Adapting Your Communication to Build a Sense of Community

Image by Anemone123 from Pixabay

Have you ever felt as though your community leader did not know how to talk to your community? Whether they didn’t use the right lingo or attitude, or the reasons behind certain decisions or actions were poorly explained.

Or maybe you have been in the role as the leader and you felt you could not communicate with you community effectively. Either way, one should be able to recognize the importance of speaking to a society of people in a way that they comprehend. If you are not able to understand them and communicate your ideas to them, then your ideas and intentions can be misinterpreted and not taken as you intended them to be.

Learning to use the right medias, be personal, and listening skills can build trust between a leader and community members. Which can improve community efforts all together.

The first thing you should do is to use the right media for your community. Different generations and age groups feel more comfortable on the various forms of media, so you should use the media that reaches the majority of them. Examples of this are seen in the bulleted list.

  • Sending newspapers or letters in the mail
  • Announcements or news packages on television
  • Sending updating through email
  • Posting on social media platforms

When you use these medias together in a cohesive fashion, you ideally can reach everyone. This attempt at using different medias and trying to connect with everyone shows that you do want to communicate and understand them, and you aren’t just a random leader who makes decisions. It builds the sense of community, especially if you allow for discussion groups and forums to be held so everyone can speak their voice.

The second thing you should do to is be personal with your community. Many people do not like following a leader if they seem fake or not like a real person. And I mean this in the sense that they don’t seem to have a personality or share much about them as an individual. When you feel comfortable to share some aspects of yourself with others, it shows that you are genuine, which will allow people to also feel comfortable to share aspects of themselves in return.

Now, this does not mean you should be oversharing with everyone that you come across, or blasting your life story all over the media. That is when it can be a bit excessive and crossing the line. But in general, among your interactions with your community members, be personal and genuine and it will allow for a closer connection.

An example of being authentic to a community can be seen in a research study done by Yanting Huang with the International Journal of Production Economics to examine how trust-building occurs when websites communicate prices efficiently, in a way that does not try to trick their consumer. This applies to day to day interactions too. It shows that the company or leader has the individual in mind.

The third thing you should do is listen. Listen, listen, listen. Before making decisions that will impact your community, it is important to hear what your community has to say about it. When they voice their opinions (whether in opposition or agreement), you can understand why that decision would benefit them or harm them, and get their reasoning behind it as well. And by showing that you are truly listening to the people, it shows that you care and that their voices matter, which enhances the sense of community.

You can listen in many different ways. For example, you can make polls on social media or ask for responses via email/mail to questions. You can hold forums and sit there and listen. There are a variety of forms that you can take in information that your community shares with you, so you should make sure to not forget that their voices are important as well.

When you combine these efforts together, you create genuine relationships and connections to community members. This shows effort on your end to have their voice heard, and to bring them all into the circle of your community. And most importantly, it builds trust. Trust will get your far in leadership. If your followers or peers do not trust you, or question your trust in them, then it makes spreading messages and ideas significantly harder.

Working on your communication skills within your community is not something that should be overlooked. Maybe you should start to examine how your community communicates. Observe and try to improve what you appreciate!