Elevating Engagement: Let virtual programs enhance your member experience

It’s no secret that associations must adapt and innovate to maintain member engagement and satisfaction. One effective way to achieve this is by offering webinars and lunch and learns as part of their membership benefits. These learning opportunities not only provide valuable knowledge but also foster a sense of community and camaraderie among members.

Investing in virtual events are not only an effective bridge between your “big conferences,” they are also an important tool to warm-up your membership ahead of them!

Convenient Learning Opportunities

Webinars and lunch and learns provide members with convenient access to educational content, without the need for extensive travel or time off from work. These sessions can be easily attended from the comfort of one’s home or office, allowing members to participate without disrupting their daily schedules. By offering these flexible learning opportunities, associations can cater to the needs of busy professionals who may not have the time or resources to attend in-person events.

Cost-Effective Education

Organizing webinars and lunch and learns can be a cost-effective way for associations to provide professional development and educational resources to their members. By leveraging technology and virtual platforms, like Zoom, associations can deliver high-quality content at a fraction of the cost of traditional conferences or workshops. This cost-saving approach allows associations to offer more frequent educational events, enhancing the overall value of membership.

Increased Networking Opportunities

Webinars and lunch and learns offer a unique opportunity for members to network and collaborate with peers in their industry. Through interactive sessions, live Q&A segments, and online discussion forums, attendees can connect with others who share similar interests and challenges. These connections can lead to new business relationships, partnerships, and career opportunities, ultimately adding value to the membership experience.

Some of the technology is truly amazing. I host a monthly networking event myself for my membership community using a platorm called RunTheWorld. We start each event with a short seminar and then the platform matches individual attendees for private on-on-one networking sessions.

Over the last two years I’ve made loads of connections and even made a few friends! Just imagine how this could impact your organization.

Expertise Sharing and Thought Leadership

By hosting webinars and lunch and learns, associations can showcase the internal expertise of members, vendors and thought leaders from around the country. By inviting industry experts and professionals to speak, associations can provide members with access to cutting-edge information and insights. This, in turn, elevates the association’s reputation and enhances the perceived value of membership.

Customizable Content for Diverse Interests

Webinars and lunch and learns can be tailored to address the specific interests and needs of the association’s membership base. By offering a diverse range of topics and formats, associations can cater to various learning preferences and professional backgrounds. This customization ensures that the educational content is relevant and appealing to a wide range of members, increasing overall engagement and satisfaction.

Ongoing Access to Learning Resources

Recorded webinars and lunch and learns can be archived and made available to members for on-demand viewing. This not only allows members who were unable to attend the live event to benefit from the content but also provides an ongoing learning resource for all members. By building a library of educational content, associations can continue to add value to the membership experience long after the event has taken place.

Reducing the membership churn is the goal of every association. You can’t simply rely on one or two live events to keep your members engaged. They expect more and you need to deliver. Scheduling regular virtual events is the simplest way to deliver exception value that won’t break the bank.

If you’re interested in a webinar on engagement for your members – I can help! Just send me a quick note and we’ll create a virtual event everyone will be excited to attend.

7 Strategies for Re-Engaging Remote Employees in the Post-Pandemic Era

The shift to remote work during the pandemic has challenged organizations of all sizes to rethink how they keep their employees engaged and motivated.

Remote work has brought new opportunities for flexibility and autonomy, but it has also brought new challenges, such as isolation, burnout, and disengagement. Keeping remote employees engaged is crucial for maintaining productivity, retention, and morale. Here are some strategies for re-engaging remote employees:

Communicate Regularly and Transparently

Communication is key to keeping remote employees engaged. Regular check-ins, team meetings, and one-on-one meetings can help employees stay connected and feel supported. Be transparent about the company’s goals, expectations, and performance metrics, and involve employees in decision-making and problem-solving. Encourage open and honest feedback and make sure employees know they can voice their concerns without fear of reprisal.

If communication is at the top of your list of skills to develop it should be. Without proper communication, employees start to think of themselves as freelancers and are not going to be as committed to your mission as you need them to be. Worse yet, this disconnect makes it easier for employees to jump ship to competitors.

Foster a Sense of Community

Which brings us to community. Remote work can be isolating, and it’s important to foster a sense of community among remote employees. Encourage team building activities, such as virtual happy hours, game nights, or coffee chats. Celebrate employee milestones and achievements, and create opportunities for employees to share their personal interests and hobbies. Encourage collaboration and cross-functional projects to build a sense of camaraderie and shared purpose.

When I remember back to what kept me at jobs in the past, it wasn’t the pay, but the people. But if you take away the people – then it’s only about the the pay. And that is a tenuous situation when there is always someone willing to pay your best staff a few bucks more.

Provide Opportunities for Learning and Development

Remote employees may feel stagnant in their roles without the same opportunities for learning and development as in-office employees. Provide opportunities for virtual training, workshops, or mentorship programs. Encourage employees to set professional development goals and provide resources to help them achieve those goals. Investing in employee development not only benefits the individual employee but also contributes to the company’s overall success.

Recognize and Reward Employee Contributions

Remote employees may feel undervalued or overlooked without the same opportunities for recognition and reward as in-office employees. Provide regular feedback and recognition for employee contributions, both formally and informally. Consider implementing a rewards program for exceptional performance or milestones. Recognition and reward can go a long way in motivating employees and fostering a sense of accomplishment and pride in their work.

Be Flexible and Accommodating

Remote work provides new opportunities for flexibility and work-life balance, but it also requires a certain level of flexibility and accommodation from employers. Recognize that remote employees may have different schedules, priorities, and needs than in-office employees. Allow for flexible schedules, time off, or accommodations for caregiving responsibilities or other personal needs. Providing a supportive and accommodating work environment can help remote employees feel valued and motivated.

Provide the Right Tools and Resources

Remote employees need the right tools and resources to do their jobs effectively. Ensure that remote employees have access to the necessary software, hardware, and equipment to perform their roles. Provide resources for time management, productivity, and mental health. Invest in cybersecurity measures to protect remote employees and the company’s data.

Encourage Work-Life Balance

Remote work can blur the boundaries between work and personal life, leading to burnout and disengagement. Encourage employees to establish boundaries between work and personal time, such as setting specific work hours or taking regular breaks. Provide resources for stress management and mental health support. Encourage employees to take time off when needed and model healthy work-life balance practices.

The easiest ways to e-engaging remote employees  is not to lose that engagement in the first place. We’re all adjusting to the new normal and the expectations of staff and employers must both be met.

Employers need to makesure their remote employees feel like real staff – not hired guns.

To make sure they stay committed to your mission  – they need to know you are committed to them. In this way a little effort goes a long way.

How Associations Can Boost Member Engagement: 6 Strategies to Consider

Engaging members is critical to the success of an association. Members who are involved, active, and invested in the organization are more likely to renew their membership, attend events, and support the association’s goals. As such, it is important to consider strategies that can help increase member engagement.

Here are six strategies that associations can use to boost member engagement:

Offer Value

The first step to engaging members is to provide them with services, resources, and benefits that they find valuable. Ensure that your offerings are relevant and up-to-date, and provide a range of options to cater to different segments of the membership base. Ask members what they need and make adjustments to your offerings to meet their expectations.

One of the biggest mistakes any organization can make is taking it’s members for granted. You are there for your members. They do not owe you loyalty. So you need to constantly offer value in order to keep them. 

Communicate Regularly

Communication is key to maintaining a connection with members. Regular updates, newsletters, and social media posts that keep members informed of the association’s activities, accomplishments, and opportunities help build trust and demonstrate that the association is actively working to meet its members’ needs.

Too often the only communication that comes through is when an association is trying to promote something. But you need to build a relationship with your members. If you want them to open your email, it’s better if they aren’t always expecting a CTMM (Call For More Money).

Encourage Participation

Members are more likely to be engaged if they feel like they have a voice in the organization’s decision-making process. Encourage participation in committees, events, and surveys to gather feedback and ideas. Make sure to consider and act on members’ suggestions and feedback to show them that their input is valued.

This can be as simple as hosting an open “office hours” with a member of the executive once a month. Give your members a voice and let them know it’s being heard. 

Build a Community

Creating a sense of community and belonging is crucial to member engagement. Offer opportunities for members to network, collaborate, and build relationships with each other, such as forums, social events, and mentorship programs. This helps members feel connected to each other and to the association, which can increase their sense of belonging and loyalty.

Technology has made this simpler than ever to accomplish. I am not only a speaker – I run a community of professional speakers. And using some very simple tools for networking (Zoom, Run the World) we get together every week to network and mastermind. We’ve even become friends!

Recognize and Reward

Recognizing and rewarding members for their contributions and achievements is a powerful motivator for engagement. Offer awards, certificates, or other forms of recognition to members who have made significant contributions to the association. This helps to create a culture of appreciation and respect, which can encourage members to stay engaged and involved.

I’m often shocked by how few organizations provide members with a digital badge and instructions on how to add them to their websites. Just letting your members leverage your credibility with their own customers is a reward in itself!

Continuously Improve

Continuously seeking feedback and improving the association’s offerings and services is critical to retaining and attracting new members. Regularly evaluate the association’s performance, assess member satisfaction, and make improvements based on the results. This shows members that the association is committed to meeting their needs and creating a better experience for them.

By implementing these strategies, associations can build a loyal and engaged membership base that supports the organization’s goals and helps drive its success. By doing so, the association can maintain its relevance and impact over time; reducing membership churn and attracting new members on a regular basis.

Insight, Engagement & Reputation: Why great is always better than cheap when hiring speakers

Hiring a great speaker for an association event can have a significant impact on the success of the event and the association as a whole. A great speaker can inspire, motivate, and educate attendees, providing valuable insights and practical takeaways that can enhance their personal and professional development.

How does this help the association? Well for one thing – your event won’t suck. And if you develop a reputation for excellence in your programs members will be more likely to invest in future events.

More importantly they are likely to STAY members. And as purse strings tighten across industries member retention is going to be critical going forward.

Engaging and Inspiring Attendees

When associations invest in great speakers who engage and inspire attendees, they create a memorable experience that resonates long after the event is over. How many times have you found yourself comparing great conferences you’ve attended with those that fell flat? Is it the food you remember? The quality of the sheets in the hotel? NO! You talk about the programing.

A speaker who is passionate, dynamic, and relatable captures the attention of the audience – your members –  delivering a presentation that is both informative and entertaining. When your members leave every session you want them to be engaged because engaged attendees are more likely to participate fully in the event and take action on the insights and ideas presented by the speaker.

Providing Valuable Insights and Knowledge

Great speakers provide valuable insights and knowledge to attendees, sharing their expertise and experience in a way that is relevant and useful. By providing practical takeaways and actionable strategies, a great speaker helps attendees improve their skills, enhance their knowledge, and advance their careers. This leads to increased satisfaction among association members and a stronger reputation for the association.

This is why it is so important to vet your speakers and watch the video samples they send. Anyone can pull together a fantastic sizzle reel. But your members deserve the steak. Find actual footage of them delivering programs on Youtube or other mediums.

One of the resources you should certainly consider is the Association & Society Speakers Community showcase videos. Here you’ll find speakers delivering portions of their real content – not flashy “best ofs.” Watch mine here. 

Enhancing Reputation and Branding

Hiring a great speaker enhances the reputation and branding of the association. If you are relying on industry speakers who will do the job for free – well you get what you pay for.

Many of the speakers you’ll attract are used to giving sales presentations. And they may struggle to pivot from that format – even if they don’t mean to.

Worse, they have no idea how to present to a large audience or use technology appropriately. I still groan when I think of powerpoints jammed with text.

A well-known and respected speaker lends credibility and prestige to your events, making them more attractive to potential attendees and sponsors. A successful event can also help boost the reputation of the association, positioning it as a leader in its industry or niche. For this alone – a great speaker is always more of an investment than an expense.

Increasing Attendance and Membership

When your organization has a reputation for bringing in great speakers, who deliver fantastic programs, it makes it easier for you to sell future events.

When I was first starting out I had a speaker say to me “There are two types of speakers in the world. Celebrities and the rest of us.”

It was funny. But it was also true. A few years back The National Speakers Association brought in celebrity speakers like George Takai and Steve Forbes to speak at their annual convention. That’s right – an association made up of professional speakers brought in non-speakers to keynote it’s annual convention.

Members grumbled. But they showed up. Celebrity matters.

The truth is a speaker who is well-known draws a larger audience than a subject matter expert. But the price tag can be eye-popping.

Associations should therefore look for the subject matter expert, who also has stage presence and knows how to win the audience. This may not be as flashy as having Mr. Sulu from Star Trek, but for your membership, leaving with a positive return on THEIR investment is critical if they are going to return for you next event.

Delivering those returns will lead to higher member retention and even growth. That’s because a memorable presentation,  from a great speaker encourages attendees to return for future events and recommend the association to their colleagues and peers.

Providing a Positive Return on Investment

Finally you need to remember that hiring a great speaker is an investment and not an expense. Relying on cheap or free speakers may make your event memorable – but probably not in the way you want it to be memorable.

Investing in great speakers leads to great events. And great events can increase membership retention, acquisation and even non-dues revenue.

Bringing in great speakers enhances the reputation and branding of associations, and provides long-term value to attendees, helping them improve their skills and advance their careers.

And in the end your sucess is 100% tied to the success of your members.

Simple Ways to Future-Proof Your Assocation

The way we work is rapidly changing and it’s crucial for associations to help members stay ahead of the curve in order to remain competitive and relevant in today’s rapidly evolving marketplace.

With technology advancing at a breakneck pace, the future of work is becoming increasingly uncertain, making it important for associations to deliver programs that show members how to adapt to new trends and position themselves for success.

One of the biggest trends shaping the future of work is the rise of the remote or hybrid office. With the pandemic causing many companies to pivot towards remote work, it’s become clear that spending 5 days a week in a cubicle is not a model that is necessary or preferable for most people. 

But this trend is also impacting how you connect and engage with your members; who are scattered across different locations and may not have the desire or budget to travel for education and events.

Because of this it’s important to invest in online community meetup technology. This technology allows you to connect and engage with your members no matter where they are located, and provides a platform for virtual events and workshops. 

Treating members as a community rather than a commodity requires engagement. And it’s easy than ever to make it happen. 

Another trend is the increasing prevalence of automation and AI. With more and more jobs becoming automated, it’s crucial for associations to equip members with the technical skills they need to succeed. This includes programs focused on emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, and the Internet of Things, as well as soft skills such as digital communication and project management.

Assisting your members with this technology, helps them stay up-to-date on the latest trends and best practices, while providing them with the skills and knowledge to thrive in increasingly turbulent times. 

Another key aspect of preparing your association for what’s around the corner is just keeping your ear to the ground. Make sure that your leadership is member focused.  What are your members saying? What are their needs? You can’t just deliver another leadership program and think everyone will be happy. 

Do the research and find out where the best opportunities are for you to deliver value so that your membership levels continue to grow. 

Provide your members with valuable insights and resources that will help them stay competitive.

The ground is shifting dramatically in many industries. Staying relevant is the best way to ensure that your association isn’t swept aside. 

You need to invest in online community meetup technology, dedicate resources to finding out  your members’ pain points and continue delivering programs to help them succeed in their markets. If  you don’t do that, what value will your members find and why will they maintain their membership as budget constraints grow? 

In short, your success is tied to that of your members. Focus on the return on their investment by showing them the way to the future.

remote employee engagement

Boosting Productivity and Motivation: 5 Strategies for Engaging Remote Employees

The Importance of Associations for Professional Speakers

Professional speaking is a competitive field, and one way for speakers to distinguish themselves and build credibility is by joining associations related to their industry. These associations can provide numerous benefits to speakers, including access to educational resources, networking opportunities, and opportunities for professional development.

One of the primary benefits of joining an association is access to educational resources. Many associations offer webinars, workshops, and conferences that provide speakers with the opportunity to learn about new trends and techniques in their field. This can help speakers stay up-to-date on the latest research and best practices, which can make them more effective and engaging when speaking to their audiences.

Networking is another important benefit of joining an association. Professional speaking can be a solitary profession, and joining an association can provide speakers with the opportunity to connect with others in their industry. This can lead to opportunities to collaborate on projects, share resources and ideas, and learn from the experiences of others.

In addition to educational resources and networking opportunities, associations can also provide speakers with opportunities for professional development. Many associations offer certification programs that can help speakers demonstrate their expertise and differentiate themselves from their peers. Some associations also offer leadership development programs that can help speakers hone their skills and take their careers to the next level.

Overall, associations are an important resource for professional speakers. By joining an association, speakers can access educational resources, connect with others in their industry, and pursue opportunities for professional development. These benefits can help speakers build their skills and credibility, and ultimately, succeed in their careers.

7 Strategies for Successful Content Creation: A Guide for Business Owners and Managers

As a business owner or manager, you know the importance of creating high-quality content for your website, social media, and other marketing efforts. But coming up with fresh ideas and producing consistent content can be a challenge, especially if you have a small team or limited resources. Here are seven tips to help your staff create engaging content that will captivate your audience:

  1. Clearly define your target audience. Before your team starts brainstorming ideas, it’s important to have a clear understanding of who you are trying to reach. This will help ensure that the content resonates with your audience and meets their needs.
  2. Set specific goals and objectives. Determine what you want to achieve with your content, whether it’s increasing brand awareness, generating leads, or driving sales. This will help your team focus their efforts and create content that aligns with your business goals.
  3. Encourage collaboration and creativity. The best content often comes from diverse perspectives and fresh ideas. Encourage your team to share their thoughts and ideas, and consider incorporating different writing styles and formats to keep things interesting.
  4. Offer resources and support. Provide your team with the tools and resources they need to succeed, such as access to research materials, editorial guidelines, and marketing software. Consider hiring a content marketing specialist or giving your team access to training or workshops to help them improve their skills.
  5. Give feedback and support. Encourage a culture of continuous learning and improvement by providing constructive feedback on their work and offering support when they need it. This will help your team feel valued and motivated to produce their best work.
  6. Keep it consistent. Consistency is key to building trust and credibility with your audience. Make sure your team follows your brand guidelines and tone of voice, and consider implementing a content calendar to help them stay on track.
  7. Stay up to date on industry trends. Encourage your team to stay current on industry news and trends so they can incorporate relevant information into their content. This will help ensure that your content remains fresh and engaging.

By following these tips, you can help your team create compelling content that resonates with your audience and supports your business goals.

Marketing Your Speaking Business in 2023: Tips and Strategies for Success

Marketing a speaking business in 2023 will require a combination of traditional and digital strategies that take into account the evolving needs of audiences and the increasing use of technology. Here are some tips on how to market a speaking business in 2023:

  1. Leverage social media: Social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook are powerful tools for promoting your speaking business. By sharing your expertise, connecting with potential clients, and promoting your speaking engagements, you can reach a wider audience and establish your brand as a thought leader.
  2. Utilize email marketing: Email marketing can be an effective way to promote your speaking business, particularly if you have a list of past clients or potential leads. By sending newsletters, updates, and promotional emails, you can keep your business top-of-mind and nurture relationships with potential clients.
  3. Attend industry events and conferences: Attending industry events and conferences is a great way to connect with potential clients and promote your speaking business. By networking with event planners and other industry professionals, you can showcase your expertise and promote your speaking services.
  4. Build partnerships: Partnering with other businesses or organizations can be a powerful way to market your speaking business. By collaborating on events or promoting each other’s services, you can reach new audiences and gain exposure for your business.
  5. Utilize content marketing: Content marketing involves creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience. By sharing your knowledge and insights through blog posts, articles, and videos, you can demonstrate your expertise and attract potential clients.
  6. Utilize virtual and hybrid events: Virtual and hybrid events are expected to continue to be popular in 2023, and they can be a great way to market your speaking business. By offering virtual or hybrid speaking engagements, you can reach a wider audience and showcase your expertise to a global audience.
  7. Utilize paid advertising: Paid advertising, such as Google AdWords, can be a useful tool for promoting your speaking business. By targeting specific keywords and demographics, you can reach potential clients and drive traffic to your website.

Overall, marketing your speaking business in 2023 will require a combination of traditional and digital strategies that leverage the power of social media, email marketing, industry events, partnerships, content marketing, virtual and hybrid events, and paid advertising. By utilizing these strategies, you can effectively promote your speaking business and attract new clients.