There are many traits to a good community builder: authentic, non-restrictive, interactive (no pun intended here), good listener. Read more...
But there is one trait that is very important to a community builder, and it's one that ALL community builders should have: the ability to LISTEN, and LISTEN WELL.
Cameron posed of me a thought-inspiring question last week: If you could spend 10,000 hours doing one thing, what would it be? I walked home that day from the office (a full 7 kms) with his question running through my head. I thought about this question for a few days and after much contemplation, it occurred to me I had the answer to his question. The answer had been there all along, all I needed to do was separate the wheat from the chaff.
For the past 10 months, I've been building a community. A group of technology savvy folks who desperately needed a community to call their own. A community of inspiring, motivated, entrepreneurial and innovative people. I am incredibly proud of the community I've built so far, and most of you know it as Refresh Events. That being said, we have much more work to do in order to accomplish the other goals that we have laid out in our roadmap.
So to answer Cameron's question: Community building. It's a lofty goal, yes, but let's break it down for a moment.
What's it all about, Alfie?
Upon giving Cameron my answer, I explained to him one of the ways I can begin to be a better community organizer is to overcome my fear of public speaking. It's true; I'm terrified of public speaking. I'll be the first to admit it. But then again, who isn't afraid of talking to a crowd? We hammered back and forth some ideas on how to work on my fear of public speaking, but then he said something I'd never thought of before. He said, "Maybe it's not your public speaking skills that you need to work on first, maybe it's your LISTENING skills."
This was my "A Ha!" moment of the week. All along I was talking to people thinking I could solve their problems by talking them through (programmers call this "rubberducking"), but in order to effectively solve a problem you need to be able to LISTEN and LISTEN WELL.
Want to talk? I'll listen.
You've heard it here first and you can take it to the bank. I pledge to spend 10,000 hours learning how to be an effective community builder. The first step is to learn how to be a better listener. So here's my promise to you:
If you want to talk, send me an email. My email address is email@example.com. Prefer to call me on the phone? My telephone number is 647-236-1925. Want to meet me for a coffee? I plan to work every Friday from Dark Horse Espresso Bar (215 Spadina Ave) from 12p-5p. Come by, sit down, and let's talk. It can be about anything you want. People you admire, a blog post you've read, a book you love, or anything else under the sun. The floor is yours.