Cynthia D'Amour is talking about how new members and first-time attendees often feel like outsiders and Maddie Grant is sharing ways to bring them in.

Associations, though, should not force members to figure out on their own how to blend in. Board members should be dispatched as always-present welcoming committee members, talking and meeting with newbies at business and social events, making them feel comfortable and attached.

Board members at one association asked me where they should sit at the annual banquet. Except for those with speaking responsibilities, I told them to sit anywhere in the room. Once they introduced themselves as Board members, they would be the center of attention at their tables (calming their own social anxieties). They would also be performing a valuable marketing task for the association.

They thought it was a great idea - but they didn't do it.

Instead, they all sat together at one table and just talked to each other - like a little clique. One of them told me how much she enjoyed meeting with her friends at these events.

Board members should place members' social needs before their own. Identify a board member who is willing to be the social director and have that person instruct the others how to interact with members and event attendees.

Members who are left alone often don't come back.