Month of Learning

Please enter email and password to continue

Why Being Seen and Heard Matters

We all strive to be acknowledged for our hard work.

Status can be seen as a dirty word, but we all need to feel like we belong. 

Let’s frame status in a way that promotes recognition without establishing a hierarchy.

Status Gives Us Association 

Today, even small businesses aspire to attain the status and prestige of large corporations.

We believe that having those tags boosts our worth by association. Where I live there are events for ‘Business Leaders’ or ‘Growth Entrepreneurs,’ but the audience is very much intended for anyone fighting their own corners. The audience becomes everyone but the association encourages prestige and worth.

Status is prevalent as it signifies the importance of fitting in. The more we interact with the group, the higher our status.

On the other hand, this pursuit increases our stress and discomfort as we constantly seek acceptance and strive to meet others’ expectations.

Similar to the army, you fit a hierarchy. Matt King served in the forces and highlights. ‘Status was always portrayed to me through a ‘rank’ system which elevated those who were of a higher rank to a higher status which meant that you had to respect those who were above you, even if you didn’t. 

Shelley Rostlund isn’t a fan of status either, ‘For me – it’s only ever been a label, but who the person actually is and stands for – isn’t always represented by that label.’

Whilst status may not be seen as a favourable word, we still want to be recognised.

We All Want To Feel Connected

When you feel connected to something, opportunities arise. 

It means the ability to step up and be seen by others.

A lot of what we do in YATM is about other people having the platform to step up to lead. We do this with the YATM Lunch Clubs where members from the community have their time in the sun, to host an event. It also provides the opportunity for other people to be on the panels that we have and share their experiences.

We also encourage the community to step up for YATM Creator Day where we have our ‘village vignettes’ (Liam Toms coined that phrase), where others share what joining in means to them. They do this from the stage in front of 200+ people.

The focus should be on receiving sincere acknowledgement from the group, rather than just giving people status.

Christophe Stourton leads the Ai Lunch Club and highlights, ‘You earn the recognition of your peers in a community, by contributing.’ 

‘My “gain” was being able to do it and getting feedback and recognition of a skill that I have to facilitate events, from the audience. It was a pleasure to use it to help fellow YATMers understand the topic (AI) better – that’s the job – and to show a bit of my character.’

When you step up and contribute, it gives the purest form of acceptance. By this I mean someone else has accepted you for who you are. When other people give recognition, from a round of applause to reaching out at a later date, it’s where the community says, ‘You are a part of this with us.’  

Honest recognition means we want you, you bring something rich to us. 

Putting yourself out there x acceptance = feeling a part of something

Westrow Cooper is leading the first YATM Lunch Club of the new term on Thursday 12th September and says, ‘Contribution, opportunity and support are the hallmarks of a thriving community.’

Where Recognition Happens & Works 

For a community to maintain momentum and thrive, it must create an environment where people feel recognised.

This involves creating new opportunities and ensuring leadership isn’t concentrated in the hands of the few. Recognition happens when trust becomes the currency, allowing members to take the baton when their time comes.

It means everyone can say, ‘You’re great.’

This is how you nurture a space that champions recognition. Acceptance happens through contribution, rather than allowing a hierarchy to dominate.

The Environment Created Has To Be Inviting 

Achieving recognition from others comes from a visible and accessible space. When people can see and interact with each other, they feel more inclined to be part of it.

This is why in-person occasions are so important. When people know they are seen and welcomed, it becomes a comfortable place for everyone to enjoy spending time. Participation has to be promoted to welcome people to be themselves. 

Showcasing Effort Needs To Be Encouraged 

When people show up, are committed and show a willingness to contribute then doors open for them. The talented people from the YATM community are always invited to let themselves be seen for who they are.

They don’t have to be bottled up into a corporate version of themselves, but let their natural talents shine. Some people are natural presenters, some are creative impresarios, and some are talented at welcoming others with a supporting hand. This needs to be amplified and seen by others. Encouraging visibility is so important.

Let People Know They’re Seen 

When members make themselves known, it opens doors for involvement. Reputation and recognition from others start with small gestures, such as an idea or sharing someone else’s work.

We started this during lockdown with the YATM Online shows where we had sections where attendees were invited to step up for the #winning section to share the joy in their lives that wasn’t always work. This helps members see they have a role to play and builds their confidence in contributing more substantially. Inclusion boosts visibility, plus it makes the whole effort better.

There Is An Invitation To Lead When Trust Is In Place

Trust is crucial when inviting people to take on roles where they lead from the front. It’s essential to ensure that new leaders align with the community’s values and dynamics.

Familiarity and trust built over time make it easier to hand over responsibilities. This encourages recognition from the wider group. This puts people in environments they perhaps haven’t experienced before, such as presenting to an audience.

Support Newcomers At Every Touch Point

When people join in, who may not be familiar, they need to see the effort that has gone into building that space for them. There also needs to be the provision of support, guidance and appreciation.

This can be as simple as a chat or response via email. Over time this builds confidence to contribute and be seen by the wider group. This helps with confidence and feeling valued. It ensures that future leaders are well-prepared for their roles.

Catherine Adams highlights the importance of connection has helped her. ‘Before Covid my business development activities took me to all kind of networking groups where people pretended to talk to each other, and looked over their shoulders for someone more “helpful.” The nicest people in the room were always those with nothing to prove, who responded brilliantly to not actually talking about work, and were more about making genuine human connections.”

“YATM is streamlined to find those nice people, and cut out the space/place/need for us to compete. I also feel we value people who genuinely share things with the group and that’s where mutual respect comes from.”

Let’s Round-Up

Recognition is an important factor in feeling like we belong and have value. When it’s framed correctly, it avoids the pitfalls of creating status-driven division.

Championing recognition must be embraced by the entire group. It takes time, but by practising and promoting it, you boost commitment, a sense of place, and progress.

Honest recognition should focus on real appreciation and progress made collectively. Platforms like YATM demonstrate how empowering members to take the lead creates a more inclusive and lively environment.

When people know they are in the right place and feel seen, it boosts the sense of goodwill and belonging. Contribution enhances our ability to be our true selves.

We can create a sense of community where everyone is valued and empowered to contribute. Recognition lifts us all.

Get the
Thursday newsletter

The YATM Weekly helps you build a loyal audience so you become the leading voice in your marketplace. All yours every Thursday.

Find out more

    ‘You Are The Media is powered by We Are The Media. We turn your expertise into clear, compelling messages, then build those messages into the kind of content people value —and come back for.

    Visit We Are The Media