Some memberships and communities fail despite the huge amounts of labour that go into them. And some succeed even when everything is done “wrong”.
That’s because no amount of clever tactics will make up for a lack in the experience the group has.
The most powerful kind of experience the group can have is a shared experience.
Shared experiences give the group empathy to each other, a common language for connecting and a feeling of ‘being in it together’. It turns the others in the group from ‘the others’ to people like me.
Some communities are lucky enough to be built around an existing shared experience (e.g. having a child, buying a home, growing your own veggies in your backyard). These are the groups that often grow in spite of everything else because every single person in that group has experienced that thing.
For the rest of us, with communities that bring together a wide range of people, it’s up to us to create a shared experience for our community.
What makes a great shared experience? Here are some that I’ve seen work:
- Live events hosted for the community (e.g. a summer camp for adults like Camp GLP)
- Teaming up to complete a challenging event together (e.g. Half-Marathon or Obstacle Course Race)
- Learning together from leaders of the community (e.g. a membership site like Fizzle or school like Akimbo)
- Rallying together to help a member of the community achieve something (e.g. fundraising for a cause or lifting someone up the same level)
What do these have in common? Members of the community are being challenged by something new. Something potentially unknown. Facing and overcoming new experiences is what brings us together.
How will you unite your tribe with a shared experience?