1. Clarify what you want from your tribe.
Do you want a professional clan, new personal buddies who share a hobby or interest, or help starting your endeavor? What’s the passion, interest or experience that will be the common denominator among you?
2. Identify qualities and values you hope to share.
Do you want Openness? Ingenuity? “Let’s go” energy? Compassion? Do you want people with whom you can speak directly? Or are you happy with a less personal connection on-line?
3. Find a few organizations and check them out for feel as well as focus.
When you find one that rings for you, look for opportunities to contribute and “do something” – be part of a planning team, a committee, a conference organizer. Rubbing shoulders is a great way to forge a personal connection.
4. Reach out to people who are doing interesting things in your field or interest.
Respond to their posts. Mention them in your writing. Talk about their work. Follow their news. Read what they’re reading. Learn more about them. And when it feels right, reach out through email – and set up a call.
5. Look for the newcomers and interesting outliers.
Sometimes it’s folks like you and me who aren’t super established who will most appreciate the support of tribal membership.They may be more receptive to a personal connection than folks who already have jillions of followers.
6. Give. Give. Give.
Give to other potential tribe folks wherever you can, through acknowledgments, responses to posts, reviews on-line, suggestions, and free information. Giving carries a magnetic energy. Giving builds connection.
7. Look for events that bring together whole-hearted social innovators and folks who share your interests.
If you can’t find ones that reflect your passion, host an event. Put an announcement out. You can schedule a forum – or announce a Meet-up where like-minded souls can come together for coffee and conversation.
8. Put out a call.
You can find interested others by sharing your interest (and call to tribe) through an article, a blog post, or multiple comments on a group site.
9. Take a risk and share personally.
If being willing to share personally is a must-have criterion for tribe mates, model the way and start sharing your open heartedness, your seeking, and your vulnerabilities (no whining, of course!). If they can’t deal with it – move on!
10. Be grateful and express it.
Say “yes, and” wherever possible to what folks offer to you.
11. Enjoy playing with your tribe!
These are real people, not numbers. If you’re having a blast connecting, people soon will be begging to join you!
12. Give it time.
I figure on my island I have to connect with someone at least three times before we are more than just names to each other. Keep weaving connections across time.
Here’s a recipe I used recently to brew a new connection with someone who shares my interest in applying improvisational theatre to work:
a) Respond to a thoughtful comment or post.
b) Check out the author’s presence on-line; follow-up with him/her to connect on-line. Begin an email conversation.
c) If the response is interesting and you share common passions, have a phone or Skype chat. Share your ideas and hear his or hers.
d) Respond to suggestions. Follow-up and show how you benefitted from those great ideas.
e) Make sure you’re connected over different social media platform.
f) If you’re blogging, send your interesting blog posts – ask to share his or hers. Write for each others.
g) Sprinkle in an occasional “just thinking of you” email, just to check in.
h) For a delicious last touch – meet personally – on a visit to their town or at a conference.
The result: A connection in a distant city becomes a new tribe member!