Please Join Us!
When: June 18, @1pm ET (5pm GMT / 10:30pm IST)
Topic: Building Community
One of the most important things you can do on this earth is to let people know they are not alone.
Shannon L. Alder, American author
About This Week’s Chat
Six years ago, I started participating in various Twitter chats and fell in love with the idea of being virtually connected to like-minded people across the globe. I suggested to Mind Tools that we should also host a regular Twitter chat. Little did I know that we would go on to build such a fantastic online community.
One of our regular participants, Mike Barzacchini, (@mikebarzacchini) is a keen community builder and will also be our guest host. In this blog, he shares how he stayed connected during the pandemic, and the lessons he’s learned along the way.
Building Community in a Pandemic
I’ve always loved being part of a community. I rely on them for inspiration, support and solutions. Communities also create opportunities for me to use my talents to help others.
Like many people, my wife Susan and I were separated from family, friends and colleagues during the pandemic. Instead of retreating into the shadows, we worked hard to build a network of communities that would help us stay connected with the outside world.
Here are five communities that helped me through this past year.
1. Becoming Part of the Pack
Shortly before the pandemic, we started volunteering with a local dog rescue. Through my time with this close-knit community, I’ve learned the simple joys of caring for others by rehoming more than a dozen dogs. I joke with Susan that my new job title may be “pack manager.”
2. Rolling the Dice
In the early days of lockdown, we started a weekly Yahtzee game via Zoom with friends across the country. Now, more than a year later, we’ve created a Yahtzee community. We cheer each other on, celebrate the great rolls, and commiserate the bad ones. The games also serve as a vehicle to share stories, offer support and combat isolation.
3. Creating Community at Work
I work at a community college with a group of more than 20 talented and creative professionals. When our on-campus meetings were no longer an option, we quickly moved to virtual catch-ups. We were able to check in with each other every day regardless of location or schedules. As a result we had richer conversations and more detailed updates, all while delivering our usual high-quality projects.
4. The Virtual Breakroom
Our team thrived on the social and collegial gatherings in our office breakroom. Nowadays, we have a virtual breakroom where team members can share family updates, recipes, and their latest binge-worthy TV shows. This space has been an important reminder of the power of personal connections and community, even, and perhaps especially, among colleagues.
5. Finding Time to Connect
During the pandemic, I noticed that I often had free time on Friday mornings. Keen to utilize the space in my schedule, I scheduled calls with colleagues I’d lost contact with. Not only were we able to catch up but we also brainstormed new projects and cross-pollinated ideas. This is still a fledgling community. I don’t know where it will take me or what the result will be. But I’m excited by the possibilities.
Lessons in Community Building
Through these experiences, I’ve learned many lessons that have made me a better community builder and participant. I have learned the value of patience and persistence, and how an open mind can lead you to the most unexpected outcomes. I developed my ability to focus on the things that matter, and how to celebrate successes.
Community in the Future
As we emerge from the pandemic to whatever’s next, I expect the communities I’ve experienced these past months to thrive and evolve. Our weekly Yahtzee game is going strong. I expect the virtual breakroom will also live on even as we gather again in our physical one. And Susan and I are just getting started with rescuing and fostering dogs. I have fully embraced my “pack manager” status.
I’m also looking forward to taking lessons learned to new community-building opportunities in the future. Working, learning and celebrating together sparks joy in my life. No matter the challenges, I expect community building in its many wonderful forms and functions to continue to carry me forward.
The Power of Building Community
In our #MTtalk Twitter chat on Friday we’re going to talk about building community, why it’s important and what challenges it.
In our poll this week, we wanted to know where you most frequently experience a strong sense of community. Only 12 percent of participants voted for their workplace, while almost 40 percent voted for hobby, book or sports clubs! To see all the options and results, please click here.
We’d love you to participate in the chat, and the following questions may spark some thoughts in preparation for it:
- Why is community building or being a part of a community important to you?
- What communities have helped sustain you during the past year?
- How do you build a community? Where do you start?
- What are the traits of a good community builder?
- What are some unusual or surprising ways you’ve helped build community?
- How can you encourage people to join your community – or to build their own?
To help you prepare for the chat, we’ve compiled a list of resources for you to browse.
Winning by Giving
Building Good Work Relationships
Breaking Down Silos at Work
Creating an Energizing Work Environment
How to Join
Follow us on Twitter to make sure you don’t miss out on any of the action this Friday! We’ll be tweeting out 10 questions during our hour-long chat. To participate in the chat, type #MTtalk in the Twitter search function. Then, click on “Latest” and you’ll be able to follow the live chat feed. You can join the chat by using the hashtag #MTtalk in your responses.