Before potential or new members go to their first chapter event here is what they are wondering:
- Will I like them and will they like me?
- Will I feel at home with this group?
- Will I make friends?
- Are they like me?
- Will I belong?
We get so focused on providing value, picking the speaker and packing the agenda that we forget the belonging piece. For new members to feel like they belong they have to connect. To connect they need time with each other which is tough when every single second is filled with programming. Open networking time, however, is awkward for potential and new members. Friends gravitate to friends leaving new members feeling like they are the only one in the room who doesn’t know anyone.
Instead we might try to create guided discussions with a purpose. Roundtables, master mind groups and discussion circles all fit the bill. These formats give potential members a chance to see that current members are just like them. And, an added benefit, this gives long-time members a chance to talk about some of the and issues they care about the most.