We're very used to organisations talking at us rather than to us, taking the lead in conversations and acting with their own objectives in mind. Community, however, is a collaborative undertaking where participants have the opportunity to shape the purpose and foster connections amongst themselves, as well as with the host.
It can be daunting to speak up amongst a groups of your peers, especially in the early days of a community when discussions can be quiet. Here are our top tips for successfully engaging with your community and ensuring you get the most out of (and give back to) the experience.
1 - Choose carefully
Communities are active spaces and they should engage you. Consider how you can contribute and what you'd like to get out of the experience before committing.
2 - Check the house rules
It's important that communities feel like safe spaces. Make sure you understand the boundaries of your groups, respect other people's opinions and speak up if someone's behaviour is making you uncomfortable.
3 - Be active
Conversation starters are invaluable, but even if you're not the most vocal participant, acknowledging contributions, providing feedback and welcoming new members all create momentum and build stronger community connections.
4 - Be present
If you want to build your profile, become a familiar face. Regular check-ins make you more visible, but they also give you the opportunity to have your voice heard and help others at pertinent moments. 10-15 mins a day is usually enough.
5 - Help people get to know you
Complete your profile, introduce yourself and be open about what you need from your community. It helps people understand where you fit into their network and where valuable relationships might be developed.
6 - Ask questions
Asking people for help or showing your curiosity about their experiences and opinions opens up conversations. On Guild you can @mention people - a great way to acknowledge how much you value someone's contributions.
7 - Give feedback
Help your hosts create the best possible space by letting them know what works and what doesn't.
8 - Share the love
As long as your group is open to new members and you understand the criteria for participation, inviting people with whom you have an established relationship helps to forge bonds between the wider community too.
In discoverable groups click on 'invite to group' in the banner to the top of your discussion. Copy the url to the group's directory listing where people can request to join.
9 - Open up
An online community is perhaps not the space to expose your innermost vulnerabilities, but people appreciate an honest, open conversation and they often elicit extremely supporting interactions.
10 - Know when to quit
If your needs change and your community is no longer serving you it's perfectly ok to leave. It helps hosts to more accurately understand the health of their community, and any feedback you give them about your decision can help them to improve the experience in the future. And if you're looking for another group that suits your needs better, check out discoverable groups on Guild.
More ways to improve your experience as a community member on Guild
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