Tightening your community instead of making it bigger

How to solidify 1-to-1 connections in your core community

Host insider events to tighten your community


I recently came across a brilliant idea from a Miami-based conscious dance community called Solar Sunday. They’re preparing to launch a new project, so instead of blasting the news across social, they decided to strengthen their innermost community by creating an event that’s only for past attendees.

This insider event functions as an exclusive perk for returning members. It incentives attendees to double-down on Solar Sunday as their chosen event community. They’ll feel like insiders while a special announcement is made. And they’ll get to attend an event they love for a 50+% reduced price. Perks like this are akin to video-game achievements or colored belts in martial arts. They give people a sense of progress in a world that typically tracks achievement on a materialistic level.

While it might seem exclusive to limit a public event to past attendees, it’s actually just intelligent culture building. What would Burning Man be like if it was 75% noobies?

A strong culture requires that people come back time and time again in order to develop a depth of connection to their community. These seasoned members maintain the spoken and unspoken values of the culture – showing noobies what is acceptable here and what isn’t.

My friend and professional nightlife researcher, Malena Groesz, put it well when she said, “Are you part of this community or are you just passing through?” There’s nothing wrong with new members coming in, but a tighter Tribe with stronger 1-to-1 connections is more fulfilling and way more interesting than a large disconnected crowd. Think Burning Man (tribe) vs. Coachella (crowd).

I’ll leave you with a quote from Seth Godin’s seminal book, Tribes:

“The first thing a leader can focus on is the act of tightening the tribe. It’s tempting to make the tribe bigger, to get more members, to spread the word. This pales, however, when juxtaposed with the effects of a tighter tribe. […] A tribe that communicates more quickly, with alacrity, and emotion, is a tribe that thrives.”

Questions to Ponder

  • What perks could you offer your attendees to make them feel special? I recently restricted membership to my event community’s “WhatsApp” group to only second-time attendees.

  • What IRL and URL communication channels can you build for your community members to talk to one another?

  • What can you do to nurture your most passionate community members and volunteers? This doesn’t just mean perks. Nurturing can be connecting them with resources, donating to their Gofundme, or helping them find a job. Most people don’t have pastors anymore, they have mentors and community leaders.

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Attend a 10-day immersion in the heart of the Amazon rainforest

This ain’t no yoga retreat.

My good friend from Brazil is organizing an intimate gathering of 12 conscious leaders in the heart of the Amazon rainforest. Amanda Alface works closely with the Yawanawa people, including Waxy, the medicine woman pictured above.

This deep jungle immersion includes many plant medicines used by the Yawanawa people, including uni (ayahuasca), rume (rapé), knees body painting for protection with nana (jenipapo plant), kapum (frog medicine), mapu shower (sacred clay), plant shower, sepa smudging, meyu, saitis singing, and an herbal sauna.

Investment: $2330
When: December 11 - 21, 2021

Note: The majority of the money goes towards building Mawa Yuxyn – a center for Yawanawa ancestral diets and studies.

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Branding Inspiration

I was blown away by the launch of a new event series called Sounds Nice NYC. From their art direction to copywriting, I could tell this was special. They describe themselves as, “A 5 week pop-up at the intersection of 🌀 sound and 🌈 mental health.

Centering the brand on “mental health” is a clever way to sell “group reiki sound experiences,” “vocal toning,” and “jam nights” to a broader audience than the typical spiritual crowd. It’s a fine line to walk.

All I know is, if I were in Brooklyn, I’d be there.

Facilitator Vocab: The Pressure Cooker Effect

(noun)

  1. The Pressure Cooker Effect is the transformational energy created when a group holds space for one person to work out an emotional issue in front of everyone.

  2. Public speaking on vulnerable issues is incredibly difficult. But in a masterfully facilitated container, this same pressure can lead to profound and instantaneous breakthroughs.

Note: This is exemplified well in the Tibetan Buddhist-inspired AR game, Mudra Theatre.

Caution: Focused pressure can make a diamond. Misdirected pressure can break a spine.

Death Rituals and Exercises

I’ve been dreaming up an event called Death Dance. The idea is to create a community container to talk (and dance) through our fear of death. Being that I’m no grief counselor, I started reaching out to my favorite facilitator community for guidance on death-themed rituals. The response was massive.

They pointed me towards:

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