Yurii Lazaruk began his community journey before he knew it was called community, and before he even knew you could be paid for it. With eight years of community experience, his first foray into the international community management space began when the war in Ukraine started. When the war began, Yurii discovered this strength by helping others. He wanted to connect people, wanted to help others, and wanted to further the community industry. He also wanted to rebel against the status quo, exuberating the fun and enjoyment and authentic connection when creating genuine relationships.
Throughout the process, there are three simple rules that helped him grow, make an impact to the industry and to those around him, while having fun and staying positive along the way.
Keep it simple
A great example of keeping it simple is when Yurii was figuring out how to start a community. He brainstormed ideas for the easiest way people would connect - conferences were too much work, people were bored of regular Zoom meetings. He then came up with the concept of Between Two Watercoolers - people would meet for 1:1 chats for five minutes and do it with three people. People really liked it, the entire meeting took 15 minutes or less, and Yurii knew this simple idea had the possibility of a big impact.
Yurii keeps it simple as a host as well. The pressure is off, he’s casual and has fun. He created a space where everyone can be themselves and it’s easy. It’s when things are the simplest that you make the best connections. By keeping things simple, you can be yourself, be more open with community members and others in your network.
Even though the war in Ukraine made things difficult, Yurii kept wanting to help people. His experience was full of making the typical mistakes community builders make, and he learned from them. However, over time he realized he knew more than he did and started answering as many questions as possible in the community spaces to fellow community builders. If he didn’t know the answer, he’d Google it, or would reach out to someone who knows.
Yurii would also proactively reach out to people in the community to introduce himself and offer help if they ever needed it. Out of hundreds of people he reached out to to help, only a few people used it. But the offer still stood, and when people did ask for help, he was able to be there for them. Yurii was being selfless - he wasn’t being paid and asked for nothing in return; he gave unconditionally. And as a byproduct, he built strong relationships with people along the way.
Be curious, consistent, and mindful
The last tip Yurii shared to have fun while disrupting the community world is to be curious, consistent, and mindful. When Yurii began the Community Life podcast, he wanted to hear others share their stories and experiences. His curiosity leads him to find interesting ways to talk to people and learn not only about them professionally, but personally as well. In fact, prior to recording each podcast episode, he does thorough research on the person, outside of LinkedIn and other professional outlets, to get a better understanding of them as a person.
Additionally, consistency plays a huge role in developing long-term success. In the community world, your efforts compound and build on each other. It’s helpful to aim to improve yourself every day.
And lastly, be mindful of the effort that you put in. The community world can be an easy space to get overwhelmed - there are always people who could use help and conversations happening. When Yurii started his journey, he created articles to share with the community space that answered people's questions. Instead of working harder, he developed a system to make it easier. He’d collect resources and articles that answered the questions, he shared a quick answer from his document with helpful links. Balancing your personal bandwidth and being mindful of the energy you’re exerting will prevent burnout and allow you to continue on longer.
Community Management Is an Authentic Journey
Today, Yurii is a well known name and face in the community space. His infamous silhouette for the “Yurii wave” is something many in the industry recognize. By staying positive through difficult times, being authentic with others, keeping it simple, finding opportunities to give back, and always being curious, he continues to make a huge impact. Despite the adversity and hardships he’s faced, he says, “You can choose to cry, or you can choose to laugh. And I choose to laugh.”
November 14, 2023
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