An Executive Director's point of view

 

May 04, 2015: Rating customer service

Category: Stuff, other
Posted by: David M Patt
When online surveys ask if you are satisfied with the results of customer service requests, they are not asking your opinion of the company, the product, the customer service process, or even the information you were given.

They are evaluating the performance of the person or company that was hired to provide your answer.

So, don't say "no," even if the answer did not help you. Doing so will be treated as a criticism of the customer service personnel, who will be punished for not having provided the proper reply, even if they did a good job serving you.

If you dislike the company, its product, or the customer service process, find a different venue to voice your complaint.

April 19, 2015: Attending a luncheon alone

Category: Stuff, other
Posted by: David M Patt
This is how to attend a luncheon, or other plated event, when you are alone and you are not an outgoing person.

Your goal should be to sit in a place that enables you to talk with people in a socially non-threatening manner.

1. Stand at the entrance and patiently scan the room. Nobody will be staring at you. The only people looking at you will be others who are alone and who hope they know you, so they can call you over to their table.

2. Look for a table that is partially occupied by other people who appear to be alone. They are probably in the midst of trying to connect with each other, so you are more likely to fit in and feel welcome.

3. Try not to sit at a table that is occupied by a group of people who seem to already know each other. They won't talk to you and you'll feel like an outcast.

4. Do not sit at an empty table, either. It will just emphasize your being alone. You need a place where a social structure has already begun forming, so you can be a part of it.

5. When you've selected a table, sit right next to somebody who is already seated, even if that person is talking to someone else. Do not leave any chairs between the two of you. Introduce yourself and sit down. If that person is an association professional, she'll broaden her conversation to include you. When somebody sits next to you, include them in your conversation, too.

6. If possible, sit facing the front of the room, so you won't have to turn around to view the emcee, speakers, or video screen. That will also enable you to see everybody at the table and better manage your interactions with them.

7. Do not put your belongings on the chair next to you. That gives the impression you don't want anybody to sit with you or talk to you. Stuff your briefcase and laptop under your chair. Keep your purse in your lap.

8. Do not read a book, newspaper, tablet, or anything else. And don't talk on your phone or check your email. That signals that you don't want company. If you feel like you must do something, read the program handout, if there is one.

9. Exchange business cards with the people you meet. Even if you have no use for the contact information and never expect to use it, the swap is a bond that will connect you during the luncheon.

10. When the event ends, say good bye to each of the people you've spoken with. If you want to continue a conversation with any of them, send an email later that day (or if you are at a dinner, send it the next day).

March 31, 2015: Fighting bigotry

Category: Stuff, other
Posted by: David M Patt
Association professionals join societies to discuss management and organizational issues. They usually don't join to discuss politics.

But sometimes, things occur in our world that are just wrong.

And those things usually affect our members, our customers, and our organizations.

So, it is natural to express our outrage and to seek solutions that enable us to continue practicing our profession in a manner that we feel is fair to everyone.

Associations rely upon fundamental rights to conduct their business and any violation of those rights represents an attack on our profession.

So, don't remain silent when these issues arise.

Speak up. And speak wisely.

February 27, 2015: Understand your members

Category: Stuff, other
Posted by: David M Patt
You don't have to be an expert in your members' business.

But you do have to understand what your members want, why they want it, and how they can be successful at it.

So be an expert in your business - management, marketing, meeting planning, editing, etc. - and use your expertise to help your members succeed in their business.

November 10, 2014: What to do with passion

Category: Stuff, other
Posted by: David M Patt
Here's what the Dilbert creator has to say about that.

And here's what I've said about it in the past.

November 03, 2014: Acceptable mistakes?

Category: Stuff, other
Posted by: David M Patt
An association professional recently posted a short listserv comment that contained five strangely spelled words.

They were neither typos nor misspellings. They appeared to be the result of fingers galloping indiscriminately over keys, randomly inserting letters where they didn't belong.

The person obviously did not proofread what she had written.

Then she did it again. Two days later, she posted another comment that displayed the same careless errors.

I wonder if she realized (or cared) how stupid this made her appear?

October 12, 2014: Online shopping carts

Category: Stuff, other
Posted by: David M Patt
Many people fail to complete online purchases. Here's why.

September 12, 2014: Just for not-for-profit staff

Category: Stuff, other
Posted by: David M Patt
You've heard the stories, but not with these words.

September 08, 2014: Empty nester women

Category: Stuff, other
Posted by: David M Patt
What does "empty nester" have to do with these findings?

And is the subject audience women whose children have grown and moved away or those who never had children? There's a big, big difference.

Women (and men) who have never had children may simply be continuing the habits they've always had.

August 20, 2014: Low chair

Category: Stuff, other
Posted by: David M Patt
Some professionals arrange chairs in their offices in a manner that forces visitors to look up at them. They think that gives them a psychological upper hand in discussion.

It doesn't.

It fosters resentment on the part of the people who are forced to sit in lower chairs. It makes them feel talked down to. And it makes them less likely to accommodate the executive who is trying to dominate them.

When meeting with people in your office, do as much as possible to make them feel equal. Sit at a table, instead of behind your desk. Meet in a conference room, instead of in your office space. If you wear business attire to work, leave your jacket behind. Appear as informal as you can.

Trying to dominate a colleague, sponsor, adversary, or anybody else in this way, just makes it less likely that you will succeed. Nobody wants to be bullied, belittled, or treated in a condescending fashion.
 
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