Fostering Trust: The Core Essence of Community Building

Fostering Trust: The Core Essence of Community Building

Curiosity in community building can help you shift from uncertainty to trusting yourself. New organizations and ones that have been around for years can benefit from taking a pause and looking at things from a different perspective.

Sometimes, that new perspective means bringing someone from outside your team, organization, or company.

As a Strategic Advisor, I’ve helped more than 60 businesses develop an intentional community strategy. A community strategy doesn’t just happen, but it develops after asking questions, understanding the needs of the business owners or organization, and crafting a business plan that provides both members and leaders with positive experiences.

Sandy Weston knows all about cultivating positivity. As Philadelphia’s fitness and positivity coach, she grew her audience as a personality on NBC 10 and filmed fitness segments with the Phillies, Eagles, Flyers, and the 76ers. She continues to be an icon for Philadelphia’s fitness and well-being motivation.

Sandy’s mission is to highlight all the positives in the world and help people come together to reach their individual and shared goals.

Sandy recently interviewed me for her show “I’ve Got Something to Say” LIVE on Facebook, which you can now see on YouTube.

Our talk focuses on overcoming self-doubt and discovering ways to trust yourself in business and life. The focus is often on what needs to be done instead of recognizing how much you’ve already accomplished.

Community building is a difficult task. There is so much to distract and divert attention in the digital world. Business owners can get overwhelmed by the new platforms, trying to grow their audience and develop a strategy that fits their busy lifestyle.

You may want your members to share, post, or comment in an online community. But you can’t make someone do something. You can encourage them, support them, and let them be heard.

Critical concepts of connection inside an online community

Developing an online community that sparks engagement doesn’t just happen alone. Hosts, leaders, facilitators, and guides work together to understand who’s in an online community and what brought them there.

In her book, The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why It Matters, Pria Parker shares, “Specificity is a crucial ingredient. The more focused and particular a gathering is, the narrowly it frames itself and the more passion it arouses.”

The first step to gaining engagement in an online community isn’t to post more content.

The first key to engagement is to know why your members are there. Getting specific with what daily problems the members face is the key to understanding how (or if) a community will solve their problems.

The two things you need as a community leader are people who want to talk about what you want to talk about and that these people trust you. You’ll need to dive into the details to establish trust in a digital age.

What does it look like to focus on details?

It looks like asking a specific question related to a particular topic. Don’t worry about asking everyone in your group what their favorite ice cream flavor is because that’s not going to help them connect.

I think of this in terms of dominos.

What is the domino that will knock others over regarding your effort?

What tools, resources, or support do you need to help you build a thriving community?

I’d love to hear what questions you have about community building.

Please send me a text or a voice note to 717–644–8712. (I don’t answer numbers I don’t know, so please don’t give your name so they don’t know who you are!)

Any questions or comments can be sent to



Deb Schell, Author and Community Strategist

Community Strategist, Author, Podcaster, Designer. Find Calm Here, where community strategy meets intentionality.