Friday, October 30, 2009

Conferences: A Helpful Ribbon

Ever go to a conference and not know how to easily identify members from your own state? A colleague has ribbons made with the state name that he sends to state attendees in advance (to insert in conference badges). He can identify them, they can identify each other, and it lets others know where they're from.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Building Leaders: 6 Skills to Develop (or Have)

Can an engineering school also build leaders? A Boston Globe article relays the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has added leadership training to its undergraduate engineering curriculum - to help its students with superior technical skills succeed in the workplace environment.

MIT takes engineering students who may be introverted and/or acutely aware of their analytical/technical excellence - and teaches them leadership and management skills aren't "silly", time-wasting or out of reach.

MIT's engineering leadership program identifies the following skills, among others, to develop:

"* Ability to assess risk and take initiative.
* Willingness to make decisions in the face of uncertainty.
* Urgency and the will to deliver objectives on time in the face of constraints or obstacles.
* Resourcefulness and flexibility.
* Trust and loyalty in a team setting.
* Relating to others."

I believe these are the same skills needed for association leaders (volunteers and staff). MIT got it right. Even for non-engineers.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

How to Not Ruin Black Pants

As someone who doesn't like to travel with more than just a computer bag, it's a sad situation to completely ruin a favorite pair of black pants that didn't wrinkle and fit better than any others.

Real Simple magazine (Nov. '09) has these tips for black pants: (for those who don't want the time and cost of eternally dry cleaning)

1. Don't wash them as much. Wear 4-5 times between washings.
2. Turn pants inside out to minimize color loss.
3. Choose a short, delicate cycle.
4. Use specialized detergent for cold water loads, such as Tide Coldwater. Chlorine in tap water is apparently "color-sucking."
5. Hang or lay the pants flat to dry. Don't throw them in the dryer.
6. Buy pants with fabrics that hold dark dyes well - washable wool blend or nylon.

RIP, favorite black pants.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Tips to Running Better Meetings

Kudos to Judith Lindenau who created this SlideShare presentation with great meeting management tips. All Boards and committee chairmen need to learn (and use) these basics.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

9 Ways to Find Association Member Twitter Users

I've decided this is like the beginning days of email, where associations need to find their member Twitter users and not just expect them to find us.

Nine ways to find your own members using Twitter:

1. Add a line/space for Twitter name on all membership applications and registration forms - online and paper
2. Add a line for Twitter name on all course verification forms
3. Continuously include info in e-newsletter about some of what you're posting on Twitter so it's clear to members there might be something valuable and unique out there (note: if you're just using Twitter to rehash the exact same info in your newsletter and Facebook - they aren't going to be happy to see the exact same content three times. HAVE to have something unique in EACH place if you want members to use ALL of your various media) - and include link to follow you when you do that
4. Add Follow Us on Twitter to Association blog, e-newsletters, Facebook, business cards, email, printed materials - needs to be part of culture
5. Add columns on TweetDeck that would include what your Association members may be tweeting about - for example, I have columns for Maine, Maine home, Maine real estate, Maine Association of REALTORS, Maine Realtors - and immediately Follow and Retweet something they've posted (if it applies)
6. Have special seating for Twitter users at your conferences and meetings (and be sure there's extension cords and wireless) - and then find out who they are
7. Promote a hashtag and/or tweet-up to coincide with an association event and see who shows up
8. If you offer a social media class that includes how to set up Twitter, follow-up with students by email to see if they did it - and what they're using on Twitter (note: if you're not offering classes - start offering classes)
9. Pay attention to your members who are friends and fans on Facebook - if it's clear from their posts they're also writing for a Twitter handle, connect with them that way too. Such as tweeting "Glad to find these members on Twitter: (@ names)"

Follow me on Twitter.
Follow my Association on Twitter.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

What Associations Can Learn from Blog Action Day

Each year many thousands of bloggers around the world focus on a single topic for one day. This year the Blog Action Day focus is climate change.

You can play a role in climate change professionally and personally:

How we use energy plays a significant role in what happens with the climate in the future. A bad economy made many people, businesses and families take a strong look at how we use energy. There are money-saving and energy-saving steps such as reducing number of live meetings, encouraging car-pooling, turning down the thermostat in your building, setting timers on your office and home thermostats (to ensure they go down), and really researching what else may lower energy use and related costs. As associations, we can also engage in the public policy debates and decisions that will impact climate change - even if it means additional burden or cost to implement. We're also able to continuously educate about tax incentives, energy programs, and details related to our specific industries.

The success of the concept of Blog Action Day can also be applied within Associations:

1. Polling bloggers and members to see what topic they'd like for focus;
2. Creating your own Blog Action Day on that topic;
3. Ask related industries, media bloggers, others to participate too - and promote their involvement;
4. Designing a badge for use on blogs and web sites that promote the topic;
5. Bringing together those who blog and twitter to work together on that topic by having the one day blog and twitter focus;
6. Adding a call to action and fundraising component, if it applies - if it's a topic worth writing about, readers may want to actually do something - including contribute - show them how;
7. Keep the communication lines open with those who participate.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Helpful Tip: How to Not Cry

Got this tip on Twitter (@christytj), but had to be sure it worked before posting. It works:

Who knew: If you're tearing up at a bad moment, just clear your throat. Then lift your tongue to the roof of your mouth - makes you unable to cry.