Every member of a forum will over time have needs for a referral, introduction, expertise, new investment, or ideas on hiring, technology, or some other personal or professional issue. At the same time, other members can often offer direct or indirect leads to help the first member.
Consider incorporating this “Needs and Leads” into your meetings on a regular or occasional basis:
- The moderator sets up the exercise by explaining the objective and giving an example. “I’m looking for distribution channels in South America” or “touring ideas in Italy” or “a science tutor for my son.” Note that even if you can’t personally provide a direct connection, you might know of others who could help.
- Go around the room, and each member states a need (or two) in under a minute. If any other member thinks they can help, they raise their hand.
- It is up to the members with “needs” to follow up with any members who provide “leads.”
Optional addition: After a member shares a need (and sees who can help), the member can also share a lead of any type. Some examples:
- I've just read a book on diversity, inclusion and equality that has been very helpful in sharing our company's approach.
- I just researched electric vehicles prior to my purchase and would be happy to share.
- I recommend this great book I just read, movie I saw, app that I installed in my phone...
Note: Thank you to Joan Mara for her suggested additions to this blog post.