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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, April 28, 2017
Updated: Thursday, April 27, 2017

CONVINCING THEM IT’S A GOOD IDEA
The most difficult part of change can be convincing stakeholders that it’s needed. You’re working with people who see the meeting through their own filters, including long-held beliefs (beef for Thanksgiving, anyone?). This allows for healthy debate, but can be a stumbling block when consensus is the goal.

How can you manage the conversation without tearing out your hair?

Tip #1

Know your audience

  • Know your supporters and detractors.
  • Pre-wire key influencers.
  • Determine how your stakeholders best accept change—managing the scope (not all at once); demonstrating the new practices (see it in action); hearing it from an outside expert (they always know more than you, right?!); etc.

Tip #2

Prep them

  • Identify strategic goals in advance so everyone starts on the same page. The goals are not part of the discussion, they are the basis for it. Support this by listing them on your agenda.
  • Provide examples of:
    • successful use elsewhere
    • measurable benefits
    • potential outcomes if change is not accepted
    • additional material needed to support objections you’re likely to face

Tip #3

Allow for time acceptance

  • Build in time to ponder the proposals. Don’t expect full acceptance at the first meeting.
  • Get feedback, asking for their likes, concerns and suggestions.
  • Consider a phased-in approach by introducing changes over several years instead of all at once.

One Awesome Idea
Make them feel the change, not just think about it
Your stakeholders’ responses are loaded with emotion. To sort that out, assign each stakeholder a role that represents one participant perspective (e.g., young professional, seasoned exhibitor, one discipline, etc.). Coach them to put themselves in that person’s shoes as you verbally walk through your meeting, asking them to think about how they feel as they “attend” the meeting.

You need to be a great storyteller. Stay neutral by focusing on the outcomes. They need to shed pre-conceived notions and to stay in their assigned personas.

When you get to “happily ever after”, discuss their reactions to determine if you’ve built consensus, need to tweak some things, or try a new approach.

Want More?
There are many resources about persuading stakeholders. Check out a few based on the Google search “how to persuade stakeholders.”

Source Credit:
Aimee Gabel, Solar Energy Trade Shows, LLC and David Saef, GES MarketWorks, who presented the awesome session, Win Stakeholder Support for Cutting-Edge Programming at PCMA’s 2016 Convening Leaders.

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

Tags:  association  events  isae  Leadership  marketing  meeting planners  meeting tips  meetings  social media 

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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, April 7, 2017, Friday, April 7, 2017

 

 

TWEAKING TO ENGAGE

 

Increased participation and engaged meeting participants may be as simple as tweaking the design of your event. 

 

Even if your target audience has not changed, the people representing that audience have. How might you better serve your current audience? 

 

Tip #1

People use time differently today. Have you kept up with the changes?

  • Ensure your arrival/departure pattern is still the best fit for your current potential participants.
  • How long is your meeting? How many overnights are required? Would making it shorter or longer serve participants better? 

Tip #2

Design your agenda so attendees have time to create their own experiences.

  • Plan informal time purposefully. This is when serendipitous encounters are more likely to occur and where memorable experiences are created.
  • Consider longer breaks, shorter sessions, ending earlier and/or starting later in the day.
  • Plan unscripted receptions and meals—let them simply eat and talk.

Tip #3

Make it hybrid; it will increase participation, not decrease it.

  • Before you do anything, clearly define your objectives for adding a virtual aspect to your meeting.
  • Plan your strategy based on your objectives and prepare for it. 
  • There is a lot to gain, but also a lot to consider going forward. Find links to more information in Want More? below.

 

One Awesome Idea

Condense your trade show into one high-impact event.

What if your trade show opened and closed on the same evening? I implemented this successfully for a 500-delegate /40-booth convention and trade show.

 

Schedule it for several hours, maybe 5:00–9:00 pm, on your opening day. This is your welcome event, which I call the kiss & hug event, creating the first opportunity for engagement and connections.

 

Provide plenty of food and beverage so they don’t want to leave to eat dinner. Serve the area’s specialty dishes (bite-sized), plus local beer and wine. Serve appetizers the first 30 minutes, the entrées the next 60 minutes and lots of desserts until close. Scatter service stations throughout the exhibit hall to create your next source of engagement—the natural connection over eating.

 

The third connection actually comes the next morning after the show is moved out and rounds are set in their place. Breakfast with exhibitors allows small-group conversations with participants who sit with one exhibitor who is hosting a table identified with a simple table tent.

 

This model works well with smaller groups that can visit all of the booths in a short time. It is enhanced if the exhibitors, as part of their booth fees, are full convention registrants and stay for the remainder of the event to continue informal networking.

 

Want More?

Planning hybrid events:

These are older articles, but the content is still valuable:

 

Making changes:

This is a case study of an association doing more than just tweaking. Click here for Reinventing Its Outdated Education Model, PCMA Convene, August 12, 2015 

 

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

Tags:  association  meeting planners  succession planning 

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Why Instagram? Why not?

Posted By Destiny Nance-Evans, Friday, December 12, 2014
Updated: Friday, November 14, 2014

We recently had an ISAE Round Table that covered the basics on social media and went into how to manage all of the social media platforms as a small staff organization. Some questions were asked about Instagram and I thought this would make a great blog post!

Well, first let’s ask ourselves what is Instagram?

Instagram is an online  mobile photo-sharing, video-sharing and social networking service that enables its users to take pictures and videos, and share them on a variety of social networking platforms.

Members, non-members, event attendees and really anyone who has an Instagram account can take pics and “tag” you, therefore, creating your very own story. Storytelling is powerful especially when told through pictures and different perspectives. Others might capture events, memories that you as the meeting planner or staff member may have missed. Hashtags are used the same way as with Facebook and Twitter.

With Instagram, you have the opportunity to change the filter on your actual picture, zoom and create a one of a kind image.

More and more people are using Instagram with continued growth where growth with Facebook is still growing, but at much slower pace.

Some ideas to use with Instagram are hosting a photo campaign, building your brand and telling a story. Learn more here.

I do not claim to be an expert at all. I learn by trial and error and by trying new things. Instagram can be a great social media tool for organizations when thought out and implemented correctly.

Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions.

Happy Blogging!

Destiny

 

ISAE

dnance-evans@firminc.com

Tags:  association  instagram  social media  social platform  storytelling 

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Eight Keys to Success When Creating a Technology Strategy

Posted By Sherry Budziak, executive lead consultant and CEO, .orgSource, Thursday, November 6, 2014
Updated: Thursday, November 6, 2014

Associations typically have an organizational strategic plan. But there is often a lack of strategy when it comes to technology, even though it is needed in order to implement successful marketing and membership initiatives. 

Your association’s technology strategy must be more than a patchwork of IT systems and digital solutions. Each component should align with your organization’s overall mission and goals. An effective digital or technology strategy is both a communications and management tool. It demonstrates IT’s understanding of the association’s objectives, establishes a methodology that facilitates the accomplishment of those objectives and provides a suite of metrics to determine how effectively those objectives have been met.

Do you want to increase operational efficiency? Take a 360-degree view of your members? Extend your reach to non-members? Ensure you don’t get left behind during the mobile revolution? Having a technology strategy can help you do that. 

Sherry Budziak, executive lead consultant and .orgSource founder, recently teamed with other experts to develop a strategic technology planning practice statement for the Association Forum of Chicagoland. It concluded:

“To be successful over the long-term, (an) organization must develop strategic technology goals that support an organization’s business goals in every other functional area. …. Understanding the centrality of IT to an association’s strategic initiatives is more important now than ever before.”

Here are eight keys to success when building or revising your organization's technology strategy: 

  • Involve a senior leadership “sponsor” and include strategic thinkers from across the organization. 
  • Assess current technology capabilities and determine if there are infrastructure gaps that are hindering you from meeting your organizational goals. 
  • Identify key features and benefits needed to further your objectives.
  • Interview staff, volunteers and members to gain an understanding of current and future technology needs that will help them meet their goals. 
  • Explain how the technology plan will help your organization achieve its business objectives. Sometimes it’s easier to get buy-in from your board when the pitch is jargon-free and comes from someone outside of IT.
  • Prepare a roadmap for the evaluation, acquisition, implementation and/or enhancement of systems.
  • Set realistic timelines and budgets. 
  • Ensure clear matrix are established and monitored.

Best of luck as you develop or revise your technology plans for 2015 and beyond.

 

Tags:  .orgSource  association  leadership  strategy  technology 

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Three Ways to Take Advantage of Opportunity Thinking

Posted By Sherry Budziak, executive lead consultant and CEO, .orgSource, Wednesday, October 15, 2014

You don’t need to be a million-dollar organization to be innovative. You just need to be opportunity thinkers.

Members of the .orgSource team recently attended the Wisconsin Society of Association Executives Innovation Summit. Pam Henderson, Ph.D., author of “You Can Kill an Idea, but You Can't Kill an Opportunity!” was the keynote. Her presentation got me thinking. How could I (and the associations that I work with) become “opportunity thinkers”?

According to Henderson, opportunity thinking empowers us to see potential in new places—across markets, technologies, business models, brands and design. Her definition of opportunity is a convergence of needs, the ability to create the right value and the right conditions that allow it to come together. So, how can an association steer themselves into this perfect storm?

Here are a few ways I think we can harness the concept of opportunity thinking:

1. Be inclusive. A big take away from the Innovation Summit was to understand others’ perspectives and how they solve problems. Don’t assume that the best ideas will come from your board or senior team. Include as many people as possible when you’re brainstorming so that you get different points of view and a new combination of ideas. Collaborate at all levels, from your junior staff to your CEO. Mixing up those in the weeds and those at 35,000 feet might surprise you.

2. Let people fail. If people are afraid to experiment with outside the box thinking, you’ll never break free from the mundane checklists of to-dos that so many associations follow. Swap out “because we always do it that way” with “if it isn’t broke, break it.” Create a culture where it’s OK to try something as long as you learn from the success or failure.

 3. Think about tomorrow’s opportunities rather than today’s capabilities. Don’t go to the dark place of budgetary or staffing restrictions when an idea is presented. Think about your members’ future needs. Better yet, come straight out and ask them. If you can add value (a new benefit, product, service, event, etc.) before your competitors do, you’ve just created your own opportunity.

Innovation takes practice. Experts say that it can take thousands of bad ideas before coming up with a “good” one. Your association can have a 10-person staff or 200. Size doesn’t matter when it comes to thinking outside the box or capitalizing on opportunity.  Just look for potential in new places, let your teams share their ideas and don’t get bogged down with what you’re capable of today. 

Sherry Budziak is an ISAE member and is the executive lead consultant and CEO of .orgSource.

 

Tags:  .orgSource  association  innovation  isae  Knowledge Management & Research  Leadership  opportunity  opportunity thinking  Organizational Management  thinking  wsae 

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