Andrea Putting – Speaker, Author Podcaster

Andrea Putting

Speaker, Author & Trusted Advisor

Growing Community with Chocolate and Coffee Breaks

Chocolate and Coffee Breaks offers an opportunity for people to come together, to explore, to develop friendships and to start to create community. It brings with it a sense of acceptance and connection. (I refer to community as being any place where people come together, be a workplace, organization, club or community group).  

For people to be able to participate fully in a community, they need to find a sense of safety. You need to know and feel that you are emotionally and physically safe before you will start to contribute fully.

We can feel threatened on many levels of being in a community. Physical safety is of course paramount, and this is generally taken care of in the format of OH&S laws and rules. However, our emotional safety isn’t always apparent. Without this emotional safety, we feel a great sense of dis-ease. We keep to ourselves. we don’t share our ideas. we don’t work to capacity. We don’t accept help when we need it – we don’t ask for help when we need it. We work as a silo, rather than a team.

For the community this results in a lack of team work and reaching the full capacity of the community. It creates a lack of innovation, lack of motivation and a lack of loyalty.

Research shows that when people build friendships and connections in the workplace, they are more open to share and participate in growing the business and are loyal to the company. They want to be there. They want to help their friends. They will make sure they do their part. They are more likely to embrace their responsibilities as they don’t want to let the side down.

When we allow time for people to connect, and encourage them to build relationships beyond the one or two people they work directly with, then they open up the greater possibilities of working together as a team. As a result, they start to share ideas, work on these together and build greater capacity for the community. They learn who to connect with for each task. They know that they can rely on each other.

By breaking downs barriers within the community, we break down the barriers to innovation and growth. Now we can listen to the future together to grow into a limitless capacity that benefits all.

Chocolate and Coffee Breaks offers the beginning place of breaking down barriers.

Sitting around the table and sharing food and drink with others is a ritual that transcends all cultures, religions and socioeconomic groups. It is a place we all feel safe and comfortable with. There is something special that happens when we sit with someone with a warm cuppa in our hands. When we add chocolate to this, it becomes magical. Chocolate opens people up, brings a smile to their faces, makes them feel better, safer and willing to share. It allows us to relax into a conversation.

When we translate this into our community, sharing in Chocolate and Coffee Breaks gives people the opportunity to get to know each other. They discover that while this person seemed so different and unrelatable, and maybe weren’t comfortable working with them, they really are the same. We all have our differences; it is what makes life interesting and what makes the community work on a greater level. However, for us to develop interpersonal relationships to make the community work, we need to find the sameness in each other.

Five years ago, I founded Chocolate and Coffee Day for Religious Harmony. This has been shared in many communities, many different locations, reaching thousands of people. The value of the experiences and the richness of the possibilities for people to come together and break down barriers was evident. The urging was coming to develop this experience further. People need to connect on many different levels as there are diversity issues from so many different perspectives in all facets of life. And so, the beginning of Chocolate and Coffee Breaks.

For community to grow, there needs to be connection. Each individual needs to feel that they are valued, that they are recognised, that they are appreciated, that they are accepted for who they are. Each person needs to feel that they are supported, that they can share their ideas openly and without ridicule. They need to feel that they can make a contribution. That what they have to offer is important. When they do, and each person in the community does, you will have the dynamic working team whose capacity is beyond limits.

A Chocolate and Coffee Break session gives people the tools and the experience of connecting with each other. Here they learn who the next person is. They find something that they can connect with to start building their relationship. They develop the emotional safety they need in this community. This is the building blocks for team work and community to begin.

To discover more about how Chocolate and Coffee Breaks can be the start of leading a community that responds from the future, connect with me now.

Share this: