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Dana's Meeting Minutes: Three Tips and One Awesome Idea for Innovative Planners

Posted By Dana Saal, CMP, CAE, Saal Meeting Consulting, Friday, December 15, 2017
Updated: Monday, December 4, 2017

Useful event evaluation questions

Dana’s Meeting Minutes is based on the Meeting Planning Triangle©. Click here for a link.

Why do you collect event evaluations? Hopefully it’s because you have a solid plan for the use of the information.

THREE TIPS

Tip #1

Questions should advance the mission of the event or association

·         Before writing questions, clearly identify what you want to learn.

·         Ask how new-gained knowledge will be used for personal, company, association, and/or industry improvement.

·         Include the question, “Would you recommend this to a friend or colleague?” This identifies your net promoter score*, a figure for measuring success.

Tip #2

Design questions so answers are easy to analyze

·         Know how you will use the data. Let that determine the format of your questions.

·         If you ask for a written response, consider the value of customized responses and whether you will be able to record and analyze them.

·         If not, determine how you can obtain equally valuable information in another format, such as multiple choice, with an option to write in a one-line answer.

·         For ease of sorting from an electronic form, create a separate field for each piece of information, e.g. city, state, ZIP. You may not plan to sort by ZIP, but when you need to, you’ll be glad you don’t have to separate it from the city and state.

Tip #3

Don’t ask the question if you won’t use the answers

·         Don’t ask about the venue, the food, the schedule, or even then speakers if you won’t use the information for future planning.

·         Instead, rely on first-person appraisals from leadership, your staff, and your own observations.

·         If you’re required to distribute evaluations to fulfill CE requirements, use the opportunity to gather more than the basics.

ONE AWESOME IDEA

Use Big (or Small) Data

You’ll hear the term Big Data buzzing around. It describes very large sets of data that are analyzed to reveal patterns, trends, connections, etc. in human behavior.

Small Data (my term) can be also be used to determine human behavior. Maintaining an event history is one of the easiest ways to do this. Track numbers for every aspect of your event, from abstract submissions to session attendance; from orange juice consumption to meal no-shows.

Refer to your history when your boss worries about low registrations (we’re 3% higher than last year); you want to prove that scheduling sessions at 4:00p on the last day is a bad idea (only 14% of all registrants were in sessions at that time last year); or whether Early Bird rates incentive registrations (40% of total registrations were received in the hours before rates increased last year).

WANT MORE?

*Net Promoter Score: The Net Promoter Score: How to Use It For eLearning Evaluation and Improvement by Adam Gavarkovs for eLearning Industry.

Evaluation Form Writing: The Trouble With Evals by Michelle Russell for PCMA Convene

Big Data: How Big Data Makes Meetings Smarter by Michelle Davis for PCMA Convene

How Can Data Analytics Transform Meetings? by Ken Budd for PCMA Convene

How the Exhibitions Industry Is Using Big Data by Regina McGee for PCMA Convene

DMM|1723|12-15-17

ABOUT DANA

Dana L. Saal, CMP, CAE, has been planning meetings for associations for more than 30 years. She recently decided that coaching meeting planners is now more fun than proofing BEOs, counting coffee cups and writing scripts. If you think a bit of coaching could improve your meeting, send a message via her website!

 

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Association 4.0: 2018’s Transformation Imperative

Posted By Sherry Budziak, CEO and Founder of .orgSource, Friday, December 8, 2017
Updated: Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Anticipating and adapting to change has always been a characteristic of successful association leaders. However, existing business models no longer seem sufficient. We are in a period of major disruption that requires more robust responses to change.

Over the past year, there have been several significant signals indicating that association leaders need to think about disruptors in a new era of interconnectivity. These signals in 2017 have included:

A rise in digital workforces, with more fragmentation and specialization in job functions. This is occurring with more regularity to attract and retain workers and reduce costs. Transitioning to digital operating models is leading to more platform-oriented solutions that increase collaboration and efficiencies. Those with digital offices embrace processes that connect data and people who transform that data into useful information to enable decisions. Upfront, this means more investment in technology and time to determine the right operational adjustments.

Acceleration and expansion of the Internet of Everything (IoE). According to HIS Technology’s “Enabling the Internet of Things” study, 30.7 billion devices are expected to be connected by 2020 (e.g., wearable technology, thermostats, smart speakers, collaborative cloud-based solutions, alternative banking through Bitcoin, 3D printing, virtual reality). The World Economic Forum’s report, “Deep Shift,” puts a timeline on when key technologies will be mainstream: robots and automation (tipping point 2021); Internet of Things, wearable Internet, 3D printing and manufacturing (tipping point 2022); supercomputers in our pockets (tipping point 2023); driverless cars (tipping point 2026).

Machine capabilities are accelerating because of enhanced processing power, artificial intelligence, robotics and automation. This requires determining which aspects of IoE are relevant to associations’ customers and then prioritizing investments to make in people, technology, operations and processes to address these changes.

Different generations of customers that have increasingly different concepts of interactivity, value and relevance. There's a rising tide of younger association members who embrace rapidly evolving media technologies. They question the reason for the classic association model because they believe they can create their own peer groups through social media. They don't see value in committing time and money to things like traditional annual meetings. Yet many members of older generations still see the value in more traditional offerings, such as tradeshows, banquets and conventions for networking, sourcing solutions and receiving peer recognition. This means robustly serving varying expectations across all customer generations. 

These trends are challenging traditional and strongly held beliefs about core value propositions and operations in associations. Instead of being fearful of the “next big things,” associations should get excited about the trends that should improve our ability to add value. Associations that evolve with the times will become what we call “Association 4.0” organizations.

“Association 4.0” organizations share common characteristics. Chief among them are:

  • Continually facilitate a deep knowledge of the industry or profession it serves, constantly probing, “What’s impacting members today,” and, as such, adjust scope of service (audiences, models, products, approaches).

  • Engage new and different audiences by broadening value proposition or further targeting market segments.

  • Cultivate staff talent with for-profit marketing and product development business acumen.

  • Adopt governance systems in which volunteer leaders can rapidly make decisions that focus resources on the biggest opportunities and threats to members, keep customer interests—not individual interests—in mind, and have a clear understanding the delineation in board and management roles about strategy and operations.

  • Create and curate compelling professional development to enhance skills and expertise, and deliver it in a way members want in order to remain a primary educator of the industry’s workforce.

  • Enhance trust in the association by investing in the latest solutions for privacy and security of data.

  • Implement a digital culture that embraces transparency, open communication and accountability with a greater reliance on cloud-based management tools for enhanced collaboration.

  • Produce relevant, useful information in the frequency and vehicles members want.

  • Facilitate connections, identity and a sense of belonging on a daily basis.

These are times of change and uncertainty. But the enduring value and significance of associations will remain constant if associations evolve with the times. Associations should use these advancements as opportunities to magnify their importance to customers in helping them respond to disruption, manage change, and secure their futures.


Let us help you address the cultural and strategic transformation needed to enter into the world of Association 4.0. Call on us for an initial free consultation.

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Dana's Meeting Minutes: Three Tips and One Awesome Idea for Innovative Planners

Posted By Dana Saal, CMP, CAE, Saal Meeting Consulting, Friday, December 1, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Why? Why? Why? Digging to get the right answer

Dana’s Meeting Minutes is based on the Meeting Planning Triangle©. Click here for a link.

We ask a question:      Why didn’t you attend the event?

They answer:       We can’t attend events on week nights.

We respond:        Schedule the next event for a weekend.

The real reason:  The programming doesn’t fit their needs.

In questioning, the goal is to find root causes to act on. That is rarely revealed with one response. It takes two, or three, or more questions to dig deep enough to uncover the true reason for a person’s choice and/or behavior.

THREE TIPS

Tip #1

Define your objective

·         Clearly identify exactly what you want to know.

·         For example, you don’t want to know why registration is dropping, you want to know why your target audience does not value your event enough to invest resources (time and money) to participate.

Tip #2

Know when to change your question-asking strategy

·         When answers are not diverse and you know they should be.

·         When the same people respond to surveys.

·         When answers support the status quo, but the status quo is being criticized, isn’t being supported, or no longer results in valuable R.O.I.

Tip #3

Ask questions that reveal the real answers

·         Ask like a child. Why? But, why? But, why?

·         Ask questions about the answers you get. For example:

o   Why didn’t you attend the meeting? It’s on a week night.

o   Would you attend if we scheduled it for a weekend? No.

o   Why not? Because I don’t want to spend my precious weekend time attending an event that gives me nothing. I get more from these great webinars I found online.

·         Listen for the real reason so you can respond to the real problem. In this real example, the association is not fulfilling the person’s needs. The problem is content, not timing.

ONE AWESOME IDEA

Aim for quality, not quantity

When asking probing questions, you’ll be most productive by asking individuals and small groups of people, rather than rely on a widely-distributed survey.

Question people who are not doing what you want them to be doing. For example, don’t ask event attendees how to improve attendance, seek out those who don’t show up.

As you question the right people, think of yourself an investigative reporter seeking the truth. That means you need to be curious and persistent; not settling for first responses or rote answers.

WANT MORE?

The questions listed in The 6 Post-Event Survey Questions That Will Reveal Your Meeting’s Effectiveness by Ira Kerns for MeetingsNet are great to use for deep digging.

Check out How to Be Amazingly Good at Asking Questions by Mike Martel for Lifehack.

DMM|1722|12-01-17

ABOUT DANA

Dana L. Saal, CMP, CAE, has been planning meetings for associations for more than 30 years. She recently decided that coaching meeting planners is now more fun than proofing BEOs, counting coffee cups and writing scripts. If you think a bit of coaching could improve your meeting, send a message via her website.

 

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Dana's Meeting Minutes: Three Tips and One Awesome Idea for Innovative Planners

Posted By Dana Saal, CMP, CAE, Saal Meeting Consulting, Friday, November 17, 2017
Updated: Wednesday, November 15, 2017

I can’t eat that. Should I have told you in advance?

Dana’s Meeting Minutes is based on the Meeting Planning Triangle©. Click here for a link.

Meeting professionals face the challenge of balancing their sanity with accommodating special food requests. However, it is our responsibility to meet participant needs and our goal is to create a memorable experience, which includes the food you serve.

THREE TIPS

Tip #1

Put yourself in control of special requests

·         Require each participant to identify any dietary restrictions. Include “No special requirements.”

·         Ask your caterer if they can create one meal that fulfills several requests. Could a vegan meal also fulfill the requirements for vegetarians, dairy intolerance, no red meat, and seafood allergies?

·         Some hotels are establishing gluten-free menus across the board. Ask about it and get references about the quality and creativity of the menus.

Tip #2

Labels are your friend

·         To facilitate serving, at registration distribute colored index cards labeled with special menu requests, e.g. GLUTEN-FREE, or VEGAN. Direct participants to place the cards on the table in front of them.

·         Require the catering department to label buffet items with identifiable allergens. For example, a label would say, Vegetarian—includes gluten, dairy, and tree nuts.

Tip #3

Beware of additional fees for special menus

·         Some hotels are charging add-on fees to accommodate special menu requests. Review each contract. Negotiate and/or plan accordingly.

·         If your participants have multiple lifestyle requests (e.g. Paleo), consider charging an add-on fee to cover costs if needed, but also to get a solid commitment from the participant.

·         This does not include restrictions for allergies, which you must accommodate.

ONE AWESOME IDEA

Buffets to the rescue

Until recently, I was a staunch opponent of buffets. I don’t care for the time it can take to serve and reseat people, the feeling that I’m scavenging for food, and the extra cost (yes, the per person price is frequently more than plated price). However, I can see the benefit for accommodating a variety of special food requests.

To make it work, choose a menu each guest can customize like a fajita bar with lots of add-ons or DIY cobb salad. Examine options from the perspective of each common special diet to ensure that every participant will get a full meal, which should include starter (if served), entrée, and dessert choices for each.

Most participants will not have special requests, so don’t inadvertently limit their choices.

WANT MORE?

Most of what I have learned comes from Tracy Suckrath of Thrive! Meetings & Events, a meeting professional with food allergies, has become an expert trainer and consultant on addressing the needs of people with dietary restrictions. Check out her website, read Four Ways to be SMART When Managing Food Allergies, and see her Buffet Labels, Table Tents and Meal/Chef cards.

How to Plan for Attendees with Special Diets by Kelli White for EventManagerBlog.com asks and answers basic questions.

Learn about dietary choices vs needs

The Real Difference Between Dietary Choices and Dietary Needs by Tracy Suckrath.

Dietary Restrictions, Food Allergies, and Religious Restrictions from the Office of Special Events at Webster University.

DMM|1721|11-10-17

ABOUT DANA

Dana L. Saal, CMP, CAE, has been planning meetings for associations for more than 30 years. She recently decided that coaching meeting planners is now more fun than proofing BEOs, counting coffee cups and writing scripts. If you think a bit of coaching could improve your meeting, send a message via her website!

 

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5 Ways CEOs Need to Support, Think Like CIOs

Posted By Sherry Budziak, CEO and Founder of .orgSource, Friday, November 3, 2017
Updated: Wednesday, November 1, 2017

As mobile and on-demand trends transform work environments and customer experiences, CEOs must borrow the CIOs' mindset to keep up and stay ahead. 

They must identify, invest and implement smart ways to use technology to their advantage. And they must think about infusing technology and digital strategy throughout the organizational structure. CEOs who think of technology as a tool—but not as a strategic imperative—will be left behind.

But how can CEOs accomplish this?

.orgSource interviewed current CEO and former CTO Bill Bruce, MBA, CAE, for his perspectives. Bruce is the executive director at the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, and previously was the inaugural CTO at the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. During his five years at AAOS, Bruce established a multi-year, organization-wide technology strategy to keep the organization on the forefront of beneficial technology. That effort ultimately allowed AAOS to take control of its myriad integration needs directly rather than depending on multi-vendor collaboration.

Here are Bruce’s comments about five truths for enabling a CIO mindset:

1. The CEO and CIO should strive for a codependent relationship.

The CEO needs to be thinking about business strategy vis-à-vis broader organizational goals and the ability of the organization to execute strategy. In that effort, the CIO needs to be a powerful ally to the CEO. The CIO should have access to strategic discussions at the board level and partner with the CEO to represent the current and future capabilities that drive the digital aspects of strategy.

CEOs need to recruit digital executives with whom they can develop robust rapport and trust, and they need to be willing to listen to the counsel they get from the CIO. Most associations struggle with the perspective of digital business as an investment, rather than a cost center. The CEO – CIO relationship should help with that shift.

2. While the CEO needs to think more like a CIO, the reverse also is true.

The CIO should work to think like a CEO. CIOs tend to be too optimistic about the potential for digital transformation and are often hindered by culture and change management. CEOs are at the root of where organizational attitudes about culture form, and CEOs tend to be less optimistic about technology.

3. CEOs must embrace technology as a strategic asset.

CEOs should think like a CIO with respect to the investment in digital and should seek to maximize the impact that investment will have on executing strategy. CEOs need to be open to and enthusiastic for the potential—and limits—of technology as a strategic asset. CEOs should take a long view of technology as they would organizational structure, financial strategy, and program development. Understanding that technology is a critical component of nearly all organizational initiatives will give it an appropriate but not overly emphasized position in the CEO’s tool chest.

4. CEOs should address “legacy debt,” or systems that are inadequate to meet customers’ current and future needs.

ACOEM’s situation at present dictates a need for a fairly large investment to address legacy debt. Many of our current systems are not adequate to meet today’s needs, let alone those of tomorrow. We are aggressively developing a digital transformation strategy that will encompass the majority of the organization’s programs. At the core, we will be putting in a new CRM system that can be a true enabler of success. 

Along with that, we are rethinking our entire digital brand and constituent experience so we can replace what we have today with a consistent, modern experience that prioritizes long term value delivery over short-term costs. Specifically, we are aiming at reducing the friction that our constituents experience in their interactions with us. We hope that this will allow the value of our content and services to stand out more prominently.

5. Digital office environments enable collaboration, mobility and simplicity—something every CEO should consider.

Internally at ACOEM, we are completely redefining our views of the workplace. Rather than focusing on the current year’s budget alone, we are looking at a digital office environment that enables collaboration, mobility, and simplicity. This will reduce our needs for day-to-day support and infrastructure. 

In fact, we are completely eliminating all of our premise-based systems. This will enable a ‘work anywhere’ culture that combines with our new systems to lower our dependence on IT support, empowering program staff to be more productive. By reducing the amount of staff time allocated to legacy technology support and the related silos that exist, ACOEM will spend a higher percentage of every dues dollar on the direct creation of constituent value. We will, by that measure, be more efficient as an organization.


.orgSource advises executives on developing strategies that optimize technology for organizational growth, efficiencies and delivering ideal user experiences. Call on us to transform your digital operations.

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Dana's Meeting Minutes: Three Tips and One Awesome Idea for Innovative Planners

Posted By Dana Saal, CMP, CAE, Saal Meeting Consulting, Friday, October 27, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Tell them where to go: signage at its best

Dana’s Meeting Minutes is based on the Meeting Planning Triangle©. Click here for a link.

Signage can affect participants’ experiences. Done well, it guides them throughout the event. Done poorly, it frustrates them. Do it well by planning and designing for three key functions:

1.      Direct participants from where they are to where they want to be. (directional signage)

2.      Recognize key supporters. (sponsor signage)

3.      Identify meeting room schedules. (meeting room signage)

THREE TIPS

Tip #1

Be recognizable and clear

·         Include your logo for attendee recognition, but don’t use it as your primary focus. The message is your primary focus and should be the most prominent.

·         Be as big as possible. It’s difficult to design a sign with lettering that is too big. It’s very easy to design a sign with lettering that is too small. Create mock signs and put them to the test before you leave the office—especially if the designer still has good eyes; a lot of us don’t.

Tip #2

Pretend you’re a participant

·         Walk the venue from the main entrance to every point a participant will go. On a venue map, sketch what signage is needed where.

·         Leverage venue-supplied signage if it is clearly visible, accurate, and fulfills your objectives.

·         You know the venue, but participants do not, so they need more directions than you might realize. Ideally, your walk-through will include someone who does not know the facility.

Tip #3

Keep it simple

·         Overloading a sign with messages or graphics is wasteful—none of it will be read.

·         Identify your key message for each sign and convey it in the fewest words possible.

·         Session signage should list events for a full day, not just for that hour. Abbreviate session titles if needed. List speaker names only if your audience bases attendance decisions on speakers, as well as titles.

ONE AWESOME IDEA

Think outside of the wall

Signage installed in unique locations will get people’s attention. It is especially helpful if you are moving a lot of people or through space with many twists and turns. Plus, it’s fun!

1.      On the floor.

2.      From the ceiling.

3.      In the bathrooms. (agenda-at-a-glance; announcements)

4.      On columns, elevators, glass doors, stair risers, etc.

5.      Over escalators (prime space; frequently overlooked).

6.      Freestanding.

7.      On people—in the form of wayfinding ambassadors who are identifiable by their attire and/or hand-held signs saying, “Can I help you?”

WANT MORE?

Exhibitor Magazine offers a detailed description of the 5 Steps to Successful Signage that includes messaging hierarchy, color theory, fonts, and density.

Read 11 Creative Ideas for Event Wayfinding by Shawna McKinley for Eventbrite. She describes how to use technology, music, furniture, and art as directional tools. Read the section near the end, Tips for Good Directions.

Check out How to Create Useful Event Signage for Your Next Conference or Trade Show by Ginger Peak for Aloha Print Group. Look at the section, Forget What You Know.

Excel Decorators photo gallery features a variety of signage.

DMM|1720|10-27-17

ABOUT DANA

Dana L. Saal, CMP, CAE, has been planning meetings for associations for more than 30 years. She recently decided that coaching meeting planners is now more fun than proofing BEOs, counting coffee cups and writing scripts. If you think a bit of coaching could improve your meeting, send a message via her website.

 

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Digital Transformation Requires a Culture Reboot

Posted By Sherry Budziak, Co-Founder, .orgCommunity, Friday, October 20, 2017
Updated: Monday, September 11, 2017

You recruit the top talent. You invest in the latest technologies. You update procedures. Yet, you struggle to maintain your current market position.

That may be a sign your culture needs modifying.

Organizational culture reflects an entity’s deepest and most tightly held beliefs and values. Often, they have been shaped over years, even decades. And this deeply entrenched culture may have played a considerable role in the organization’s ability to succeed.

But as times change, business models and cultures must evolve.

Effecting Cultural Change

At .orgSource, we believe that to realize your business goals, boost brand recognition and increase value to customers, you must ensure all your assets—people, processes and systems— are in synch. If one is out of alignment, it is extremely challenging to deliver consistent value to customers. The key to this alignment is establishing an efficient and effective organizational culture.

Our focus is on improving organizational performance through digital culture—a way of thinking that weaves technology into the basic fabric of how you do business. Technology is no longer seen as an isolated transactional tool. By aligning the right technology with the mission and vision of an organization, powerful and impactful change occurs.

We believe leadership is what enables cultural change. It is the job of leaders to stimulate and tap into staff’s desire for change, to promote continuous improvement and evolution in the way they work, and make this transformation a reality.

We believe leadership is what enables cultural change. 

Creating a Path Forward

.orgSource guides and supports organizations on how to most effectively institute culture change. We do this through our Technology Advancement Process. It is a customizable, multi-phased initiative that provides each organization the ability to determine the pace and degree of support they receive from .orgSource. Components include:

  • The Technology Assessment Tool©, which measures an organization’s readiness for change across seven domains: strategy; decision making; innovation; people/skills/culture; processes/operations; technology/systems; and metrics/analytics. The resulting action plan sets the stage for successful digital transformation.

  • Senior management team strategy sessions to determine a vision for technological change, and necessary requirements for success.

  • Group workshops, consensus building and change management processes to further refine the digital strategy and priorities.

  • A multi-year roadmap to guide technology investment and digital transformation.

Depending on the organization’s needs, other inputs to this plan will include an assessment of current capabilities, voice of the customer information, and input from governance.Our sister company, .orgCommunity, has developed the Solutions Day conference that will address creating an innovative culture. On Sept. 14 in Downers Grove, keynote speaker Jamie Notter will speak on “Turning Workplace Culture into a Tangible Business Tool.” Notter, a founding partner at WorkXO, will explain how to intentionally shape your culture to drive business results. He will share research, some case studies (including some associations), and practical tips you can use to start leveraging culture for real results.

Increase the likelihood of a successful cultural change and enable organizational transformation. Sign up for Solutions Day or contact us to learn more about assessing your readiness for digital transformation. 

Sherry Budziak is CEO of .orgSource and co-founder of .orgCommunity. She may be reached at sherry@orgsource.com.


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Dana's Meeting Minutes: Three Tips and One Awesome Idea for Innovative Planners

Posted By Dana Saal, CMP, CAE, Saal Meeting Consulting, Friday, October 13, 2017

Kiss and hug events and making arrival happy

Dana’s Meeting Minutes is based on the Meeting Planning Triangle©. Click here for a link.

Make arrival fun! Let attendees know you’re glad they are there and are about to have a great experience.

THREE TIPS

Tip #1

Make checking in simple

·         Every registrar must be happy, well-informed, kind, and patient. Volunteer help may sound like a good value until your line is backed up because the volunteer doesn’t know what the Marketing Committee is, let alone its meeting location.

·         Organize your registrant packets in alpha order by last name. Not by registrant type. Not by company. Alpha by last name is the fastest and easiest to explain to registrants.

·         Review the contents of the registrant envelope to confirm ticket purchases, etc. Distribute the program book separately so they don’t have to dig for it.

Tip #2

Warm them up

·         Instead of kicking off with a fixed program, start with a kiss and hug event—the one where everyone warmly greets their once-a-year friends. Follow it immediately with your keynote or opening event.

·         This starts the connecting immediately. Include a mixer and you’ll also foster new connections.

·         This soft start allows for everyone to arrive at their convenience so you can start the first event on time.

Tip #3

Signage

·         Ensure everyone knows you’re in the house and happy to have them. Post welcome signs at key traffic hubs, not just at the front door. Include comments that will make them smile, e.g. Welcome! You’re about to be amazed.

·         Session signage should be readable from a distance. Ask someone with bifocals to read it from a distance. (No discrimination here; just being practical. That, plus first-hand experience.)

·         Use hotel signage so your schedule is easily accessible. Ask to proof the text the hotel displays. They often post booking times, not event times.

·         Post a sign each day with a greeting and list of highlights. We’re all disoriented at a convention. Example:

TODAY IS FRIDAY, OCTOBER 13

(no bad luck for us!)

Morning: breakfast and sessions

Lunch: in the ballroom

Afternoon: sessions and exhibits

Night: banquet off site

Have a great day!

ONE AWESOME IDEA

Personalize giveaways

·         Offer fun name badge ribbons (see below).

·         Invite attendees to choose their giveaway. Split your budget to purchase two or three different items; ask sponsors and exhibitors to provide a limited number of items; and use some of your f&b budget to include snacks. Staff a kiosk away from the reg desk where each person chooses one, two, or three, depending on your budget and supply.

·         Offer a choice of tote bag, each a different style, e.g. briefcase style and bag with pockets. Same colors, same logo.

WANT MORE?

Get fun name badge ribbons from PC Nametag, Marco Promos, Name Badge Productions, or Campus Marketing Specialists, which had the most selection, featuring fresher titles with more diversity. You can also customize some specific to your group.

See how one association makes arrivals easier. The AAUW National Convention website includes a useful page that describes everything an attendee needs to know about arriving at its meeting.  Check it out.

DMM|1719|10-13-17

ABOUT DANA

Dana L. Saal, CMP, CAE, has been planning meetings for associations for more than 30 years. She recently decided that coaching meeting planners is now more fun than proofing BEOs, counting coffee cups and writing scripts. If you think a bit of coaching could improve your meeting, send a message via her website!

 

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Boost Operations Through Digital Office Opportunities

Posted By Sherry Budziak, Co-Founder, .orgCommunity, Friday, October 6, 2017
Updated: Monday, September 11, 2017

If your organization often struggles to meet objectives, it may be time to examine your internal digital operations.


The culprit can be a singular issue. Perhaps your organization over-relies on group emails or one-to-one in-person conversations. Maybe meetings are overused or non-productive. Or cross-functional collaboration tends to be limited to sharing information rather than working together in real time to sustain teamwork. Possibly it’s the simplest of digital office tools, like shared drives, that aren’t used to their full extent—particularly across departments.

Most likely, though, the issue lies with not having a collaboration and digital workplace strategy. 

.orgSource has been working with clients to improve information sharing and collaboration through more effective use of digital office tools. We’ve even been examining our own operations—and making improvements. One thing that’s very clear: evolving a more robust digital office environment requires a multi-dimensional solution. The .orgSource approach includes considering at least eight organizational dimensions:

One thing that’s very clear: evolving a more robust digital office environment requires a multi-dimensional solution. 

  1. Management Leadership. Establish clear priorities and set expectations. Perhaps most important, the senior management team needs to lead by example in their own use of digital tools for collaboration and information sharing.

  2. Cultural transformation. Address the underlying organizational culture, moving from passive to active cross-functional interactions. This includes shifting from sharing documents via email and working independently to teamwork, knowledge sharing, real-time collaboration and strategic thinking.

  3. Supportive structures. Implement data governance policies, organization-wide digital workplace systems, and clarity about team roles and responsibilities.

  4. Process changes. Create standard processes for information sharing, meetings, and decision making. For example, establish common naming conventions for files, provide a clear file structure on shared directories, and ensure meetings have a clear purpose and a well-defined agenda.

  5. Tools/systems considerations. Determine and address current pain points for staff, determining if investing in new digital office systems is needed or, as often is the case, if there are opportunities to implement aspects of systems that already exist in the organization (e.g., taking advantage of the collaboration capabilities of Office 365).

  6. Training. Provide ongoing training in a variety of ways—in-person and self-directed—to ensure continual use and buy-in of digital office operations. One-time exposure during onboarding or annual all-staff “training” is not sufficient.

  7. Metrics. Measure performance including: the ability to achieve objectives, meet deadlines and budgets; staff perceptions of collaboration and efficiency; and the adoption of collaborative tools and processes.

  8. Reinforcement. Reward targeted behaviors, including use of praise by management when witnessing desired team behaviors, multi-functional involvement when evaluating proposals, and continual training across the organization.

.orgSource Operations

 As a consultancy serving associations, we are not immune to our own opportunities for process improvement. .orgSource has enhanced its efficiency by focusing on many of the same things we advise clients. In some cases, we simply decided to adopt new functionality available through tools and systems we were already using. We now use Office 365 groups to coordinate communication as well as share and archive documents. We enjoy real-time collaboration and synchronization on Word, PPT and Excel documents. We use digital task management tools to track assignments and meet obligations. We instituted a file naming convention so we can find and retrieve documents easier from shared drives. And we continue to focus on multi-functional teamwork, blending the distinct expertise of our consultants.

These clearer organizational processes and cloud-based management tools coupled with our culture of transparency, open communication and accountability has done volumes for our operations.

 

Contact us for assistance in increasing your organization’s efficiency and effectiveness through collaboration.

Sherry Budziak is CEO of .orgSource and co-founder of .orgCommunity. She may be reached at sherry@orgsource.com. 

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Dana's Meeting Minutes: Three Tips and One Awesome Idea for Innovative Planners

Posted By Dana Saal, CMP, CAE, Saal Meeting Consulting, Friday, September 29, 2017
Updated: Thursday, September 28, 2017


Three Tips and One Awesome Idea for Innovative Planners

Creating Anticipation

Dana’s Meeting Minutes is based on the Meeting Planning Triangle©. Click here for a link.

Today’s attendees seek personalized meeting experiences. Just attending is considered old-fashioned and uninspiring, especially by younger audiences. “Organizers must think of their events as continuously living entities, not as things that take place over a fixed set of dates.” “Long before the actual onsite event begins, attendees want to engage with the event hosts and each other.” (source) How can you maintain excitement and create engagement after the registration and before arrival?

THREE TIPS

Tip #1

Use social media to create and sustain a buzz

·         Produce a welcome video featuring the destination, your keynote and/or breakout speakers, or past participants who give testimonials. The CVB might help if you’re featuring the destination.

·         Start a rumor. Be vague about something exciting you’re going to debut. Oh, and then do it! For example, the appearance of a big name person, a new event, or a fabulous giveaway.

·         Use an event hashtag for use before, during, and after your event to create a centralized place to learn about your event and those attending.

·         Ask speakers to produce short YouTube videos.

Tip #2

Invite registrants to design parts of the meeting

·         Crowdsource questions for interviews and panel discussions.

·         Ask registrants to identify their current challenges, choose the most reported topics, and schedule them as roundtable discussions, which are announced onsite.

Tip #3

Email works, too

·         Email updates are useful if they contain new information, are short, and include pertinent images. Send weekly messages to keep your event on their minds.

·         Perpetuate the rumor here (see above).

ONE AWESOME IDEA

Schedule Pop-Up Programming using participants’ talents

Check out how the LeakyCon convention “Surprised Fans with ‘Pop-Up Programming’.” This geek convention had attendees perform “two dozen carefully orchestrated, whimsical occurrences that were not part of the official schedule.” To assemble the performers, they put out Tweets asking for marching band, choir, acting, etc. geeks. They rehearsed onsite and performed as surprises throughout the event.

How can you mimic this? LeakyCon participants are geeks with the natural tendency to show off. Your participants are likely more conservative. Knowing your audience, consider what they would enjoy being surprised by and then solicit talent based on that.

Idea—Identify singers who perform at the opening event. Tap a local school choir director to rehearse and direct them onsite. Perhaps the school’s choir can join your participants on stage.

I included this as a pre-event idea because soliciting talent will create excitement and buzz, especially if you tell only the confirmed talent what’s going to happen.

WANT MORE?

There are so many more ideas for convention engagement before the event, check out:

How to Engage Attendees Before Your Event published by Marketo lists three pre-event promotional strategies that are simple to employ. I liked the “Target Influencers” idea.

10 Tips for Attendee Engagement by Lauren Taylor for Event Farm

Pre-event engagement from the TEDx Organizer Guide

Information disclaimer: WANT MORE? references do not imply an endorsement for any company, product, or service.

DMM|1718|09-29-17

ABOUT DANA

Dana L. Saal, CMP, CAE, has been planning meetings for associations for more than 30 years. She recently decided that coaching meeting planners is now more fun than proofing BEOs, counting coffee cups and writing scripts. If you think a bit of coaching could improve your meeting, send a message via her website.

 

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