions. And people were eager to ask, because they knew they were going to get the help they needed.
4. Make the unfamilar, familar (and master repitition).
This one is especially helpful for coaches. Make the unfamilar, familiar is really like a pattern interruption. When things get tough, we may try to revert back to our old stories, our comfort zone. When you interrupt this pattern (and continue to interrupt it), the brain is like, "Oh, a change, ok, cool. We're just gonna get through it."
5. Put your worst foot forward (address concerns first).
Every salesperson has been taught to overcome objections. The power in you doing it first is that you've taken away all or most of the objections and have built a reasonable case for them being a client or a community member. It also just helps put people at ease. When I tell entrepreneurs that I help them build super-connected community through data and psychology, when they hear data, they cringe or tell me that "I'm not a numbers person." I meet them where they're at. So, the way I could put my worst foot forward is when I talk about data I could say,
"Hey, I know some of you might not be numbers people, or maybe data makes you cringe, but I've found a way to make it less-cringey..."
Or if you have a subcription-based community, you could address the price point, or the amount of members...whatever the biggest objections are.
Let me know if these posts are helpful and what you'd like to see next!