Consistency creates community

· 3 min read

Over the years, I’ve had a lot of conversations about creating communities. These conversations are usually with people passionate about a specific topic or wanting to make a support network for something challenging. There is no particular formula for creating a community, but to create a valuable community, the intent has to be authentic. The most recurring theme in these conversations, though, is consistency.

Communities are not one-off things. Even for communities surrounding one-off events like someone undertaking a marathon, for example, the community formation and existence long extends when the race has finished. This is especially true for the particular conference category All Day Hey! falls into. I never wanted to create a stuffy conference where you have to trade your soul to network with like-minded people, and maintaining a community with authenticity is hard.

While communities should be inclusive, you must be careful with whom you expose to that community. In the world of conferences, this means the sponsors you partner with, the venues you use, and the speakers you invite. For a community to build genuine relationships, you need to create a safe enough space for people to be themselves and for them not to feel harassed by marketing and information. The community’s people must always be the primary focus, and you need to constantly consider how you add value to that part of the equation. Building trust is hard. Losing it is easier. There are no shortcuts and it is all about prioritising the people that make up the community.

Consistency can be knackering, though. As an organiser, you take a fair few blows trying to create that consistency. You put lots of events on. Some will be hugely successful. Some will need help to sell. After a challenging few years recovering from the impact of the pandemic on events and generally people putting themselves out there to network, I was blown away by the response to the conference this year, with people committing to the conference before we’d even announced the line-up. This made me think of consistency. Powering through quiet times to ensure the community remained and that the sentiment of the conference lived on.

I’ve recently drawn up a talk on this, which I’ll be giving at meet-ups and conferences over the UK this year. If you have somewhere that would like to hear it, get in touch!