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Sector and AuSAE News

  • 25 Aug 2020 1:06 PM | Kerrie Green (Administrator)

    Even having been at it for a while, you may not know all the tools and hacks that can make virtual work a little simpler. Here are a few ideas to bolster your remote toolkit.

    Nearly six months ago, you might have found yourself working remotely for the first time in your professional life.

    At the time, everyone was looking for ways to stay productive, and largely scrambling.

    With a few months of benefit, a series of new, useful tools have emerged, many of them lesser-known software offerings that can make life easier when working out of the comfort of your living room.

    These tools can boost your productivity, make conference calls more bearable, and even improve communication with your team. Check them out below:

    Krisp (free for 120 minutes per week, $5 per month for unlimited use; MacOS, Windows, iOS) Phone calls while teleworking can be a challenge if there’s a bunch of household noise in the background. One way to minimize it is to use Krisp, a tool that removes background noise that both comes into your speakers and out of your mic.

    Otter.ai (free for individuals up to 600 minutes per month; $9.99 per month for 6,000 minutes; $30 per month, per user, for teams; web-based) Taking more video calls than ever before? Want a way to more easily take notes? This service offers AI-driven transcription, including the ability to automatically transcribe Zoom calls on the fly. For those who need a record of what was said or an alternative to taking notes, this could help make life a little bit easier.

    Notion (free for personal use, $4 per month for pro version, $8 per user per month for teams; web-based) Remote work often gets lumped in the category of video, but the fact of the matter is, you often need tools built for organizing information. Notion, which can be used as a writing tool or a team wiki, offers flexibility in what it can be, giving users an opportunity to both organize and collaborate in whatever way they’re comfortable.

    Toggl (free basic plan, $10 per user per month; MacOS, Windows, Android, iPhone, Chrome, Firefox) Remote work allows for all kinds of distractions that can interfere with productivity and make it harder to manage time. Toggl, a time-tracking tool, is designed to help users build efficiency. Reddit cofounder Alexis Ohanian recently told CNBC that Toggl helped him become more efficient after he became a father. “You find ways to cut time and to preserve time,” he said.

    I Done This ($12.50 per user per month; web-based) This daily productivity tracker tool is dead simple: Every day, the software emails team members working together on a project, asking them to check in and report what they’ve done so that progress can be marked off. It’s project management that’s a bit less hands-on and keeps out of the way for the most part.

    Focusmate (three free sessions per week; web-based) Described by The New Yorker as “part social network and part coworking space,” Focusmate is based on the idea that you’re less likely to procrastinate if you’ve committed to show up to work with someone else. The offbeat method here is that the tool sets up what’s essentially a video “work date” between two strangers who want to get something done in the same time slot. It could be just the thing to help remote workers feel some companionship and provide an extra nudge of accountability for how they spend their time.

    This article was sourced directly from Associations Now here, and is written by Ernie Smith. 

  • 25 Aug 2020 1:01 PM | Kerrie Green (Administrator)

    Coronavirus has forever changed the meetings industry. As a result, event professionals need new skills to best navigate this new environment. Three to consider developing.

    The COVID-19 pandemic rapidly changed the meetings industry. As event professionals were tasked with transitioning in-person conference to virtual ones—sometimes in a matter of days or weeks—they often had to develop new skills they may have never considered to be a job requirement previously. Here are three skills that will benefit meeting professionals as they move forward in this new environment:

    VX manager. I’m sure you’re familiar with terms like UX (user experience) and CX (customer experience). As more associations host virtual and hybrid meetings, I believe event professionals will have to give much more thought to what I’m calling “VX,” or virtual experience. Virtual meeting platforms and other tech tools must be selected with the attendee experience in mind. For example, are they easy to use? Do they integrate well with other tools your attendees are already using? Since many of your attendees are relatively new to online events, you don’t want them to feel overwhelmed and intimidated. And, as virtual events become the norm, your attendees will expect you to deliver an exceptional experience that’s on par with your in-person events.

    Risk assessor. As an article posted on MeetingsNet discussed, COVID-19 has laid the groundwork for event professionals to get buy-in for developing a comprehensive risk management plan for their meetings. “Your organization and events team must understand its duty of care for participants, how to assess and minimize risk, what to do in emergencies (and how to train for them), and the right way to transfer or mitigate risk through contract language and, for some events, meeting insurance,” wrote Sue Hatch. Event professionals must be knowledgeable about how things like force majeure clauses, attrition, and event cancellation insurance works. After all, having that know-how could help your association remain financially stable should future in-person events need to be postponed or canceled.

    Online education expert. Keynotes, panel discussions, and interactive education sessions are staples of in-person association meetings. But how can you best translate these experiences into a virtual space? Event professionals must be willing to be creative and take risks in order to deliver education to their virtual attendees that meets their needs. This may involve training speakers on how to deliver their content effectively in an online environment. In addition, planners will have to give some thought to how they will help create interaction in the virtual space that goes beyond a chat box. After all, your attendees don’t just want to learn; they also want to connect with their colleagues and ask questions or get clarification from speakers.

    This article was sourced directly from Associations Now here, and is written by Samantha Whitehorne. 

  • 25 Aug 2020 12:54 PM | Kerrie Green (Administrator)

    Apple’s recent conflicts over the size of the cut it takes from iOS App Store developers potentially reflects problems the App Store could create for digital-only offerings such as virtual events. It’s a situation associations should keep an eye on.

    If you’re a person who reads technology news on the internet, you’ve likely heard a whole lot about the iOS App Store lately—in part because one of the players in a high-profile conflict has been very effective at public relations of late.

    Epic Games blew up the internet a week and a half ago by adding in-app payments for its extremely popular online game Fortnite that specifically worked around the App Store, preventing Apple from taking an aggressive 30 percent cut from the app. Apple responded by removing Fortnite from the App Store. Epic responded by filing a lawsuit against the company and almost simultaneously posting a parody animation of Apple’s famous “1984” ad. (It’s escalated from there.)

    Over the weekend, Apple got into another conflict with a developer that associations are likely to know—the makers of the blogging platform WordPress, which was prevented from posting updates to its app until it added in-app purchases to the tool. Backlash ensued, and on Saturday, Apple backed down.

    These situations both point to a potentially dynamic situation that could lead to courtroom battles in the coming months. It could also create headaches for app publishers, including associations. But buried a bit further down in the headlines is a conflict around this whole saga that associations should keep an eye on as they try navigating the digital world amid COVID-19.

    THE POTENTIAL FOR VIRTUAL CHARGES

    Here’s the gist: Apple is known for taking a 30 percent cut of in-app payments for digital services, but not physical ones. In other words, if you rent a cabin on Airbnb using your iPhone, Apple doesn’t generally take a cut, but if you take part in a class on Airbnb, as that company has been recently offering, Apple wants 30 percent of revenues. (Which, understandably, has made Airbnb unhappy.)

    Facebook ran into this very problem around the time the Fortnite battle royale blew up, after it launched a paid online events service for small businesses. The company made a point of waiving the fees it might usually charge, which Android developer Google also agreed to.

    But Apple chose not to go along with Facebook’s endeavor—a fact Facebook chose to publicize.

    “We asked Apple to reduce its 30 percent App Store tax or allow us to offer Facebook Pay so we could absorb all costs for businesses struggling during COVID-19,” Facebook Vice President Fidji Simo, the head of the Facebook app, wrote in a blog post. “Unfortunately, they dismissed both our requests and SMBs will only be paid 70 percent of their hard-earned revenue.”

    A lot of organizations known for specializing in physical events are making a transition to virtual alternatives at this time, and associations may find themselves mining similar territory to Airbnb and Facebook—after all, the structure of both of those offerings is very similar to what one might expect from a virtual event.

    And at least one vendor that associations might have actually used in the past could be affected by Apple’s stance: According to a report from The Telegraph, Apple recently asked Eventbrite, the popular online ticketing platform, to plan to start giving a 30 percent cut in transactions for virtual events.

    A PROBLEM FOR DEVELOPERS BIG AND SMALL

    Now, you might be looking at this situation and wondering why you should have to worry about what these large companies, most with valuations in the billions, are doing on the App Store. After all, who’s going to feel sympathetic for Facebook right now, considering they were in the same congressional hot seat that Apple was just last month?

    The truth is that companies of this scale are likely in a position where they can speak out, if not quite in the way Epic did. These companies, having developed successful iOS apps for years, likely have personal relationships with Apple that go beyond an automated approval. And despite that, they’re still running into aggressive responses regarding an aggressive fee.

    I worry what smaller developers that don’t have personal relationships with Apple (or Google, which is also feuding with Epic) might run into at this time. And this may include associations, or the vendors associations use. (It wouldn’t be the first time Apple policy created headaches for association-sector developers.)

    Because of this rule, in-app purchases for virtual events could lead to lower revenues on iOS compared to the web, or require that iPhone or iPad users pay a premium.

    As I noted in my coverage of a recent report from Tagoras, many associations are dipping their toes into the pool of virtual events for the first time right now, and there is potential, given the rush of this situation, to fall into a trap like this around in-app purchases.

    This saga is bigger than any one iOS developer, but it could create problems for associations that haven’t been following the headlines.

    This article was sourced directly from Associations Now here, and is written by Ernie Smith. 

  • 25 Aug 2020 12:46 PM | Kerrie Green (Administrator)

    Business Events Perth has launched a new funding initiative to encourage organisations to host local business events, helping Western Australians safely meet again.

    Business Events Perth chief executive officer Gareth Martin said Western Australia’s business events industry had been severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and funding was now available to assist with business event costs.

    “It’s safe to meet again in Western Australia and Business Events Perth wants to help the Western Australian industry get back on its feet and support local jobs in these challenging times,” Mr Martin said.

    “We’re doing everything we can to kick start the local business events industry, which supports thousands of jobs across a range of local businesses, big and small, and we encourage any organisation that is thinking of holding a business event, conference or meeting to please get in touch with Business Events Perth.”

    Funding of up to $30 a delegate is available, with total funding support determined by the event duration and number of delegates attending the event in-person. Eligible events include conferences, exhibitions or tradeshows, workshops and seminars, as well as corporate meetings and incentive group events with a business event program.

    The offer is available for a limited time and valid only for new business event bookings for events to be held in Western Australia prior to June 30, 2021.

    Tourism and Small Business Minister Paul Papalia encouraged organisations to safely plan their next business event at a local venue or use local suppliers and help support Western Australia’s business events industry.

    “Many event suppliers and operators had all of their forward bookings wiped in a matter of days as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, so it’s really important that we do everything we can to help get business events back up and running again,” the Minister said.

    “The State Government has launched a $5.5 billion WA Recovery Plan to help Western Australia emerge from COVID-19, which includes $150 million to support the tourism industry, and we welcome this complementary initiative from Business Events Perth to further assist the sector.”

    To enquire about funding availability for your event, contact Business Events Perth’s Business Development Team on 08 9218 2900 or visit our website www.businesseventsperth.com

    Media contact: Vivienne Ryan, Director Corporate Communications on 0412 682 129

    Business Events Perth is a not-for-profit organisation funded by the State Government through Tourism WA and the City of Perth with over 100 members representing businesses throughout Western Australia.

  • 20 Aug 2020 6:43 AM | Brett Jeffery (Administrator)

    With a new government looming, even if it’s only a reframing of the existing one, it’s important industry associations are well positioned to engage with key politicians and policy influencers on behalf of their members.

    Understanding the policy, political and regulatory context impacting your sector and your members is important, especially in a Covid-19 world where business survival can be influenced by political decisions beyond your control.

    But, the business of political decision-making, and the drivers that shape public policy and legislation, can sometimes seem complex.  It’s not always easy for associations and membership bodies to navigate the ‘Wellington Beltway’ and to engage with the right people, at the right time and in the right way.

    Just seeking a meeting with the Minister won’t help.  There’s a process to be followed and some rules that should be adhered to.

    The rules

    Here are some simple rules for effective government relations:

    • Know your issue thoroughly.  Be able to articulate your arguments clearly.  Have mitigations ready for counter-arguments.
    • Learn the policy- and legislation-making process.  How and where does it start?  How does it progress?  What are the timelines?  Who’s involved?  What are their roles?  Where are the influence points and who are the influencers?
    • Understand what’s possible and what’s problematic politically, and in terms of the policy landscape.  Frame your approach in a way that’s most likely to gain traction – don’t ask ACT to increase beneficiary payments, nor the Greens to support National’s roading policies.
    • Know the people with whom you need to engage at all levels of the process.  Spend time building relationships.  Wellington runs very much of a who you know basis.
    • Always propose, never oppose.  Go to the power-brokers with solutions to your problems; solutions that pass the ‘what is politically pragmatic and practicable’ test.
    • Speak truth to power.  Don’t try and ‘spin’ an issue and don’t sloganise.  Be credible and transparent.  This helps to build trust.
    • Build a solid and succinct business case that defines the issues and details their impacts, proposes solutions that are evidence-based, quantifies any risks with mitigations, outlines the full cost/benefit argument and explores how the solutions relate to government policy objectives.
    • Use the media judiciously to help generate awareness of the issue and the solutions you are proposing.  But never to attack government.
    • Build coalitions and support for your cause or argument.  Involve your members where possible; their real-life stories will be powerful. And engage key sector stakeholders.  Motivate them to support you and mobilise them into action on your behalf.
    • Don’t forget today’s Opposition Parties.  They could be tomorrow’s government and you may need their support as well.  

    Finally, be prepared for things to take time (unless it’s a gun buy-back scheme you are after).

    The most recent lobby we undertook for a client took this government’s full three year term to generate the desired result.

    Written by Daniel Paul, Director, The PR Company Wellington

  • 20 Aug 2020 6:30 AM | Brett Jeffery (Administrator)

    Associations were once at the heart of many professionals’ social lives. Take London’s Royal Society, for instance. Founded in 1660, the Royal Society published many of the world’s most crucial scientific papers in its signature peer-reviewed journal. From Isaac Newton to James Cook, the Royal Society’s members were responsible for paradigm-shifting discoveries.

    Today, however, people have a seemingly endless array of groups to join and ways to discover new information. From local clubs to volunteer organizations, Facebook groups to Reddit communities, there’s no shortage of options for finding community and knowledge. 

    Exacerbating the issue, many of these groups are free to join, posing a challenge for associations that rely on membership dues. 

    Associations could expend needless energy fighting against this widespread pattern—or embrace and adapt to modern changes. 

    The Open Garden model proposes a shift away from focusing exclusively on attracting and retaining members. Instead, associations should focus on engagement as their North Star.

    Read on to discover three compelling reasons why engagement should be any savvy association’s number one goal.

    Engaging Content Can Educate the Public

    Many organizations embrace opportunities to create educational resources that can lead their industries in new, innovative directions. 

    But taking the time to create these educational resources is only the first step. Unless an audience reads and shares your association’s hard work, your educational efforts aren’t as effective as they could be. Smart associations use digital marketing tactics to drive engagement. 

    For example, you could:

    • Publish a weekly newsletter featuring educational tips and insights
    • Host a podcast featuring experts within your organization
    • Post digestible tips and resources on social media channels
    • Pitch journalists who might be interested in citing your work
    • Forge syndication or partnership agreements with other stakeholders in your space

    The key is to make sure the public has ample opportunities to discover — and learn from — your association’s work. 

    Engagement Can Support Your Core Purpose

    If your association’s core purpose includes advocating for changes within society, attracting a highly engaged audience can directly advance your mission.

    For example, Sunny Knoll Ecofarm serves as a living example of just how effective self-sustaining agriculture can be. Unlike commercial farming, Sunny Knoll Ecofarm uses free range livestock to manage a thriving, productive, and sustainable farm.

    As more members of the general public become invested in Sunny Knoll Ecofarm’s journey, their attitudes toward commercial farming may begin to shift. With time, they may also start to prioritize purchasing groceries from sustainable farms, advancing Sunny Knoll Ecofarm’s overall core purpose. 

    Engagement Can Turn Into Membership

    While many members of your audience might only engage with your content occasionally, some will connect on a deeper level — and seek out more ways to engage. With time, these core fans will become your biggest advocates, sharing your association’s content with their networks and encouraging others to engage.

    Though the Open Garden model encourages associations to prioritize engagement as a key metric for success, memberships still matter. Your biggest fans may derive enough value from engaging with your content that they take the membership plunge themselves. 

    Making engagement your association’s top priority doesn’t mean ignoring your other goals — it often means accomplishing them more effectively.


  • 19 Aug 2020 6:41 PM | Kerrie Green (Administrator)

    Welcome back to our AuSAE Member Chat Series – Half an Hour of Power. This week we are delighted to have sat down with AuSAE member, Donna South, National Manager Membership & Marketing, Weld Australia.  

    In a short 30 minute interview we discussed four key questions with Donna to reflect on the last four months and look forward to the future post this crisis.

    What do the next 6 months look like for your association and your members 

    Anyone who tells you they know what the next 6 months is going to look like is lying. I think it’s safe to say we are all in a state of uncertainty and trying to plan and lead in this environment is extremely challenging.

    In saying this since the onset of this crisis I have been pleasantly surprised by the impact and reaction from both our members and internally within our own organisation. From a member perspective the news isn’t all bad, we have a broad and diverse membership which means the impacts are felt differently across all levels of our membership. Some of our members particularly at the SME level are experiencing an upward trend, harnessing the opportunities of new business from clients who would normally go overseas and are now coming back locally. 

    As an association the next 6 months will be challenging but it is full of opportunity. This crisis has forced us to push the reset button – reminding us why we are here, what we need to do and how we need to do it. Our members have never needed us more and in the next 6 months we will continue to increase member value through personal touch points, check in calls, and find new ways to communicate with members to ensure we understand what their challenges and opportunities are going to be moving forward.

    Areas of concern 

    The main thing on my mind as I look forward and begin planning for 2021 is the uncertainty. The uncertainty not just about the pandemic but the economic impact and the flow on effects as we move forward. There is no guidebook for this, and as I constantly say to my team, we’re building the ship as we’re sailing it. I think once we all accept this level of uncertainty in our operations, we can start to look at the risks we can control and plan around this as a starting point.

    Like all associations we’re exploring changes to our member value proposition to meet the needs of our members now. I am conscious that we are changing and adapting our member benefits for a very specific moment in time. This won’t be around forever so the changes we have implemented will either stop or continue and I want to ensure we are forward planning for this from a time, resource and investment perspective.

    Of course, another area of concern is the ongoing impact on our members. I have spent every day on the phone conducting welfare calls to our member base and I’m hearing that members are okay for X amount of time as long as things don’t shift and change too dramatically. However, not one member I have spoken to has said ‘I will be okay indefinitely’. 

    Areas of opportunity 

    I am a big believer in never wasting a good crisis. The opportunities and the rate at which these have unfolded would never have been possible normally. For example, we have been working on transitioning our products and training into an online environment for a number of years, and meeting resistance from our authorising body in Europe. Since the pandemic this has changed and the flexibility is now on the table to offer our training modules online for members. We have launched two of our most popular courses online and have sold out of every session. The success, uptake and feedback from members has been incredible.

    As an association we are able to go back to grass roots, we have been given the opportunity to stop, breathe and assess our role as an association and what we can do for members now and into the future. We are all guilty of getting caught up in the day to day activities and rolling out programs and events year on year. But we’re all in a position now where we have to basically throw it all out and start again, keeping our members front of mind in this next stage.

    Since the start of this crisis, Australians have stepped up to support local, whether this be ordering coffee from your local café, eating at a local restaurant or purchasing Australian clothing. We are becoming supportive and educated buyers who want to understand where our products are made, and this has instilled a level of patriotism in all areas of the supply chain. We have a real opportunity here to advocate for our members and harness this consumer behaviour to keep manufacturing and fabrication on shore.

    Celebrated moments in the last four months 

    One of our biggest moments to celebrate during the last few months was the speed and quality our team injected into the roll out of our online education courses. As mentioned above the uptake and feedback from members has been overwhelmingly positive and it’s a project we have waited years to see come to fruition.

    We have been pleasantly surprised with the increased engagement with current members as well as the number of new members we have welcomed since the world turned upside down. The team has worked tirelessly to increase communication and ensure we are opening the door to new members with a broad range of topics that effect our sector.

    I am also very proud of how the entire organisation embraced and successfully adapted to working from home. Everyone has welcomed this change, remained flexible and adapted to their new environments.

  • 18 Aug 2020 5:38 PM | Kerrie Green (Administrator)

    The economic fallout of the pandemic has forced many associations to lay off employees. Career experts recommend grieving the loss, being honest, and building your brand while seeking a new professional home.

    As attendees streamed into the Career Center during the ASAE Virtual Annual Meeting earlier this week, one of the hotter topics of online conversation focused on the impacts of a COVID-19 layoff. Two of the career experts that took part in that discussion offered up some advice that can assist people affected by pandemic job losses.

    Dany Bourjolly Smith, SHRM-SCP, founder of DB Smith Consulting and an Association CareerHQ lead consultant, said it’s important to first acknowledge that losing a job is hard.

    “Take some time to grieve,” she said. “Even if it’s not COVID-related, any time you lose a job that you wanted, needed, or enjoyed, it’s hard.”

    After grieving the loss, candidates can get back on the horse again. While traditionally a layoff or release has looked bad on the resume, COVID-19 has changed perceptions.

    “So many talented people have had to be laid off because of COVID that people have a different view,” Smith said. “It doesn’t mean you were a poor performer. You’re in a position some of the people who are hiring could be in themselves.”

    Cynthia Mills, CMC, CPC, CCRC, FASAE, CAE, president and CEO of The Leaders Haven and an Association CareerHQ coach, agreed. “There is no shame in a COVID layoff,” she said. “Just acknowledge it right up front and address it in your cover letter. What you’re doing is removing the question from the table.”

    After updating the resume, job seekers should hone their personal online brand. “The very first place I would start is making sure your LinkedIn [profile] is current, and there aren’t conflicts between LinkedIn and your resume,” Mills said. “Audit your presence online and make sure things are consistent. Ask yourself, ‘If somebody saw you online first, is the way you have framed it and your story the way that would attract them to you?’”

    While job seeking, continue to develop yourself as well. “Take the time to learn new skills,” Smith said. “Write that article, start that blog, look for speaking opportunities. There is work that you can naturally do that adds to your resume, profile, and accomplishments.”

    While it can be tempting to apply for everything when out of work, Smith encourages reflecting on what you want for your career. “What is your heart work? What is important to you?” Smith said. “Can you create or look for in your next opportunity work that speaks true to your experience but also connects to what you want, personally, in this next stage in your career?”

    If people begin feeling burned out with applying, Smith said volunteering can help. “When you are experiencing transition, dedicating and sharing some of your time in a positive way can be very beneficial,” she said.

    When job seekers do score an interview, they need to be honest and frame the layoff in the best way possible. “Say something like, ‘I loved my position, I loved my former organization, and unfortunately, I find myself as one of those who was part of a layoff process. Now I can’t wait to find my next professional home,’” Mills said.

    Mindset also matters during this time. While getting laid off can leave people feeling dejected, they need to mentally move forward. “Your job is to spend your days seeking your next professional home,” Mills said. “Project where you want to be, not the circumstances you’ve been in. Get out of your COVID head and get into your next position.”

    This article was sourced directly from Associations Now here, and is written by Rasheeda Childress. 

  • 18 Aug 2020 5:33 PM | Kerrie Green (Administrator)

    A new sense of urgency defined the conversations at ASAE’s 2020 Virtual Annual Meeting, with implications for years to come.

    Things are moving fast for associations.

    That’s not something I’ve said very often in the better part of a decade of writing this blog; I’m certain I’ve used the phrase “slow-moving ship” a lot more. But one theme that emerged from the sessions I attended at last week’s ASAE Virtual Annual Meeting & Exposition is that a newfound sense of urgency has taken hold.

    Of course, I wish this change might be happening under more positive circumstances. As it is, the combination of a global pandemic, an economic recession, and national reckoning with racial justice has prompted associations to do the necessary work of updating their thinking on a number of fronts. And though there was plenty I’ve missed, there were still many examples of the ways associations are stepping up to lead. Below are a few.

    DE&I IS TOP OF MIND, BUT STILL A CHALLENGE

    The summer of Black Lives Matter protests has prompted many organizations to deliver statements of support. But what comes next, and how to put that goodwill into action?

    The move to remote work, convenient as it is in some ways, presents a further challenge to associations that are trying to improve their efforts on diversity, equity, and inclusion. As Cushman & Wakefield’s Debra Moritz pointed out in a session titled “The Future of Workplace for Associations,” remote work can preserve longstanding biases about who typically gets heard in an organization; those who had already been feeling unheard may have that feeling exacerbated.

    And though organizations may want to rush to have difficult conversations about race, it’s important to read the room. As Society for Personality Assessment Executive Director Nathan Victoria, CAE, pointed out in the session “Disrupting Biases,” “The first step is starting with rapport. You can’t just jump into these conversations. You need to make sure that everyone is ready to be vulnerable.”

    CORNER-OFFICE JOB HUNTERS HAVE WORK TO DO

    As Jeffrey Tenenbaum told me in an interview before his session “Association CEO Employment Contracts,” associations want evidence of innovation in their CEO candidates more than ever, now that the recession puts fresh ideas at a premium. At the session “Fire Fighters: The CEO Who Chooses the Hot Seat,” panelists acknowledged the sudden shift and noted that job hunters will want to take a closer look under the hood of potential employers too. Consultant Suzanne Berry, CAE, advised them to look at what’s being said about an association online, the history with CEOs, and the kind of turnover the organization has experienced. Turnover isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but be mindful of a revolving door in the C-suite.

    ADVOCACY HAS ADAPTED TO THE ZOOM ERA

    Government relations professionals know it can be hard to get the ear of a policymaker on a normal day. The physical distancing forced by COVID-19 has made the challenge even harder, and organizations have had to pivot. At the session “Advocacy Beyond Government Relations,” Emily Reineke, CAE, of the Consumer Brands Association noted that they shifted from the slow-moving process of getting guidance out on AI—lots of meetings, lots of talk about buy-in from stakeholders—and rapidly produced a book on the subject and gave members the leeway to connect with policymakers on their own.

    FUTURE FOCUS NEEDS TO HAPPEN NOW

    It’s been conventional wisdom that a COVID-19 vaccine should be available in early 2021. But what if it doesn’t show up until 2022? Or 2025? Nabil El-Ghoroury, CAE, executive director of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, noted that his organization is scenario-planning that troubling prospect as a way to better handle future changes. An all-virtual environment impacts IT budgets, staff expectations, how board meetings are handled, and what the culture of an organization will look like. Distressing as the problem might be, he says, “we have to be prepared. We have to have a business continuity plan for our association.”

    This article was sourced directly from Associations Now here, and is written by Mark Athitakis. 

  • 18 Aug 2020 5:18 PM | Kerrie Green (Administrator)

    Taking your conference virtual doesn’t mean you have to lose the networking and interaction that occurs at your in-person events. Some ideas for building better online engagement.

    As associations continue to host virtual conferences due to COVID-19, many are concerned about the ability to replicate the interaction, networking, engagement, and hallway conversations that are staples of face-to-face events.

    During a March 2020 ASAE webcast called “Tips and Tools for Creating and Awesome Virtual Event Experience,” the two presenters said it is definitely possible—you just need to be thoughtful and creative.

    Here are five ideas that 360 Live Media Director of Experience Design Beth Surmont, CMP, CAE, and Matchbox Virtual Cofounder and CEO Arianna Rehak shared during that webinar that are still relevant today:

    Prepare your speakers. “It is extremely difficult to present to nobody,” Surmont said. “A lot of speakers feed off their audience. So, the first time you present to no one, it is very strange experience and it can throw people off.” That means associations need to talk to their presenters about what to expect—and also what they can do to deliver the best experience to attendees. If they’ll be on video, that includes having a clean background (“think newcasts,” she said), wearing clothing that is not distracting, and having front lighting.

    Get your audience ready too. “It’s very important to bring a specific level of intention to your virtual event to help your audience understand how they can have the best experience,” Surmont said. Tell them how to engage. “For example, submit your questions here. Raise your hand this way,” she said.

    Surmont suggested thinking of engagement through four dimensions: physical, physiological, intellectual, and emotional. For the physical dimension, for example, consider where people are participating from and offer tips on how they can create the best environment for themselves: “Keep your door closed, or put a sign on your door so you won’t be disturbed,” Surmont said.

    Build a virtual environment that’s conducive to conversation. “While pre-recording sessions often gets a bad rap,” Rehak said, doing so allows speakers to engage actively in the conversation that is going on while attendees are watching their session. “The speakers love this by the way,” she said. “They are seeing their content come to life.”

    If you do go this route, Rehak recommends having chat animators who “create a positive conversational environment that signals to other that they can join,” she said. “That can be as simple as being the first to say, ‘Hey, really excited to be here and get started.’ That will set the right tone.”

    Host virtual roundtable discussions. “If you want attendees to dive into a specific topic, you may want to consider video chat breakout rooms,” Rehak said. “It’s really a way for folks to meaningfully connect with one another.”

    To make this happen, have a designated facilitator in each room so the conversation stays focused and gets people talking. If your association is unable to provide multiple facilitators, Rehak suggest supplying each room with a list of guiding questions. “You want to give them a sense of purpose around their interaction together,” she said.

    Offer a little bit of fun between sessions. Create moments between sessions that capture people’s attention. For example, you can provide additional content during breaks, such as meditation or a trivia game. Or if you have awards to present, consider playing short videos of the winners. “Really, the world is your oyster in terms of that you can offer attendees during these breaks,” Rehak said.

    This article was sourced directly from Associations Now here, and is written by Samantha Whitehorne. 

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