Why am I am writing a book about event-based communities in a year when the world of events has been turned upside down? As we can all see, every conference and event has either been cancelled or switched to online to prevent spreading COVID-19.
Despite the state of disruption, the desire of people to connect will never diminish. In fact, community matters even more during times of hardship and uncertainty. It has been amazing to see the energy and enthusiasm of people finding creative ways to bring communities together during a time of social distancing.
The Enterprise Sales Forum, a community I started for salespeople six years prior, had the same challenge as every other community. How do we transfer the experience of in-person events to digital spaces? The team experimented with various formats and platforms to find the right mix of engagement and stability, finally settling on Run the World as the online platform for the community.
The world will beat back the virus eventually. When that happens, people will once again come together to meet in person. There may be an easing-in period as a precaution, but there is no denying that in-person events will not disappear. If there is a silver lining, we have gained valuable experience in running virtual experiences, which has enriched and expanded the reach of communities.
Many of the best entrepreneurs and startups emerged stronger from past downturns when the economy started growing again. Companies that are massively successful now, were barely scrapping by as no name startups during the 2009 financial downturn. This was because the founders of these fledgling startups believed in the future and prepared for the time when business would pick up. The world is in a constant state of change and with every downturn follows an eventual bounce back.
In the same way, now is the best time to think about community. I have no hesitation to declare 2020 as the beginning of the Age of Community. This is your opportunity to seize the moment and launch the next vibrant and successful community. Now is the best time to begin building your community!