Don't forget your special sauce!

Has anyone ever told you how rituals in the community move everyone into action? 

While we’ve been talking about how new leaders can breathe life into a community, it’s important not to overlook the rituals in a community, which are the moments that revitalize the whole group. 

Before we jump into today’s story, do you know what “community rituals” actually are?

Well, I’ll keep this short to make it just a 14 seconds read. (yes, I timed it, twice!).

In communities, rituals are not about chasing big events or crowds. It’s more about our daily actions and the choices we make. When we perform these specific actions on a regular basis, it becomes a ritual. And these rituals act as motivators - a key opportunity to move your community forward.

Rituals happen online, too

While you may think in-person community rituals are more impactful, it’s not always the case. Whether they take place under one roof or are organized to connect members from different locations, the intent should be to allow your community members to take a pause from what they are doing and celebrate together. 

These will be the shared moments where your community members will get the chance to talk about where to head next, give themselves a much-needed break, and reflect on all they’ve accomplished. Consequently, it will keep the fire on in your community.

Community rituals and their purpose

If you’re starting off with your community, you should give a lot of thought to creating your community rituals. You can’t wake up one day and suddenly set-up a great community ritual. It’s almost impossible to achieve this, especially when you’re starting off with your community. And that’s the crux of the problem. 

But, as we wrote in our articles earlier,

The purpose of your community should come from a supportive, value-driven place and should connect with value creation and exchange.

Similarly, you should follow the same rule while thinking of community rituals.

In the book, The Art of Gathering, Priya Parker, a conflict resolution mediator, argues that an effective gathering requires a clear purpose. She writes:

When we don’t examine the deeper assumptions behind why we gather, we end up skipping too quickly to replicating old, staid formats of gathering. And we forgo the possibility of creating something memorable, even transformative.

Last week, we talked to some of the community experts to understand some of their rituals they are following to create memorable and magical experiences in their community. Let’s have a look:

First, we have Yasmine Struyf, who is currently managing a community of interesting professionals doing exciting things in a co-working space in Belgium.

She says #monthlybreakfast was one kind of ritual she was doing before covid but during the times of covid, she had to figure out new ways to organize this. 

Now, she gives a breakfast box once a month to all the community members from the reception. When everyone picks their breakfast box, she gives them an update on who is new in the building or who could be a match for their company. It becomes very easy for the members to stay in the know of things and get to know the new members eventually.

She also mentioned about their weekly ritual, where she sends out a creative newsletter that always has something special about the members. It’s an excellent way for community members to feel special and they really enjoy reading it. She also does riddle’s sometimes to keep the spirit alive :)

Martha Essien, builds and manages communities for brands in Nigeria. She also works on consulting projects for brands who want to get started with the community or have an existing community that needs a revamp. 

One of the rituals that she has is having members talk about their goals and their achievements. She incorporates it at the beginning and end of a new week, asking them to share their goals for the week and then finding out what big thing they achieved that week. 

Another community ritual that Martha conducts is online (LIVE) meetups. She organizes it once in 2 weeks or in a month by bringing members to share their stories, struggles, achievements, and everything in between. She believes the main idea of doing this is to let the members feel safe and happy.

Parul Gupta, Community Manager of  The Community Makers Club, is building a community of community leaders (like you!) She believes great things happen when incredibly passionate community builders come together. It’s still early days for her, but she truly is getting the pulse of the community.

She thinks early members are very special people. They are among the first few who lay their faith in the community and agree to become a part of it. She repays the faith by telling them that only the right people are going to be a part of the community. 

One of the rituals that she organizes for her community is #FunFriday. It’s a ritual where she has 1:1 interactions with all the early members. They share their experiences around community building, tell their expectations, and have a good time together. It’s a great way to keep the community alive and sound, especially in the early days.

The only question — How long will it take to build the community rituals to a level that your community scales? Is there a structure to be followed?

Let us know your thoughts in the comment section or by replying to this email. I’d love to feature some of your rituals in my next newsletter. We will also cover this in detail in our coming editions.

Until then, let the beautiful rituals drive your community to greater heights. I promise it’ll be fun.