Years ago, a friend was preaching a sermon about community and one thing that stood out to me was that community and communication come from the same word.
It was one of those “light bulb” moments for me. I never forgot that.
We often throw around community in our industry, but few think about what it takes to get there.
It is the center of any community.
Think about it.
To have a community, there need to be conversations like we have in Slack or Circle rooms, etc.
How many of those are you a part of?
Communities come with leaders and that is a good thing. The best leaders lead by example and build people up. Intimidation and fear never help.
A friend said on Facebook, “If you are not allowed to ask questions then it just may be propaganda.”
That is a thought to remember.
So, as we move into 2022, I want to drop a few tips for helping nurture a community. These would be good tips for any community, especially the WordPress community.
Today we are going to take a look at three ways that we can help nurture community, especially in our industry.
It is too easy to think people will always understand “unwritten rules.” That is something about baseball I never understood.
Every community has those “unwritten rules” but they aren’t helpful to anyone who is new to the table.
Experts tell us that leadership needs to be clear for others to know how to follow.
We need to be clear, but leaders often assume that those who need to know, know, and we will tell others what they need to know for us to move people where want them to go.
I’ve seen that first hand on more than one occasion.
It is tempting for leaders to think that those who follow cannot digest the information.
That’s why many today try to lean towards transparency. It’s a nice idea, but not always executed well.
Remember the Great and Powerful Oz in the “Wizard of Oz”? “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!”
Invite others to the table
Sometimes we forget that there are others in the room. It might be that we just forget and there is no harm or we don’t deem them worthy to be on our level.
We are human after all.
In order to raise others up, we have to be intentional.
Invite others to the table.
In our community, WordPress, there really isn’t a need for a gatekeeper. Let’s invite others to the table.
Do they know as much as those who have been here longer? Probably not, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have a seat at the table.
That’s why I like communities like HeroPress, they roll out invitations for everybody.
When I attended WordCamp, people wanted to know who I am. I felt welcomed. Can we do better? Of course, we can! Let’s do better.
Find out where you can help
Helping is a fundamental tenet of community.
How many times have you seen a community band together to help someone? It’s heartwarming.
Lend an ear. Lend some knowledge and experience to someone newer.
Lend encouragement to others including leaders.
Introduce people to others and help expand networks. There is so much we can do to lift others up!
Become someone’s biggest cheerleader! People remember, believe me.
Last year I received a box of chocolate and coffee from a friend just because I cheered her on. I was pleasantly surprised!
And believe me, she is leaving me behind in all she is accomplishing and I can’t be happier for her.
We all can win.
And we can all help.
I admit, it’s the end of the year and we are all usually thinking about the next year. Several people have done end-of-year posts in the WordPress space, but I have been thinking about community.
Perhaps I have been participating a bit more. I have met some stellar people in the WordPress community this year.
Recently, two pieces of content sparked this article on community.
The first was a podcast from Rob Cairn’s Stunning Digital Marketing. Rob had a conversation with Brian Gardner about community and other things WordPress-related.
Also, see his podcast episode with Paul Lacey.
The second piece of content was just this past week from Bob Dunn. Bob talked about seven affirmations about the WordPress community following his trip to the State of the Word.
It is easy to see the negative. Let’s look for the positive and try to make a change.
We really can’t do much about those who are at the very top of our community, but we can do something about our circle of influence.
And, communication is key.
What are you looking forward to in 2022?