Archive for June, 2016

28
Jun
16

Bonus content – Event Garde e-news – July edition

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Carla Kalogeridis

Q & A with Carla Kalogeridis, president, Arion Media Services. Follow her on Twitter at @CarlaKalo.

Q: Learn: Let’s say you’re studying for a big exam. Are you a crammer, or do you like to plan ahead?
A: I plan ahead to cram.

Q: Network: How do you help a wallflower, who’s not comfortable networking at a professional event, loosen up?
A: My staff knows that if they ever see someone at one of our events who is standing alone, they MUST go up and introduce themselves, have a conversation and introduce the “loner” to at least one other person. If I am the one approaching the person, I start with a big, warm smile and say something like, “I don’t think we’ve met…” and then ask simple questions to get him or her to open up a little. And when an authentic opportunity comes up in the conversation, I try to give the person a compliment of some kind.

Q: Transfer: What resources/tools do you find most helpful in helping you retain knowledge?
A: I’m outgoing and confident, but an introvert when I’m learning. I like to see a visual demonstration or example or read the information (as opposed to just hearing it) and then I like to digest it on my own before putting it into practice with others. I think it’s because I like to retain my dignity during the learning process, so I want to retreat and make sure I know the material – and then, let me loose and get out of the way! For example, I learned how to line dance a few years ago standing at the very back of the crowd. But once I knew the moves, I moved right up in front next to the teacher and had a wonderful time.

Q: Please share with us a tool or resource you just can’t live without.
A: It’s tough to pick just one… but if one is all I get, I pick “Science and Health” by Mary Baker Eddy. I like to think deeply – particularly about spirituality and metaphysical concepts. I find that having about an hour of quiet time in the morning prepares me mentally for my day more than anything else. I’ve been studying “Science and Health” for years, and I am constantly gaining new or expanded meanings from parts that I’ve read many times before. So that’s a personal resource I can’t do without. From a professional standpoint, I really enjoy reading what people post and link to on Twitter. It’s a great way to read the latest information on a topic and an invaluable tool for research.

Q: It’s almost 4th of July! Which type of firework best represents your life?
A: That dud firework that doesn’t light. Right now, one week out from an association client’s big annual conference, I’m simply too pooped to pop.

28
Jun
16

Plan, attack, conquer: A conference strategy

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Tom Morrison, CEO, MTI Management

With the ASAE Annual Meeting and Expo quickly approaching Aug. 13-16, we wanted to share more advice from conference goers to help you capitalize on your experience. This month’s guest blog post is from Tom Morrison, CEO of MTI Management.

Do you have tips to share? Contact Kristen Parker at Kristen@eventgarde.com.

Like many people, when I attended my first ASAE conference in 2006, I was overwhelmed and distracted by how the massive number of people, sessions and booths. And so I ran around like a kid in a playground.

However, it wasn’t the best use of my time and I wasn’t able to maximize my experience to absorb the key ideas that could transform my association’s future.

So I developed a process I now use for every conference, including ASAE.  It goes as follows:

1) Prior to arriving at the conference, determine the two biggest issues for which you need to find an idea or a solution. This allows you to know what you are looking for.

2) Determine the obstacles potentially coming your way that could have a negative impact on your members.

3) Make a list of the types of people you would like to meet and carry enough business cards to meet them.

4) Study the sessions and events and use the ASAE Conference App to build a schedule that keeps you on track. But be flexible and don’t be afraid to jump into a session with someone you meet.

5) Day one of EXPO: Start in row one and walk every aisle, seeing everything in the trade show. Make notes of booths to come visit in more detail on day two.

6) Day two of EXPO: Visit all booths you wrote down on day one to get more details or demos on products.

6) MOST IMPORTANT: At the conference each day, write down three things:

  • One new idea or a new way of doing something you already do.
  • Something you will do differently on the Monday you return.
  • Someone you met who can help you with an idea.

I’ve used this plan of attack for 10 years now and it has contributed to our association growing more than 1,000 percent in net worth and has increased my professional network the same.

 

21
Jun
16

Survey says: Most of us are lifelong learners

technology-beginner-blog-imageOn the last day of school, I told my kids I wished I were still a student. I explained “adulting” is hard, and they looked at me like I had five heads.

Truth is, I love school. I’m a self-professed word nerd, but I also love learning about pretty much everything, which is probably why I’m determined to get my master’s degree one of these days.

I guess my love of learning shouldn’t come as a surprise, though. According to a recent survey by Pew Research Center, most Americans – 73 percent to be exact – define themselves as lifelong learners.

From do-it-yourself projects to professional development, Americans want to learn, the report found. Most learning occurs in traditional places, but the Internet is quickly becoming a reputable knowledge source.

Of those who responded to the survey, 63 percent of working adults have taken a course or engaged in professional development throughout the last year to improve job skills, mostly for career advancement. Perhaps of special interest to associations, 36 percent of the workforce sought education for a license or certification.

At the same time, 65 percent of those who participated in professional education said learning has expanded their professional networks.

In addition, the report found those with high levels of education were more likely to seek out education. Pew Research Center contends this fact negates the argument that the Internet democratizes education. Again, however, the report said those with lower levels of education turn to the Internet for education.

And the report found those who learn professionally are also more likely to learn personally – more good news for associations/organizations representing recreational industries.

sharing-is-caring-social-learning-in-the-workplaceWhile technology continues to evolve in the education arena, the Pew study found many learners aren’t aware of digital learning options. For example, 61 percent of respondents aren’t aware of distance learning while 80 percent aren’t familiar with massive open online courses (MOOCs). Even fewer learners are aware of digital badges.

In terms of industries, those working in the government sector, more than in other industries, represent the highest number of professional learners. No. 2 was education, followed by nonprofit organizations.

I alluded to this above, but most professionals participate in education at their workplace. The Internet is the second most common platform, followed by an offsite facility, such as a hotel. And, head’s up to associations: Conventions and education programs take the No. 4 spot.

Perhaps not surprising, the report found attitudes about learning shape people’s desire to seek out educational opportunities. Most of us like the idea of lifelong learning, but very few yearn to sit in a classroom. In fact, 58 percent of respondents say they’re constantly looking for opportunities to grow.

“Two large forces are driving fresh interest in the way people learn and why they learn,” said Pew Research Center. “The first force is the rise of the Internet and its disruptive potential for education, both for the formal purpose of gaining extra training and credentials and for the informal purpose of learning new things in hope of personal life enrichment. The second force is the steady advancement of the ‘knowledge economy,’ in which economic value is increasingly derived from working with sources of knowledge and in which more and more jobs are built around knowledge workers who use information to ‘create original knowledge products.’”

14
Jun
16

Globalization isn’t a ‘one-size-fits-all’ strategy for associations

global biz expansionAccording to the United Nations, in the year 2100 the world’s population will be 11.2 billion people.

Not surprisingly, Africa and India account for much of that growth, meaning businesses will steadily expand into those regions. As such, we could see a booming global marketplace, which opens the door for associations.

As markets grow, businesses will increasingly need the services associations provide, such as professional development, knowledge transfer, networking, education and professional certifications, according to Globalstrat, which recently released, “2016 Association Growth Global Trends Survey Report.”

Among the challenges associations will have are identifying the markets yielding the most potential for growth and creating business models to address specific markets, Globalstrat said.

According to the report, 30 percent of associations have 5 percent or fewer international members and conference attendees. However, while only 18 percent indicate 5 to 14 percent of their members are international, nearly 30 percent of associations in that same range had international conference attendees. So there’s not always a direct link between international members and international program participants.

What does that mean for associations?

19957784-Global-business-plan-concept-presentation-With-creative-hand-drawing-business-strategy-plan-concept--Stock-PhotoFor those with a high number of international members, there may be opportunities to better market events internationally, Globalstrat said. At the same time, these organizations should consider hosting events outside their home countries. On the other hand, associations with a high number of international event participants but a low number of members may consider improving membership value for international members.

Other key findings in the report:

  • North America is the most popular location in the world for global expansion among associations, followed by Europe, Australia/New Zealand and South America.
  • Organizations that have a solid international business strategy experience faster growth.
  • The top three metrics for success are membership, financial performance and number of meeting and event participants.
  • In terms of services, trade associations place a high emphasis on in-person networking opportunities while professional organizations rank the delivery of a journal or magazine as a priority. (For global expansion, Globalstrat recommends professional associations lead with live events, focusing less on membership, while trade associations should focus on membership and live events in tandem.)
  • About 50 percent of survey respondents use Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn proactively while 90 percent of respondents use these social media channels in some fashion. (Twitter is the most popular.)

“Associations are so diverse and operate under conditions and in environments that are so significantly different from one another that it is impossible to suggest a ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution to international development,” Globalstrat said. “Yet, it is hard to identify an association or organization that is not affected, in some significant manner, by globalization. The question for association leaders, managers, staff and their stakeholders is, ‘How will they interpret the changes taking place, correctly identify the implications and then decide a course of action that successfully navigates these changes?’”

09
Jun
16

Facilitator’s oath: Responsibly introducing challenge by choice

11330016_10155540882430524_2140224877497510125_nHave you ever considered how you or your presenters introduce new content to learners?

Last year I had the opportunity during a site visit with a client to partake in The Adventure Park at Virginia Aquarium. If you’re ever in the area, you absolutely have to check it out. The technology is quite remarkable within the outdoor recreation industry – and the memories, particularly if you’re new to climbing, will last a lifetime.

The Adventure Forest itself spans nearly six acres of the tree canopy. After completing a briefing on how to use the “always-locked-on” gear, guests climb into a main tree platform where they can choose from 15 different trails that are color coded to indicate the degree of challenge they offer.

Trails are marked just like ski runs, with some suitable for novice, some for intermediate and some for advanced climbers. These trails include more than 165 challenging crossings made of rope, cable and wood. Among these crossings are more than 20 zip lines. The most challenging trails are up to 55 feet above the ground.

So, picture me. While I was initially an eager student, my ego quickly deflated as I reached the very first platform. As I surveyed the challenge before me, I considered both how I would cross it and what might happen if I fell.

As an experienced outdoor professional and coach, my client immediately became a trusted friend, confidant and mentor. She encouraged and supported my active engagement, perseverance and growth – but all within the context of challenge by choice.

18690_10155540882440524_7361364456760786838_nChallenge by choice is an important principle in adventure-based programming. While simple in principle, challenge by choice is complex in both practice and reality. The simple principle is that participants are invited to participate voluntarily in each of the various activities and challenges. A participant may choose to sit out of an activity and this right is to be respected both by others in the group and by the instructors.

The same should hold true of presenters:

  1. We should encourage and support active engagement in our sessions.
  2. We should invite learners to participate in each of the activities and challenges we present.
  3. We should respectfully permit participants to sit out of an activity or challenge.

In other words, we should introduce new content in a responsible and approachable way. After all, you wouldn’t take new climbers out on the Double Black Diamond trail in the adventure park without first developing their confidence and climbing skills on the purple and yellow trails.

For me, two major factors generally determine whether or not content is introduced responsibly: number of learners and sophistication of content.

Number of Learners

The first factor presenters should consider when introducing new content is the number of learners participating in the activity or challenge. By roughly dividing the session in thirds:

  1. The first third should introduce activities or challenges comprising the learner and just one other participant (i.e., pairs or neighbors).
  2. The second third should introduce activities or challenges comprising the learner and two or three other participants (i.e., small groups).
  3. The final third should introduce activities or challenges comprising the learner and the balance of the participants (i.e., large group).

11270478_10155540882435524_4624567221505202688_oSophistication of Content

The second factor presenters should consider when introducing new content is the sophistication of content delivered in the activity or challenge. If we consider ASAE’s new learning levels and again roughly divide the session in thirds:

  1. The first third should introduce foundational activities or challenges that focus on awareness and factual recall.
  2. The second third should introduce applied activities or challenges that focus on understanding and comprehension.
  3. The final third should introduce strategic activities or challenges that focus on application and implementation of technical or detailed topics.

Examples

Following are several real-world examples demonstrating these tenets in action:

  1. A foundational activity or challenge for a pair in the first third of the session might include a brief 3-4 minute introduction to includes names, titles, organizations and recall of relevant prior knowledge on the session topic.
  2. An applied activity or challenge for a small group in the second third of the session might include a 10-15 minute case study seeking to build on, apply or enhance existing knowledge using content in practical applications.
  3. A strategic activity or challenge for the large group in the final third of the session might include action planning to focus learner ideas, takeaways and next steps or a focused conversation to lead learners through a phased reflection.

What insights might you add as presenters consider responsibly introducing new content or challenge by choice within their own sessions? Leave a comment with your insights.




meet aaron

Association learning strategist & meetings coach. Founder & president of Event Garde. Passionate about cooking, running, blogging, old homes, unclehood & pet parenting (thanks to Lillie the pup).

meet kristen

Writer, editor, public relations professional. Digital content manager. Proud mom of three. Total word geek. Spartan for life.

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