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Access To Each Other Means A Thriving Community

In the world of community, connection to each other is the key ingredient that makes it come alive.

The familiar adage of ‘it’s not what you know, it’s who you know,’ has even more depth today. The cornerstone of thriving community success – is interaction with the people around you.

For the past few months, I have been leaning into what works best when it comes to creating a community. As well as the ongoing events, we built a private space, in the virtual woods where we build dens, called YATM Club. This article lets me share with you, the connection to each other as the link that gels everything together.

If building community is becoming the next step for you, it is the strength of the connection to each other and their participation that is where you will thrive.

You can either go to the party on your own, hoping to meet people you know, or you can head to the party with your friends. 

Value Lives In Being Close

Connection to each other promotes the strength of the community.

In an article on The Tilt, I shared how the concept of ‘community as a service (CaaS)’ can work. In Belonging To The Brand, Mark Schaefer defines CaaS as “access to a group of people is valuable enough to be considered a marketable product.”  

CaaS works when the community is seen by others as a reputable and worthwhile place to be involved.

Being part of a community means you tackle obstacles head-on and gain valuable insights from the collective experience. This is something you might not have access to if membership is fleeting our voices are trampled down by a few. 

If you want to find out more. I share the opportunities presented in the Experts In The Room podcast. 

If you feel connected to each other, you are part of the community. 

Here is what I recognise you need to have in place to find your pulse and the sense of community to feel strong amongst the people who are part of it:

✅ Interaction is imperative

When everything is led by one person at the front, you become part of an audience. When people take the lead in different spaces or spark new conversations with each other, you are part of a community.

An identity means people feel at home

This is where everything connected to a personal brand may not work as then it becomes audience-driven (see above). People’s connection to a name or a cause is what becomes the leveler for everyone involved. A name isn’t a person they are connected to, but your signal for people to know they are in the right place. Mine happens to be You Are The Media. 

You need a place for people to share and discuss

Whether a Facebook or LinkedIn Group or a paid-for platform such as Circle or Mighty Networks, there has to be that step before people can join in freely. It’s similar to having the magic word that opens the door. You have to make sure that when people come in, they are encouraged to participate. 

You understand that no one is left on their own. 

There is nothing worse than joining a group and you are left to find your own way around. Back in 2019, we saw a rise in attendees to our YATM Lunch Club events. We allocated some well-known faces within the community to be the people that others could freely go up to and then to be introduced to others by the willing volunteers. It can feel uncomfortable stepping into a place where no one knows you and you are unfamiliar with the surroundings (online or offline).

✅ Feel like you make a difference to the group and the group makes a difference to you.

The flow of insight, connection and knowledge can’t just be weighted to one side (go back to point one), it has to be mutual. You deposit value, and you withdraw value. 

This is where access to each other comes into its own when it is the respect and recognition of the people around you. This is where it becomes cyclical where people show up, add value and join in. This is so important to the longevity of communities. You help people, help each other.

Here is what Glen Long, course creator and produces the weekly Art Of Course Creation newsletter highlights the intersection between our work and everyday lives. “I feel like a good community exists in the space between my personal and professional life. It’s filled with people who have enough in common with me professionally to understand the highs and the lows, but are also authentic and open enough to become friends.

“Community is a place to get feedback and help, but also a place to celebrate and commiserate. I think a really valuable community is somewhere you make connections that spread outside of the community itself.”

Examples Of The Benefits Of Access To Each Other

Here are examples of the importance of where access to each other elevates the whole delivery and sense of connection. It also helps when members contribute towards a specific goal. 

Let me share it with you.

☀️ There is a group of people from YATM Club that are contributing to three panels at the Bournemouth & Poole College Careers Day (October 19th). This adds far more depth than one person presenting to a room. We are taking two approaches. The first is advice (on what the world of work is like) and the second is perspective (students from YATM Creator Lab share life after college)

GOAL = a group of professional people to share perspectives and insight for tomorrow’s business people.

☀️ YATM will now have events in Bournemouth University. This is going to be led by students (Ben Eggington takes ownership as he starts his BU degree) for students. By having access to the group means that Ben has a series of events teed up, when he asks others from the community, the ask feels easier as there is familiarity with others. When you start your career or unknown to many, it can be difficult to get people to commit. By having the initiative (YATM) alongside Ben’s efforts, it gives validity to either taking part as a guest or as an attendee.

GOAL = giving people the confidence to take ownership where they know there is an army of support from within the community 

☀️ Every Thursday at 9.15am to 11.15am community members work together on their own projects but with others around them. It’s a way to recognise that distractions are everywhere but when we put focus on a specific part of the day, we can get work done as a team. What happens is that this is a time for people to create and the routine is what helps support each week.

GOAL = Create accountability to get work done within a time frame 

☀️ Every Friday at 5pm in YATM Club we close the week with the campfire (online). It’s a way to kick back before people switch off for the week. It also means a chance to be open about frustrations, or the forks in the road we are experiencing and just to get feedback from others. 

GOAL = a way to express and share how we feel, good weeks and challenging weeks

Foundations To Make It Work Your Side

Relationships, connections and closer bonds happen after someone recognises the value they receive from being a part of a community.

Someone receives value first, and access to each other happens afterwards.

Here is where you can create that value that progresses to the connection to others.

👊 Build On Knowledge & Expertise 

When someone knows they can gain a wealth of expertise it becomes the benefit. When stepping in, they can see that no one person possesses all the answers, but within a community, collective intelligence can be empowering. It’s akin to stepping into a library with a real depth of knowledge and stories.  

Through this access to each other, people tap into a vast pool of experience and wisdom, transcending what any single member could achieve on their own.

You create value first, then access to each other amplifies.

👊 Industry/Sector Resourcefulness

People come so they can learn more about their industry and take new ideas away. When people are connected around an idea or approach it means access to diverse talents and perspectives. The more members connect and collaborate, the more powerful the ripple effect becomes, where others start to join in. 

What we are seeing with YATM is joining forces with others. From Bournemouth University to Bournemouth & Poole College we are promoting a collaborative approach that propels work from a singular contributor.

You create value first, then access to join in.

👊 Geographical Reach 

When there are few barriers, the right people can join in. A lot of in-person activity for YATM is in the south of England, I sometimes think this can hinder progress. However, building an online community space with YATM Club has helped break down the walls that were there. I realise that when you are part of a vibrant community, your connections extend far beyond your immediate surroundings. 

You create value first, the connection to the world around you.

Create the value, then open the doors for people to connect with each other. Traditionally, businesses create for the audience in front of them and for everyone to buy. 

Community-driven businesses create spaces for the right people, to create value for each other. It’s a subtle but massive difference in mindset. 

Jon Jenkins from Just Add Tech shared his perspective on connection with fellow community members, “For me, it is invaluable for intellectual stimulation, emotional support, and professional growth (especially for those of us working alone).

“The ability to share ideas, engage in meaningful (someone’s difficult) conversations, be educated and gradually build trust is imperative for individual well-being and collective progress (accountability). The community fosters a sense of belonging, which serves as a catalyst for collaboration (podcasts etc). It also provides an informal support network. In an increasingly isolated world, these connections become essential.”

Let’s Round-Up

True belonging lies in building a community where members have open access to each other. 

The joy of working together, learning from each other, and achieving common goals is the result of making that initial commitment to what you can take.

The magic happens when you create not just a group, but a space where people can truly connect, share, and elevate each other. It’s not about the number of followers or the size of your network; it’s about the depth of relationships you cultivate and the value you collectively create. Access is your key to unlocking a world of knowledge, support, and collaboration.

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