Archive for February, 2011
Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011 by user
If you have been following The Road to a Paperless Workflow series, so far you have assembled your team, managed the transition through critical questions, tested with a small sample of the affected groups, and challenged existing procedures and job descriptions. Effectively, you have passed the Ready and Set stages. Now, it is time to go!
But, no so fast! In order to achieve a sustainable workflow, you will need to properly maintain the employees that you have mobilized. Make sure that the workstations of those who will now be staring at a computer monitor for a majority of the day will accommodate for this kind of change.
According to www.youreyesite.net, the latest ergonomic standards for computer vision include the following:
Control your environment: The recommended distance you should be from your monitor is an extended arm length to the tips of the fingers.
Adjust the alignment of the monitor to accommodate for your height: Line up the monitor so that the eyes are looking down slightly at approximately 10-15 degrees
Make sure your workspace utilizes proper lighting: Most offices were designed to provide sufficient light required for a paper-dependent workflow. Such light, in addition to the glare that may be caused by a nearby window, can negatively impact your ability to stare at a monitor for extended periods of time. Adjust screen brightness and contrast to provide balance with room lighting. Consider using filters and adjusting shades and blinds in regular intervals.
Incorporate the use of rest or alternate task breaks throughout the workday: This will allow employees to relieve the stress on their eyes caused by shifting focus from a distant point source, like a person walking towards you in the hall, to a near point source, such as the text displayed on a computer monitor.
www.youreyesite.net is the blog for Shady Grove Eye and Vision Care, Optometrists serving the Rockville, Potomac and Gaithersburg suburbs of Washington, DC for over 40 years.
Randy Townsend is a team leader in journals production at the American Geophysical Union. He is currently securing a Master’s Degree in Publishing at The George Washington University. Randy is also a freelance writer. See his interview with Basketball Wives’ Shaunie O’Neal in the latest issue of A-Game Magazine.
Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011 by user
By Al Rickard, CAE
1. Decide if it really is a crisis – Sometimes you have to recognize something for what it is and have a sense of humor about it. Embarrassing and inconvenient do not necessarily warrant full-blown crisis intervention.
2. Use your crisis management plan – Every organization needs a crisis management plan, including a complete crisis communication component. Use the plan and communicate accordingly. Results from past crises shows that organizations with a plan fare better in terms of public perception and, in the case of publicly traded corporations, in share values.
3. Respond quickly – If a problem is festering and members, the public and others are framing the issue and defining the conversation, it’s only going to get worse. Get out there and show you care about the problem and the people it affected – even if it’s only a quick statement to say you are looking into it and will have more information soon.
4. Don’t sugarcoat the truth and downplay the problem – You don’t want to create unnecessary alarm, but it’s better to warn of the worst-case scenario and have it turn out better than to say it’s a minor problem and then have it blow up in your face. Once you’ve lost your credibility, you’re done.
5. Be real and make it personal – Don’t get caught up in corporate-speak that can make your response seem cold and calculated. Speak from your heart and show some compassion.
6. Make sure the facts are correct – Remember the West Virginia mining accident when the Governor of West Virginia announced that the miners were alive when they were actually dead? Not good.
7. Identify a spokesperson – One person should deliver updates in a crisis and the media should know who to go to. When other people attempt to speak in an official capacity, the results can be disastrous. For an association, the spokesperson is usually the chief staff executive but could be the Board Chair.
8. Don’t delegate CEO or Board Chair responsibility – One of these key leaders must be in charge in a crisis. The only time a CEO should delegate responsibility or spokesperson duties to others is if his/her credibility is damaged beyond repair, and in that case they should also resign.
9. Apologize and accept responsibility – People will accept an apology and forgive you, but just apologizing is not enough. You have to be accountable.
10. Actions matter – Communication is essential, but without action to solve the crisis, words mean nothing. Make sure you have a solid action plan that is likely to produce real, measurable results that you can report in future media briefings to show progress.
11. Be brief and be clear – We live in a sound bite world, and it’s only the memorable sound bites that break through and are remembered. Distill your messages down to the essence and deliver them boldly and in an interesting way.
12. Don’t ask for sympathy – remember the famous line from Tony Hayward of BP saying, “I’d like my life back?
13. Don’t be afraid to admit mistakes, even bad ones – When something really bad happens, people will think it is the result of one of two things – evil or stupidity. Which would you rather be – evil or stupid? If it was stupid, say so. You’ll take a short-term hit, but people will forgive you. You can fix a stupid thing by getting smarter. But there is no defense for evil intent – real or perceived.
14. Don’t lie – It never works. It seems obvious to say, but even U.S. presidents have broken this basic rule.
15. Plan social media strategy in advance – When a crisis breaks, social media will soon be buzzing with random facts, opinions, speculation, misperceptions, and even calls to action. A good social media strategy developed in advance with a strong crisis communication component will help you manage the waves of social media discussions that will occur. Trying to develop a social media strategy in the midst of a crisis won’t work.
16. Fix misperceptions – If misperceptions are festering among your key audiences, do something about it. Be transparent. State the truth. Apologize again if necessary. Explain the situation further. But if exposed to the truth, the collective wisdom of the crowd will rise to the surface in the social media.
17. Know when to let go – No negative story lasts forever, even though it may seem like it. Every story is different, but use your best judgment to assess when the story has run its course and you have done all you can to shape it. You don’t want to prolong a problem or make it worse.
This text has been scaled down. The full version is available here.
Al Rickard, CAE, is president of Association Vision, a Washington, DC-area communications company. He is a member of the ASAE Communication Section Council and Co-Chair of its Cross-Collaboration and Community Advisory Group.
Thursday, February 17th, 2011 by Autumn Jones
Yesterday, the 32nd Annual Association TRENDS Salute to Association Excellence was held int he Presidential Ballroom at the Capital Hilton in Washington.
Maggie McGary, online community and social media manager for the American-Speech-Language-Hearing Association was named Publishing Trendsetter of the Year by the Angerosa Research Foundation. She was recognized for her efforts in developing and maintaining an organizationwide Web 2.0 strategy. The association’s blog receives more than 40,000 visits per month and is accessible through a variety of mobile devices. She also writes a personal social media blog “Mizz Information” and is a guest blogger for the Washington Post and SocialFish.
The winners of the All Media Contest were also recognized.
It was a great day for communications!
Maggie McGary receives the Publishing Trendsetter of the Year Award from Debra Stratton, Stratton Publishing
Thursday, February 10th, 2011 by user
By Rick Whelan
I read an interesting and timely blog posting on this site from an “about to be” former member of ASAE. The writer states the many reasons he did not find the benefits of membership to have been worth the dues, and therefore will not renew his membership for 2011.
As a membership marketer (not employed by ASAE, but a longtime ASAE member myself) it got me thinking about the formal or informal process a current member uses to decide not to renew.
It goes to the heart of many an association’s membership problem – the growing number of people who never join, or who join, only to leave in the first year or two of their tenure.
In simple terms, it’s the association’s “value proposition,” or “the gets” of membership that many times drives the decision to un-join.
So how can an association be better armed to intercept –and then reverse– the decision to un-join?
First, associations need to realize that they are not the only game in town for professional information. As the blog writer says, there are dozens of sources for info.
Growing competition for time, attention and dues dollars is the chief impediment to association new member growth.
Not only does all that information available – much of it for free — take a toll on our time, but it often leaves us on overload. As a result we shut down to new sources of information, or offload sources to give ourselves some breathing space — in this instance web sites and blogs won out over an ASAE membership.
Second, associations need to treat different members differently, so the fact that this member self -identified as a young professional meant they had developmental career needs that should have been address proactively by the association. Certainly a look at the ASAE web site shows that it has lots to offer YPs.
Third, ASAE should have reached out to the YP as a new member asking what he needed or making suggestions that would have help keep him engaged.
Prospects are not sure “what the association has to offer” or have seen “no compelling reason to join” in the first place, and new members are not sure what they are getting for their dues, so it’s easy to let the membership lapse.
I suggest my clients become “career partners” with their members changing and modifying the offered member benefits and services as the member’s need change over time.
If the company pays for membership, most of us would probably let our membership continue almost indefinitely. But this member, who first used his boss’s membership and then decided to pay for his own, didn’t think the $100 paid was worth it.
Even that tells me that at some point ASAE membership did have value, but something changed after joining.
Companies’ moving association membership from company-paid to personal-paid is a growing trend, and one that is already causing problems for some of the biggest trade groups and membership societies. This will require, even more than in the past, that the association makes clear the membership benefits and meets professionals right where they stand. Increased communication, letting them know you’re still there for them, will become key.
Sadly, not only was the member at fault in this case, but the association, too. There was no way that after only one year the member could have possibly explored all the value available at an association like ASAE, and he should have recognized that and extended his membership.
I have been a member for 10+ years and still find value in many of their offerings that I did not know even existed months before.
And ASAE was at fault for not recognizing and then addressing this member’s particular need as a “Young Professional,” which would be very different from what I may look to ASAE for.
Please understand I am not picking on the member or ASAE, just using them both as examples here.
Since ASAE is the premier association for associations, it would be interesting to know if this member will ever rejoin as he may move along and upwards in the association profession.
Rick Whelan is president of Marketing General Incorporated (MGI). For 32-years MGI has helped hundreds of associations grow brand awareness, new member recruitment, member engagement, renewal and reinstatement programs. Visit MGI on the web.
Wednesday, February 9th, 2011 by Autumn Jones
Tuesday, February 8th, 2011 by user
By Barbara Meyers Ford
Susan Sarfati recently spoke about engaging and growing membership at the 2010 Cadmus Executive Management Retreat, where she offered 20 tips for engaging and growing membership:
- Content isn’t king anymore; context is. Connect the dots and make sense of content.
- Live your brand, which is the promise you make to your constituents.
- Create experiences that are remarkable. Create a buzz. Introduce major innovations, not tweaks or tinkering.
- Send members lots of love. Competence alone won’t cut it.
- Capture the hearts and minds of your stakeholders and engage them for the long term.
- Be personal. Show your personality. Always deliver.
- Define the journey. Know where you are, where you are going, and what direction and actions you are taking to get there.
- Understand how to build community and recognize people for their contributions.
- DOWN with busy work and bureaucracy. UP with creativity, innovation, and meaning.
- Even with a community of thousands, create an experience of one.
- Be relevant, generous of spirit, and make a difference through social responsibility.
- Be inclusive, open, transparent, and authentic.
- Meet members on their own turf.
- Deliver the most off-the-charts customer care.
- Be a student of motivational theory, organizational culture, emotional intelligence, psychology and demographics to create a unique organizational culture.
- Balance high tech and high touch. Don’t jump on the technology bandwagon rather use technology as a tool to accomplish goals.
- Communication must be two-way and always remember to use Simple Speak.
- Tell stories, they make facts more engaging.
- Create a process to collect on an on-going basis the needs, wants, and perceptions of your community. Profile members according to aspirations. One size does not fit all.
- Spend a long time in the hiring process and a short time firing staff who don’t fit the culture.
Event Date: October 27, 2010, Baltimore, MD
Susan Sarfati is CEO of High Performance Strategies, a new company which she started after leaving the American Society for Association Executives (ASAE).
During her 35+ year career, Barbara M. Ford worked for societies and consulting companies before establishing Meyers Consulting Services (MCS), specializing in society management and scholarly publishing. Since starting MCS, Barbara’s work with commercial and non-profit publishers (as well as organizations in allied industries) ranges from a day of advice to months or years of service as adjunct staff in senior positions.
A co-founder of the Society for Scholarly Publishing and a past President of the Council of Science Editors, she has devoted considerable time to all the organizations serving our industry and continues to do so. Her most recent contributions are as adjunct faculty in the Masters in Publishing Program, George Washington University. More information can be found at www.bmeyersconsulting.com.
Thursday, February 3rd, 2011 by Autumn Jones
The IMARK Group‘s magazine underwent a cover-to-cover overhaul between 2009 and 2010.
With new content sections, page layouts, and a new name (From Marketfocus to IMARK NOW), there were huge improvements over last year. Contemporary graphics gave order and flow to the technical content enclosed.
The publication won bronze honors in the Association TRENDS All Media Contest‘s Most Improved publication category, and could have easily won gold, if the category were based on design.
Before and After shots of the IMARK publication show tremendous improvements in the cover alone.
Before and After shots of the IMARK publication show tremendous improvements in the cover alone.
Tuesday, February 1st, 2011 by user
By Debra Woodfork
Finding balance on a daily basis can be a task in itself. For most, finding that perfect work/life balance is key when trying to manage all the “to do” lists we seem to compile. Design is no different; you are trying to arrange text and graphics in an aesthetically pleasing way, while also managing to effectively communicate.
I am often reminded in my own work today that making good design decisions involve a conscious use of the basic principles and elements of design. As a designer, you have to be aware of knowing when you’ve done too much in enhancing the visual impact of a layout. There will be times when you are given a lot of text to incorporate and times when you are given very little. Being aware of how to approach a layout using the principles and elements of design are one way to balance the “to do” list of any design problem.
The Elements of Design include:
- Size, Line, Shape, Texture, Space, Value and Color
The Principles of Design include:
- Balance, Emphasis, Rhythm and Unity
Next time you are designing (or working with a designer) for a print piece, consider the above and ask yourself if the page layout demonstrates an effective use of these concepts.
One exercise you might want to try is to look back at a recently designed layout and ask yourself the following questions:
- Does this layout demonstrate a balanced use of space and shape in terms of text and graphics?
- Does this layout have good emphasis in communicating an intentional hierarchy of information for the viewer?
- Does this layout have a rhythmic approach to how elements are arranged on the page?
- Does this layout help to unify all elements into one cohesive unit?
Debra Woodfork, is the production and design manager at the Association of Corporate Counsel and a Board member of the DC Chapter of AIGA.