Sunday, March 28, 2010

6 Signs Your Personal Twitter Account is also your Professional Account

Sure, you might add the words “this is only my personal account” to your Twitter account profile. But you really can’t say it’s not your professional account too, if it actually is. The truth might be that it is your professional account, but you're including a lot of personal comments and pictures about things that have absolutely nothing to do with your association. It's okay for an account to be both, but don't say it's only personal if it isn't ...

Here are 6 signs your personal account is really your professional account too:

1. You don’t even have a professional account. Seriously, if you don’t even have an account with your identity to use for business purposes, chances are good your personal account is your business account.

2. Your association members are following you on that “personal” account, and you’re using your personal account to follow association members too. If you’re not taking any steps to completely separate your professional contacts from your personal account, it’s not just your personal account.

3. You login to that account during business hours, at your place of business, from your office computer. Chances are good your employer doesn’t allow you to have extended personal phone calls or multi-hour visits from friends during the workday, so don’t confuse social media as enabling you to be “social” with those exact same personal contacts during the day if that isn’t clearly translating to your profession. Unless you genuinely believe it’s okay to spend hours a day interacting with personal contacts, then why would you even login to sites filled with your personal friends during the workday? If the answer is because that’s where your professional contacts are too, then it’s your business account.

4. You conduct association business using your personal account. Are you being asked to speak at meetings, answer association-related questions, and comment on or respond to work-related issues using your personal account? If yes, it’s your professional account. If these same people would not call you on your home phone number on weekends, or show up in your living room with those same requests, then don’t think they’re “personal” connections when they’re actually “professional” connections.

5. Your association attorney has already told you that what you do on that personal site can create liability for the association. If you're already aware and on notice that you absolutely cannot shield your association from liability for your statements just by using the words “this is my own personal account” then chances are good that it’s a business related account too.

6. You use your personal account to identify yourself when you are at meetings funded by association dollars. What Twitter name are you putting on your conference badge, in your presentations, on your handouts, on your business cards – if it’s your personal account, and not a separate business identity/account – then why do you think you can call that account personal?

I am absolutely not pretending that any of my "personal" accounts aren’t loaded with members and member interaction. Absolutely everyone in my life – professional and personal – are combined in both my Facebook and Twitter accounts. And yes, I have a separate page on Facebook for my Association and there is a branded Twitter account for my Association that I use. But my "personal" accounts are routinely used for association business too - by both me AND my association members/other professional contacts.

If you say you do have them completely separated, and your account is “strictly personal”, where’s the evidence that’s true? See the six bullets above.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

13 Tips for a Board of Directors Meeting via Webinar

Today was my first Board of Directors meeting via webinar, with 53 present. Specifically used GoToWebinar with the conference call dial-in option. There is option for headset or speaker access but that seemed way too advanced.

13 tips:

1. Do a practice webinar meeting in advance with your President. You need to know what you're doing, but so does the person presiding at that online meeting. Also good to practice with another staff participating too so that person can keep track of details, along with knowing how to find answers during the meeting, if necessary.

2. Keep the setting that reminds attendees by email the meeting will start in an hour.

3. As mentioned before, be sure to give many instructions in advance, including how to get help if they can't login. My advance email to participants, and the meeting materials, explained how it would work (e.g., "for each action, there will a motion by the President Elect, then a second by the First Vice President, then you need to push the button to raise a hand if you'd like to comment or make an amendment and wait until you're called, then you'll vote online by a poll feature".) And: if they have trouble, explain where to call or email - and be sure to have staff available to help. Be sure to let them know (in advance materials and on the screen they see why they wait) that they do not need to announce they have arrived because the system records their names.

4. Remind attendees to not put smart phones near their computers and phone lines, and to turn off television and radios. Can cause static and sounds. In addition to reminding them not to put the call on hold or to talk to others during the call. One time on a conference call (for another organization) there was a dog barking with 100 on the line. Mine. So maybe mention the dog too? There are mute features to turn off the sound for anyone but the presenter, that may be worth using before opening lines during discussion period.

5. Set your poll (vote) questions up in advance, but be prepared for new ones (such as amendments). Be sure to learn the "share" feature so everyone can see the results.

6. Tell your non-voting members what to do during the vote ("poll"). I didn't so a few started to click "abstain" (one of my poll choices). Next time will say, if you don't have a vote, don't vote on action items.

7. Announce how long they will have to vote in the poll. I said 45 seconds. 30 seconds would have been plenty.

8. See what you can't see. Next time I'm setting up a second screen to run a user session simultaneously to my own presenter session. I could not tell what the attendees were seeing on their screens because I had way more on my screen than just the presentation itself.

9. Turn off IM, Tweetdeck, anything else that's open on your computer. If you multi-task (like me) up to the minute you start the meeting you might forget something is still open. And you never know whose IM might appear.

10. Ask if the webinar meeting was a good idea or not. At the end of the meeting, the President had me send a poll question asking attendees if it was a good option, or not. It's good to ask and get the immediate feedback, before they leave the webinar. (By the way, overwhelmingly positive response.)

11. Check out the attendee report after the webinar. Will show you how long each attendee was on the webinar and how each individual voted on each poll question. Very handy backup.

12. Learn, then take the next steps. My president and I have already decided we want to learn the more advanced features - such as turning the presenter control from one person to another; and using web cameras for the key presenters.

13. Do you need the beep, beep, beep. With 53 joining the call it's actually really, really noisy as they come and go. If it's an option, consider removing the beep alerts. I had asked attendees in the instructions to hang up versus putting the call on hold. The bad news: beep when they leave, beep when they return.

GoToWebinar has many resources, and a very speedy Twitter person who instantly offered assistance when I mentioned trying it online.

Any tip I may have missed?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Easy Snacking for Meetings

Saw a good way to handle large or small group snacks today: bucket or basket with random packaged snacks. Affordable, easy to store, can give many options for preferences.