Last week, I hit the road to California to initiate the very first stops on the Community Tour. Berkeley and Sunnyvale were amazing inaugural hosts.
The tour inaugural group at Mothership Hacker Moms in Berkeley – thank you Vonnie and Eugene Chan for being fantastic hosts!
We had an amazing mix of people attend the events — video game storytellers, engineers, international travelers, coaches, stay at home moms, authors, venture capitalists, jewelry makers, app developers and many more. Google, Intel and Lockheed Martin were represented, as well as dozens of independent businesses.
I will share a secret with you — on Monday night, when I was at my Dad and Dee’s in Port Costa (joined by my famous Aunt Char, Miss Beadle from Little House in the Prairie — who helped me record my very first Periscope video ), I was sweating big time. And it wasn’t just due to the uncharacteristic heat wave in the Bay Area.
I always have that nagging fear that things might not turn out the first time I launch a new project, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
- Will the new people who I have not worked with before feel welcome and be happy?
- Will my instructional design work?
- Will the space work?
- Is the breakfast delivery going to show up on time?
- Will my computer/projector work? (This time I did my slides in Keynote instead of Powerpoint, which solved a problem I have had in the past with the slideshow getting hung up, requiring a restart in the middle of a presentation — eek!)
Somehow, every single time I do a live event, it works out. I am amazed and delighted by who shows up. Unanticipated deep moments are shared, and a connection forms between people in the room that often lasts for years afterward.
Instructional design is never perfect, but it comes alive in new and interesting ways when it makes contact with real people.
Working groups in Sunnyvale, where so many great ideas were shared.
At Duarte, I cracked up, when one of the staff members stopped me in the ladies room and said “Who are these people at your event? They are so friendly and HAPPY! Every person who walked through the door seemed excited to be here. Do any of them want to work at Duarte?”
I said “I can’t explain it, but it just happens. After ten years, I just trust that great, kind people show up to my events. I have an awesome community!”
And that is the heart of the tour — connecting great people with each other, so that they feel supported on a deep level, and connected to a much larger group of people who care about their well-being, as well as the economic well-being of the community at large.
Photo by Jana Schuberth
In opening remarks of the Sunnyvale tour, Nancy shared how she has consciously built her company on the foundation of love and support. It was so refreshing to hear an extremely successful businessperson, who names the top companies in the world as clients, validate that human connection, care and love are the foundation for great business. This is one of the many reasons why Nancy will always be on my High Council of Jedi Knights.
In the spirit of seeding and supporting, I wanted to share the ideas generated by participants in the Sunnyvale workshop about how to make your community feel valued and supported (I didn’t share all — just a selection of those whose handwriting I could read from the Post-it notes — sorry to anyone who I left out!)
The Sunnyvale Crew!
35 Ways to seed and support your community
Generated by the Sunnyvale Community Tour group
- Facilitate a LinkedIn introduction for a community member
- Create a YouTube video with helpful content
- Follow up via email with a valued contact and let them know how much you believe in them
- Showcase of photo of them with an expression of success on your FB page
- Highlight the story/accomplishment of a member of your community
- Celebrate their milestones with them
- Offer individual help
- Offer pro-bono services
- Create a survey in SurveyMonkey to find out what they need
- Create a Meetup.com group to support them
- Give free talks to groups where your community gathers in person
- Share or (ReTweet, post, like, pin) their comments, announcements or events
- Use #hashtags to gather them together
- Create webinars on topics of interest to your community
- Conduct interviews and share podcasts with experts your community would find valuable or inspiring
- Invite someone to a 15 minute Skype date
- Create a challenge for x number of days to rally people together
- Promote Pam’s tour! (I swear, I didn’t plant that idea!)
- Conduct check-in calls
- Create a meetup that piggybacks off of an event that is of interest to your community
- Be a curator of books/articles/events that they would love
- Create a buddy call chain
- Conduct coffee dates
- Novel concept: look them in the eye and talk!
- Send thoughtful gifts
- Post kudos on a community member’s FB page
- Share encouraging comments on FB page
- Create a list of your favorite places and share with your community
- Follow up with individuals that you meet at a community event
- Invite the sharing of stories and traditions
- Note on your calendar when a community member has an important event and send them a text before it begins
- Host “read aloud” events — bring your favorite illustrated story and share with a group
- Write a Yelp review for a fellow business owner you admire
- Make lots of valuable introductions
- Write a LinkedIn recommendation
I would love to hear your additions to this list — hit reply to this message, and I will save them for our final Community Tour ebook of tips!
As a concrete example of a resource I can share with you, here is the video of the live stream I did with Google Small Business in their studio on the topic of Work/Life Harmony, before heading home from the tour:
I am so delighted to welcome the first batch of founding sponsors to the tour — Infusionsoft, LucidPress, M3 Learning, Duarte and Mothership Hacker Moms. These amazing sponsors that serve my creative market make it possible for me to keep registration fees low, and the quality of the experience high. Working together, we will be sharing best practices for community building, as well as sharing specific tools and methods for getting your messages out into the world.
Next Stop: East Coast!!
Next on the tour is the East Coast from August 17-20. I will hit Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.. If you are thinking of coming, now is the time to register! I have some amazing guests lined up, and great people to meet. The sooner I know the final group size, the sooner I can lock down the final details.
Thanks to all who have participated in the tour so far, as well as all of you who have shared the message. This is the project of a lifetime for me, and I feel so blessed to do it!