A few years ago, I was privileged to speak at TEDx Fort Wayne. My talk was about building community by engaging friends. It was about the brainstorming group I belong to – Friend Up. However, it was also about adding action to your words.

I shared how Friend Up began and how to create a Friend Up group. It’s simple, you pick a time and place, invite friends, ask them for one or two areas where they could use help, choose a facilitator, brainstorm, take notes, and then post calls to action and advice in a private group.

The facilitator leads the discussion by asking:

  • How can we help?
  • Open-ended follow-up questions – what, how, and why.
  • Seeking the groups for input
  • Choose actions to take

I asked friends to define Friend Up and shared their definitions. For example:

“The people that I have met in the Friend Up group have helped to promote my various volunteer/work projects – Not only have these incredible individuals “tweeted” and “liked” but they have rolled up their sleeves and pitched in, as well. It is through their direct efforts that these initiatives have been successful.” — Bethann Buddenbaum

“The best friend ups have a core group of people that listen to each other and are willing to offer help, suggestions and ideas to one another. Meeting on a monthly basis is supplemented by conversations via social media, and even in person or phone. One of the true keys is Giving: a spirit of helping each other as opposed to Taking: what’s in it for me.” — Scott Howard

“A Friend up means more than social media, business development or networking. I think the fact that it has “Friend” in the name is important despite that it’s easy to overlook or take for granted as a generic term. The people at a friend up are friends first, then everything that comes from that is more meaningful and valuable than what I’ve experienced at many other similar types of events that don’t place quality, friendly relationships at the forefront of their purposes.” — Rocky Walls

And, I added action to my words

Near the end of my time, I asked the audience if they’d considered Fort Wayne TEDx a networking opportunity. Most did. Then I asked them to stand up, turn to someone, introduce themselves and ask, “How can I help you.” Next, I asked them to inquire, “What person, company, or industry would you like to be introduced to?” In the end, I had to interrupt them so I could finish my talk on time. I don’t know what connections were made and actions taken, but it was a good start. If you’d like to see it here’s the last two minutes of my talk. TEDx Fort Wayne Randy Clark Conclusion.

Here’s My Point

We talk a lot. We lecture in meetings and hold forth during presentations but what’s getting done? Too often it doesn’t get past talk. How often have we sat in meetings, and talked about what should be done with little or no action taken? So, if you want to make your life better, improve your workplace, or change the direction of your town, school, church, or club, you can’t do it if you only talk about. Commit to adding action to your words and you’ll make a difference in the world.