Gamification Interview on Vietnam Television

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42 Rules for Engaging Members through Gamification

Watch a short video interview from BestSeller TV to gain insight into the book co-authored by Shelly Alcorn, CAE and Willis Turner, CAE. More information about the book here.

42 Rules for Engaging Members Through Gamification from Willis Turner on Vimeo.

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Ask the Thought Leader: Brand Storytelling for Associations

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Fads, Trends and Signals: Three Keys to Successful Innovation for Associations

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The Power of A

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So You Want to Speak for An Association

Speaking for associations is a great way to serve the community.  Whether you are a seasoned speaker or you have a favourite subject that you’ve become an expert on and you’re not afraid to stand in front of a crowd or present on a webinar, many associations would be happy to engage you.

From my experience, most associations have a program committee that makes the speaker and topic selection decisions.  If you look for associations via the web, see if they list their committee members, and if they don’t have contact information for the program chair, I would look up their name on LinkedIn and contact them that way.

Sometimes you can contact them through their website, but it doesn’t always work out. The website contact form is usually managed by the association staff and if you catch them on a busy day or they are engaged in a resource intensive project, they may just miss or delete the information without passing it along.

It is not a bad idea to cc the Executive Director when contacting a committee member, if you have their contact information.

I think email is the best first approach.  In the email I would offer to setup a telephone appointment at their convenience.

You might imagine that I get solicited every day with people who want to speak for my clients.  Many of them don’t bother to take the time to research our needs in advance and they really waste my time.  I would highly recommend reviewing a potential client’s website and look at their past events.  You could even contact some of their past speakers directly to get their feedback and assessment of the group.

Most associations, especially smaller ones, do not have a budget to pay speakers, but it is a great platform to get established as a speaker and of course you are in front of many individuals from various professions who have the potential to become a paying client.

Another tip would be to have a topic abstract ready, and send it in the body of the initial email.  I don’t like to get attachments in an initial approach – I probably won’t open them. As an event planner, I want to see four things in an abstract:

  1. Catchy title.  The title needs to have zing.  It should be 75 characters or less (think of how it is going to show up in social media when published and you don’t want it to hog the whole feed!).  It should be compelling and event controversial.
  2. 3-4 short sentences on what the subject is about
  3. 3 bullet points that will be learning outcomes or audience takeaways
  4. Brief bio

Bottom line is that whether it is association staff or a volunteer committee that you wish to engage, their time is precious and anything you can do to make it easy for them will improve your chances for selection.  As an added value, you can also offer to write a vendor neutral blog article on the subject.  This is a great way to provide content and help the association promote the event at the same time.

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5 Things Association Leaders Should be Doing Right Now

Close your inbox, log off of Facebook and take a few minutes to focus on some things you should be doing right now that will impact the future of your association.  Here are five key areas to get you started:

  1. Engage your members on-line in social communities.  It has never been enough just to have a social media presence, or even just one channel as your favourite. Your members and your community expect more.  They expect you to communicate through the channel of their choice.  Engagement goes beyond promotion.  In fact engagement is not about promotion, it is about sharing ideas and responding.  Pick some topics, even controversial, relevant to the topic domain of your association and start a dialogue. Subscribing to some thought provoking websites (Ted Talks, Mashable, Techchrunch) that consolidate and curate content can spark your creative juices.  Linking and sharing some of their articles is an easy way to start a discussion about a trending topic.  Allocate a few minutes of each day on your calendar to feed and groom your social channels.
  2. Engage your members offline.  Use the telephone, social events, meetups and events to have some in-person face time with your members.  A perfect time to pick up the phone is when you receive an email from a member.  They might be surprised by the phone call, but I guarantee it will go a long way toward building member loyalty.
  3. Talk about the Elephant in the Room.  You know the ONE!  Every association
    Let's talk about the elephant!

    Let’s talk about the elephant!

    has its elephant, some are sacred cows masquerading as elephants so as not to be discussed!  Communication becomes so much better when you tackle those tough decisions.  Whether it is declining event attendance, financial woes or other pending doom, there is a good chance that some smart people in the room will have a solution.  But it won’t be apparent if no one is having the discussion.

  4. Do all things SEO daily. Blogging, META, keywords, tagged photos, organic and paid search, otherwise known as feeding Google are critically important in today’s association world.  Your association is competing with for-profit entities that look and feel like non-profit, but believe me, they are out to make a buck and they are investing in technology, digital marketing and other tools to beat you at the game.
  5. If you’re not doing the above 4, then run for the hills.  You and your association may be in danger of losing your relevance in a world where fast paced changes in technology and easy access to expanding knowledge domains could lead your members to believe they can get along quite nicely without you.
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Old Clayburn CEO Interviewed on China Television

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The Future of California’s Workforce & Implications for Associations

I had the pleasure of discussing the implications of the Institute for the Future’s report titled “The Future of California’s Workforce” with Shelly Alcorn CAE and Jeff De Cagna today on Shelly’s Association Forecast Radio Show.

Smart associations everywhere, not just in California, will be immersing their busy leaders in this report and drawing their own conclusions, but for now, enjoy this post of the show.

The only disappointment with today’s show was the show’s feline mascot, Cinnamon, didn’t make an appearance in the taped segment.  Maybe there will be some outtakes published?

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Why Senior Leadership Buy-In Counts in Social Media

If your social media initiative doesn’t have support from senior management, it may be doomed to fail.  Support needs to go much further than budget approval and releasing funds.  When we talk about senior management, we are not just referring to the chief of staff, we are talking about the volunteer leadership team and its key members.

Why do we think it is so imperative that key association leaders are involved?  If social tools are being developed to enhance member engagement, lack of presence by the top association players sends a pretty powerful contrary signal to the membership.

We’ve often said that a social site that has no activity is like a party without music.  You wouldn’t stay long at the party, and web surfers will alight but will be off to something more interesting in one quick click.  Association leaders need to be actively championing the social initiative by being involved in key business decisions and mandating participation by key team leaders.  Without this, association staff will feel the lack of buy-in, ultimately leading to implementation and maintenance failure.

There should also be a regular dialogue between association staff and volunteer leadership to discuss progress achieved and to ensure that the projects are on target and results are evident.  This will go a long way towards ensuring a successful social media presence.

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