Picking New Forum Members

Picking New Forum Members

Even though some legendary Forums have been together for decades, the reality is that most Forums have a consistent flow of members leaving and joining. That means that at some point, you’ll need to think about finding new Forum members.

“New Member On-Boarding” is a typical role that is given out within a Forum. This person is in charge of managing the process of finding, interviewing, and onboarding potential candidates for the Forum.

Instead of focusing on finding new members, which will be different for different organizations, let’s focus instead on picking the right person to join your Forum.

Finding new members has four main steps:

1) Build a Forum Intro Sheet

Every forum should have an Intro Sheet that outlines more information about the group. A typical Intro Sheet includes the following sections:

  • Overview – Quickly summarize the purpose of the group.
  • Name – What’s your Forum’s name?
  • Theme/Moto – Add the Forum’s theme/motto if you have one.
  • Core Values – Add the Forum’s core values if you have them.
  • Members – List who is in the group with relevant links to websites/social media.
  • Structure – Share a brief overview of when the group meets, how long, expected costs, retreats, etc…
  • Ideal Member – List out some key attributes that your group is looking for in a new member.

2) Interviews
Share the intro sheet with potential new members so they can self-select in/out after reading through it. If they are still on board with joining after they read through the sheet, then the next step is to set up interviews with the current members.

The best interviews are done in smaller groups where it’s 2-3 current members interviewing one potential member. Avoid doing an interview with all the current members at once as it can be intimidating to new people.

During the interview, use the Intro Sheet as a vetting scorecard. Ask questions where the answers directly tie to the attributes you are looking for in a new member.

Once everyone has interviewed someone, check-in with each member to see if they give their blessing to move on to the next step. This isn’t the final vote, so you don’t need to get a unanimous agreement yet, but ideally, over 2/3rds agree to move the candidate forward.

3) Forum Meeting Invite
The third step is to invite the potential member to an upcoming Forum meeting. Some groups only invite the person to join for the first 30 minutes to do a group interview, while other Forums might invite the person to stay the whole meeting. The advantage of staying the whole time is that you get to see how the person acts in a Forum setting. The downside is that you would be letting someone into your confidential circle before becoming a member.

4) Forum Vote
After the potential member attends a Forum meeting, the group should have a vote on whether to officially welcome the person to the Forum or not. The vote should be strictly unanimous, and if anyone doesn’t agree with the new member, they shouldn’t be allowed to join. Having a new member join that isn’t unanimously supported might break that sense of safety that existed before.

Finding new members is time-consuming; however, it’s critical to make sure you bring the right people into the group, so the time is worth it.

  • Be willing to reject someone if you don’t feel 100% about them.
  • Be willing to interview several people and pick your top choice.
  • Be willing to bring in two people at the same time if you have the room.

Follow this process, and you’ll be well on your way to bringing some amazing new members into your Forum.