Thinking of getting involved in your community?  Not sure where to begin?  Fret not, here are a few tips to help you in your efforts of engaging your community.

  1. Take it slow.  Our communities have tons of people already active in and helping to shape processes and move things along.  On the flip side, we also have tons of people involved who are counter-productive to growing our communities.  Most are counter-productive because they simple want to be a voice.
  2. Figure out your passion. Figure out first what you are passionate about before you jump into an issue that you are not ready to fight for.
  3. Learn the players.  Key players, community leaders, elected officials, etc.  Get to know the people who are already involved.
  4. Find a connector.  Find someone reputable who can introduce you to other community members and leaders.
  5. Go to the meetings.  Visit your city commission/council meetings and homeowners association (HOA) meetings.  Sit in, stay for a while, listen and learn the issues.
  6. Shut up.  Do not speak about just anything.  Again, communities already have enough voices.  Make sure you always have something positive and helpful to say.
  7. Always, always offer solutions.  Do not get involved if you cannot help.  We need solutions to help us grow and move forward, period.  If you do not have a solution, you are likely part of the problem.
  8. Participate in the process.  Your credibility will go a long way if people see that you are willing to get your hands dirty.

Only a fool jumps into a conversation without knowing its context.  Do your homework.  Learn your community and its issues first.  Participate in the process. And, you’ll gain a lot more respect by being quiet and only speaking when you absolutely can contribute.

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