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ThomSingerMusings on Meetings

By Thom Singer

Thom Singer is a member of the MPI-THCC chapter and is a professional speaker, trainer and consultant. He's known as "The Conference Catalyst" for his unique program, designed to transform how attendees engage at multi-day business and association events. Welcome, Thom!

Understanding and Motivating Volunteers

TeplitzCroppedBusiness picmonkeyed*Special Guest Musings on Meetings
by TEC Speaker Dr. Jerry Teplitz

Have you ever had a board member with whom you had difficulty relating? Have you ever emphasized something you thought important and your board members or committee chairs responded blankly? Do you find some board volunteers make slower (or faster) decisions than you think appropriate?

Answering yes to any of these questions means that you have run across a volunteer whose behavior style is different from yours. To have a more effective relationship with the volunteer you need to learn to adapt your behavior style to fit theirs.


Hybrids Are Here to Stay

For years there has been a lot of talk about "hybrid meetings," but lately I have seen a big jump in the execution of mixing content for a live audience and an online community. While I have tuned in to watch several speakers at conferences over the years and even participated in full conferences online, I had a recent experience that proved to me hybrids are here to stay.

As an active volunteer and member of the National Speakers Association (NSA), I was asked to serve as the online hybrid meeting co-host for their annual convention. The organization sold online attendee packages to members and non-members, and instead of just streaming the general sessions and selected breakouts, they also incorporated specific educational content exclusively for the online audience during the coffee breaks and lunch time.


Audit Your Opinions

We humans pre-judge each other very quickly. We all do it to some extent, even though we don't like to admit it. I was recently pre-judged and got to hear about it from the source, which is a pretty rare occurrence. Usually we never know the things people decide about us behind our back, and often these can have a material impact on our careers.

After a speech I delivered to a group of meeting planners, one audience member came up and said, "Wow, you were really good! I have heard your name before. In fact my association considered using you for our conference, but I assumed your message would be different, so I nixed you as a possibility." When I asked her what she had expected from my talk, surprisingly she could not produce an answer. We had a wonderful chat, and I was not offended by her sharing this information, as it was an eye opener. She ended our conversation by saying we will definitely talk about next year's conference.


Say Thanks

How do we say thank you to those who serve the greater good? In our hyper-busy world, even the most well-meaning people can forget to show appreciation to those who help us forge a path toward success. Most of us want to say thanks to so many people, but the words get lost behind an ever growing list of to-do's.

As a family, at the holidays or the end of the school year, we encourage our children to bring some cookies or other small gift to those special teachers who have helped them grow and learn throughout the year. While this was a common practice when I was growing up, it seems to be more unusual today. If I pass a soldier or police officer on the street or in an airport, I always try to say some kind words that celebrate them for their commitment to keeping us safe. A little tip of the hat can make a person's whole day brighter.


Join and Participate: Industry Groups Bring People Together

People often question, "Why should I join my industry/trade association?" The reasons are many, but finding ROI from membership is about more than writing a check—it is about participation. These organizations are not leads clubs, so those who mistakenly believe joining will bring them new business (without any effort) will be disappointed. Only paying dues and being listed in the member directory will have no impact, but if you get involved it can change your future.
Belonging to an association like MPI does not mean you will find new clients or get a new job upon signing up. These groups are not designed to funnel leads to their members, but they do provide many opportunities that can be morphed into business if the member is actively involved and prepared to listen, learn, and make meaningful contacts through networking. The opportunities come from people, and there are few better ways to discover the right connections than joining and participating in your industry associations.




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