Friday, September 26, 2008

Room Sets for Meetings

Most people who plan meetings and conferences know that how you arrange the chairs makes a big difference in how people interact and learn. I got a chance to see this firsthand on Wednesday.

We had a regional meeting in New York City. We have run this type of meeting in 20 cities over the past few years, so we have it down to a science. However, this time we used a facility of a client of a member. The price was right, but there wasn't enough space to put in the 5 rounds of 8-10 that we wanted. Instead, we had to do theater style seating. When it came time for the discussion portion of the program, people just got up and started moving around, networking, etc. The discussion really didn't happen. And it was truly all because of the room set.

We readjusted and the meeting still was top notch. Attendees raved about it. But an important lesson was learned/reiterated. If I had to do it all over again knowing what I know now, I may have changed venues so I could have the room set I wanted. It would have been worth the few extra dollars.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I have to say something

I am sorry. I try to leave any political views out of my blog. And maybe this doesn't truly count as political, but whatever.

Long story short. PETA is nuts.

I have a new job

I am so very excited to announce that as of Oct. 13, I will be the new Executive Director of the Arlington Soccer Association. This is the perfect opportunity for my to combine my work experience and my education (I have a Masters in Sports Administration) with one of my true passions, soccer. I played in college and still play several times a week (which may change since I will most likely be a touch busier.)

I still plan on writing this blog. My guess is that you will see the topics change slightly to focus less on membership and more on overall association management areas.

Thank you to all who have helped me along the way. I don't want to list names for fear of leaving anyone out, because Lord knows there are a lot.

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Clinging to the Status Quo

I had the pleasure of facilitating a Membership Idea Swap at ASAE today. We had good attendance and a good meeting. But one thing that someone commented to me on after was that so many people were stuck on doing things the same way that have always been done. When confronted with a new way or a new idea, the initial response was to say that won't work.

I think many people fear change. It is natural. But even if you fear change, you can deal with it in a positive way. You don't have to jump instantly to "it won't work." Some ideas are just that. They are meant to spark further innovation or discussion. But if your reaction is that "it won't work," you will miss the chance at that further innovation and discussion.

So, keep your ears and minds open, wherever you are!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Cool Mashups

I know a lot of us like to pass along cool websites we find. Well, I found a site that gives awards to cool new mashups. Check it out.

Lots of Twitter based mashups among others. might be the most useful one I found.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Why do you "tweet" if you already have a blog?

I got an interesting anonymous comment on my post about drawing the line on social media.

Why do you "tweet" if you already have a blog?

For those that don't know, a "tweet" is a message someone posts on Twitter. Twitter is a microblogging platform that people can post messages of up to 140 characters.

People use Twitter for a variety of reasons. For many, it acts just like your status on Facebook or your IM away message. You are answering the question "What are you doing?" That is what is written on the Twitter site right above where you post your message. By "following" other folks on Twitter and having them "follow" you, you can see what people are up to. It almost acts as a large group chat room that you don't have to be in all day to catch up on what people are up to.

Blogging for me is totally different. 99% of my blog posts are going to be longer than 140 characters. Plus, they are open to the whole web versus just those with Twitter accounts. I usually think about blog posts and really try to say something with them or ask a question seeking comment from readers. On Twitter, I am simply telling folks what I am doing or having small conversations with others.

Hopefully that answers that question. Anyone else who is tweeting and blogging want to respond? @bkmcae @jamienotter @maddiegrant @lindydreyer @pinnovation???

The Passing of a Great Man - Monsignor Thomas Bennett

Hopefully everyone has had the opportunity to have a teacher that touched your life and/or affected who you are as a person in a way no other has. For me, one of those teachers was Monsignor Thomas Bennett. To many, he was Father Bennett as he acheieved his title of Monsignor while I was in school at St. Charles Prep in Columbus, Ohio.

Fr. Bennett passed away on Sunday at the age of 76. The story in the Columbus Dispatch can be found here. He taught at St. Charles for 46 years. He was the kind of teacher, priest, man that made you grow up from being a snotty high school kid into a man. He had many quirks which made him all the more lovable.

If you did something stupid or swore in class, Father would make you do pushups at the front of the room. If a woman entered the classroom, everyone must stand (St. Charles is an all boys school). He was a disciplinarian, but a just one. He made you study and work, but not just because. There is a Facebook group called Msgr. Thomas M. Bennett Fan Club with over 750 members. He was famous for his one-liners and tongue-in-cheek dry humor.

"Now gentlemen, let's turn our happy thoughts to the joys of history."
"I was sentenced to St. Charles for kicking the bishop's dog."

Requiescat in pace.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Tagged in the Changeblogging Meme

Maddie Grant tagged me in the Changeblogging Meme. Here are my answers to the three questions.

What is one change - big or small, local or global - you want to see in your lifetime?
Since it is a timely topic, I would like to see the end of the two-party system. I am tired of all politicians lining up on one side of the fence when it is obvious they don't all have the same ideals. Stop the spin and just have people run on platforms not parties.

Who is already working this issue that you think others should support? I have no idea. I am sure they are out there, but I don't know who they are.

How are you going to use your Web/tech/marcom skills to further this cause? (Or, what are you already doing that works?)
Again, I am not sure. Maybe I didn't pick the best answer to question #1. I am all for change, and doing what I can. But I am honestly at a loss on this one. I am not a political person to begin with, but I hate listening to red vs. blue when there is clearly a purple area. (Sounds better than black vs. white in this instance)

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Great Fast Company Article

The September issue of Fast Company has a great article about how Clorox partnered with the Sierra Club on their new line of green products. The lessons are very relevant to non-profits, associations and charities who are or plan on partnering with for-profit companies.

Rule #1: Make sure perception and reality are the same when it comes to the member's view of your mission.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Where do you draw the line on social media?

I try to keep up. I have a feed reader. I blog. I comment on other people's blogs. I tweet. I have multiple websites. I have accounts on Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn and others.

But you have to draw the line somewhere.

I wrote earlier about being app'd out. I still feel that way. But each day I feel farther behind. Maybe not behind, but not necessarily maximizing potential. I don't Digg. I don't StumbleUpon. OK, maybe I do like once a month if I have some spare time. But I know I am missing out on a lot of cool things. I usually check out other people's links to cool tools or the next new thing. But right now, I feel like I am in the Dip.

Any suggestions on how to get out?