We are all looking to connect with our community and customer base in a meaningful and ultimately profitable way. This means giving them what they are looking for, in the hope that they will return when they are ready to buy what we are selling. But how do you do that? How do you really understand your community in a way that is mutually beneficial? In episode 7 of Be The Drop Podcast, I sat down with Olympic Beach Volleyball Gold Medallist Kerri Pottharst and she talked me through her top tips for building community connection.


1- Listen.

This is at the forefront of everything Kerri does, and with good reason! Understanding who you’re marketing too cannot be done without listening to them. Using a tool like a ‘buyer persona’ profile helps us to look at the different types of customers we have. In most instances, there are different demographics within one service offering. For Kerri, she delivers motivational talks to corporate groups but also addresses small groups of school-aged children with a similar message. This means she has to understand these separate groups well enough to tailor a presentation accordingly. Imagine going into a board room and talking to them like they were pre-schoolers – it just wouldn’t work. For Kerri, listening to the needs of her different audiences, ensures that she is has the biggest impact possible. 

2- Give.

Kerri refers to herself as “a collector and sharer of information” and I just love that concept. By keeping herself constantly open to and also actively seeking out new ideas, Kerri actively soaks up further knowledge that she can than share with her various communities. Not everything we say or do will be heard by everyone in our community, but it will be heard by the person who needs to hear it. So keep giving information, as sharing is such an important aspect of building trust and mutually beneficial relationships. 

3- Overcome your fear.

For Kerri, at the beginning of her journey, the idea of public speaking was hugely intimidating. Without battling her own insecurities and nervousness, she couldn’t connect with her community as she needed to stand in front of people in order to spread her message. Over time, she become more confident in her presentations and not only that, she also came to love public speaking. Today, Kerri’s vibrant and passionate presentation skills are so good, that she has turned them into an on-going income stream. The same lesson applies in business, being overly cautious with your marketing or your messaging, or holding back for fear of failure, will only ever result in holding you back. Taking a leap of faith, moving outside your comfort zone, can lead to successes you didn’t even know were possible.

4- Be Personal.

We’ve all read or watched something online where the person is being open, real and honest and you can’t look away, right? You’re enamoured by this person, you want to know more, you want to soak them in. This is because that person is being real, leaving no doubt in your mind that exactly what they are saying and doing is exactly what they mean. This is such a powerful thing to be able to do, but also completely necessary if you want to connect in a meaningful and profitable way. When Kerri speaks, she uses her story of Olympic glory mixed in with her trials and tribulations as an athlete to connect, to be real and raw and to show everyone that despite her accolades she too is very human. This is relatable, this is trustworthy, this is what will connect you with your community faster than anything else.

To hear the full version of Kerr’s community building insights, listen below.

About Kerri.

Kerri Pottharst is one of Australia’s most well-known and well-loved athletes – a triple Olympian with two Olympic medals, Kerri spent 22 years competing in a sport she loves. She is one of Australia’s most decorated indoor and beach volleyball players and is the only Australian woman to have competed in the prestigious A1 Italian Indoor Volleyball League. After overcoming countless challenges and potentially devastating injuries that threatened to end her sporting career, Kerri’s drive to succeed saw her take to the court to win Bronze at the Atlanta Olympics. But it was her unparalleled strength, focus, and determination that allowed her to transform her Bronze into Gold on Bondi Beach at the Sydney 2000 Olympics, in an overwhelming demonstration of the power of courage, persistence and personal belief.  Working now with a range of businesses, imparting knowledge to executives, managers and staff about the disciplines she learned from elite sport, and how they can be applied to business.


In next week’s episode of Be The Drop podcast, I interview Ian Steele, all round great guy and founder of KickStart for Kids – a wonderful initiative feeding less-than-fortunate kids breakfast every morning.

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Enjoy! Amelia xx

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