Make Presentations Work for You

The following tips and tricks for giving great presentations are from a breakout session I attended at an ACCE Annual Meeting.

They started out with getting to the point when creating your presentation.

Prepare, brainstorm, focus on your key messages, organize your thoughts into an outline, and create a storyboard.

What are the right questions:

  • Why should the audience care?
  • Who’s the audience?
  • Expectations?
  • Motivation?
  • Logistics?

Know what the room will look like, the lighting and your equipment.  Edit, edit, edit to your core message.  Your design should work in concert with your message.

Principles of design:

  • Images should reinforce the words;
  • Graphics create emotion;
  • Less is more, no loud background, use white space to your advantage; and
  • Know when to stop!

Other tips on creating you presentation - don’t be afraid to buy a pre-designed template.  Use the rule of thirds - derived from photography.  Make it easy for people to see wherever they are in the room

Speaking of photography - use original photos and not stock photos. It’s also a great way to get pictures of your members and showcase them in your publications or website.

Infographics are a great way to showcase the message you are wanting to deliver.  Canva is a great resource for a plethora of templates.

Delivery tips - Do’s:

  • Practice
  • Mistakes happen
  • Proof
  • Length matters
  • Don’t hide - get out in front of your audience

Speaking of delivery - stay on message, be sincere, believe in yourself, be authentic, be you!

Good luck in your next presentation!

Culture of Innovation

Megan Lucas, President and CEO of the Lynchburg Regional Business Alliance moderated a discussion on the culture of innovation as it relates to our organizations.

Basically, it's the idea of taking something that exists and make it unique, different, and better.

What’s holding your organization back in innovation?

The following items were discussed and an honest conversation was had on the challenges we all have in trying to be innovative for your chambers.

  • Longevity of staff;
  • Ego’s;
  • Attitude;
  • No shared vision, not on the same page, no buy in from staff;
  • Lack of prioritization;
  • Unwillingness to take risks, status quo;
  • Fear of future and longing for the past;
  • Stale leadership;
  • Time based on current work load;
  • Lack of trust; and
  • Silo’s and remote staff.

Then the discussion moved on to ways you can share the vision internally or externally:

  • Publicity - COPE (create once publish everywhere) in all your collaterals, ribbon cuttings, press releases, backdrops, email signature line, and invoices;
  • Staff meetings - updates on culture and strategy, make it a screen saver;
  • Put it on your coffee cups, note pads;
  • Hashtags;
  • Visuals around your building - use the space on your walls to share your vision for staff;
  • Share a vision award for staff; and
  • Create a dashboard outlining the vision for board members and share at every board meeting.  At every meeting have a board member report on each of your pillars (economic development, advocacy, leadership, education, etc.).

So what is required to build an innovative culture?  You must have:

  • An open mind;
  • Be creative;
  • Have trust;
  • Be optimistic;
  • Be acceptive;
  • Show passion;
  • Have a safe environment to share;
  • Accept wild ideas;
  • Be honest;
  • Have accountability;
  • Show a tolerance for risk; and
  • Demonstrate the ability to follow-through.

Good luck in innovating for your members and community!

Intentional Leadership

One of the best speakers I've ever heard, over my 25 years in association management, was Carla Harris, a Keppler Speakers presenter on Intentional Leadership at the ACCE Annual Meeting in Long Beach.

She started by giving one of her pearls.

"Currency comes in the form of performance and relationships.  You need a sponsor within the organization, which is not your mentor."

Once you perform, you now get to relationship currency.  You need to build relationship currency with everyone you touch in the organization.

Yes, it’s office politics!  She defines that as you must invest in relationships in your professional environment.

She then went on to talk about the 8 things that defines Intentional Leadership!

  • Authenticity - your competitive advantage.  You can only be you!  The ability to meet people where you are, what you live and understand who you are.
  • Building trust - go to territory’s unknown.  You must deliver, that’s how you lead, that’s trust.  They will follow you!
  • Clarity - you must build clarity around something (quarter, month, week, day).  Explain that here’s where we’re going and you can help.  Today, we’re just trying to do this!  Define the goal.
  • Create other leaders - to help you execute your program of work. Allow your team to shine.  You must be willing to let go!
  • Diversity - you need diversity in your teams.  It’s a way of thinking.  Lot’s of ideas are needed from different perspectives.  Perspectives are born from experiences.  You need to start with a lot of perspectives (generational, cultural, etc.).
  • Innovation - you must be intentional on innovation and teach your team to fail.  Push the envelope.  Celebrate the failures.  You learn from failures and you build on that for your next successful endeavor.
  • Inclusion - solicit people voices.  You need to get their input.  Look at all sides of an issue.  People want to be heard, I hear you, I see you!  
  • Voice - you must exercise your voice.  When it’s not right, call a thing a thing.  You must speak to the pink elephant in the room.

Success does not just happen.  You must be intentional on creating and defining your own scorecard and over deliver on it.

Carla's final statement, "you must own you!"

Chambers and Economic Development

I attended an incredible breakout session at a recent ACCE Annual Meeting on how to message your chamber and economic development program of work, moderated by chamber executives who are recognized as leaders in the field.

1.  They stated that the chamber is the voice of business and visionary for the community at large:

  • Communication and marketing are key.  You can never communicate enough.  Many chambers are doing both and it is important that all staff should know what the other side of the house is doing (chamber - events, etc, economic development - jobs).
  • You need to work with your city manager to make sure all are on the same page.  Stay ahead of the issues as they pop up.
  • Your chamber’s workforce efforts are economic development for the community.
  • Think about your external vs internal communications.
  • Translate economic development work into the chamber sales team.
  • Start up company vs local bakery - it’s all about Commerce.
  • Economic development is new dollars to the community.  Chamber is advocacy for those small businesses already in the community.
  • The theme is not to separate the two - build a community! Don’t call out individual events or programs of work.

2.  What are some the trends in the debate of bringing the two together as a new entity:

  • Grow and sustain the local economy is the new message.
  • Whether you’re at a chamber event or economic development meeting you talk about what the other group is doing.
  • Meet the projects?  Coming out party for the new deals to hit the community and talk about how you landed the deal (workforce, road built, etc.).  The workforce piece is the chamber deal.
  • Black box - confidentiality in economic development is a real issue.

3.  Using metrics to tell your story:

  • Run economic models for the new company to see if the company should get any incentive money based on what they are bringing to the community.
  • These metrics can tell your story on how it will impact the local community (sales at the local stores, taxes, real estate community, etc.)

4.  Money and where does it come from:

  • Public and private funding.  No consistency on what chambers/economic groups are doing.
  • Straight contract with the city.  As a general rule if you’re doing both get 2/3 from private and 1/3 or less from the city.  You don’t want to be beholden to the city government.

5.  Once you land a company how do you get them involved in the chamber?

  • Hopefully they will support both organizations.  It’s sensitive!  You need to be careful on the quid pro quo issue.
  • Get them involved in your programming and not necessarily a chamber member.
  • Chamber relational not transactional which is the economic development group.
  • Chamber can throw an event where that new company does not want to do that.

Final comments made were you always should think regional - not just inside your city limits.  They talked about a number of resources to help you tell you story: Inplan, RIMS, etc. sites that can run your modeling scenarios about your communities.

At the end of the day, our job is to grow and sustain the community we live in - communication and collaboration is key.

And their final comment, never burn a bridge!

Running a Chamber on a Solid Foundation

At a recent ACCE Annual Meeting, I attended a fundraising breakout session where they talked about using different vehicles to raise revenue to fund your program of work.

The following blog post are from my notes.  It was a great session!

The session started with the traditional methods of raising money:

  • Dues;
  • The movement to non-dues revenue over the years; and now
  • Fundraising through your Foundation to raise money.

There is a lot of money in your community.  Deca millionaires?  They stated that 1.02 per 100 households in America have $10 million or more money in your communities.  You just don't know who they are, yet!

They also mentioned that you need to be intentional about your fundraising using your Foundation.  Raise money for education, workforce development, or community based projects.

People will cut a check for a cause or issue they care about.

They went on to say, get the right people on the Foundation board to help you raise money. Foundation board members should have a minimum commitment (you figure out what that donation point is - $10K, etc.) for a seat on the board.

It is important to define your body of work that you want to raise money for.  It is more important to stay true to your mission.  Sometimes you may have to turn money away if it’s not in your scope of work or part of your mission.

The session speakers mentioned that many chambers may have a dormant Foundation and now might be a good time to ramp it up and raise money for your program of work. You will get bigger checks to your Foundation vs membership dues.

You can potentially raise money from sources your chamber would have never been able to access in the past.  You may also be able to raise more money from corporate America from different buckets within that corporate structure.

Make sure you are able to tell your story and have 3rd party folks tell that story!  Make sure you tie that story to your Chamber's program of work.

Be transparent and make sure you have your governance in order.

Never forget the Foundation is part of the your chamber.  The chamber is the c-6 parent where the Foundation is the c-3 under the c-6 umbrella.

Good luck!

Volunteer Development

At a recent seminar I attended, Shari Pash led a discussion on volunteer development that I wanted to discuss on my blog.

If you have a diverse membership, it is important to have diverse volunteers!

Tap into their expertise, skill-set, influence, availability to commit, industry segment

Do you have the right people doing the right things?  Set-up an excel sheet to identify and track the different attributes above.

Opportunities for volunteers - do you have a brochure that describes the different opportunities?  You should create a profile for each opportunity:

  • Name of opportunity (i.e. workforce, GR, Women’s Group);
  • Purpose and goals of this opportunity - outcomes which are measurable; and
  • Number of volunteers needed - long term, or short term (two weeks, in person or virtual).

Job Descriptions - what goes into a good job description?

  1. Expectations;
  2. Summary of position;
  3. Term of service;
  4. Attendance requirements;
  5. Qualifications; and
  6. Relation to staff and budget to get you started.

Recruitment of volunteers - you want to be strategic, relevant, sustainable.

Understand the volunteers motivation to serve as a volunteer - is it recognition, giving back, believes in your chamber?

What’s the DNA of a great volunteer?  Next Generation Volunteer - they want to be asked,  make a difference.  Young professionals are digital, is your volunteerism analog or digital.  They process information quickly - they have been doing this their whole life.

In my opinion, one of the most critical aspects of onboarding new volunteers starts with a solid orientation - you need to formalize the orientation process whether it be in-person or a webinar.

How are you recognizing your volunteers?  It’s important to thank them in a way that works for you and will showcase your volunteers.

Good luck with your volunteer management!

Sunsetting Programs

As chamber staff, it is important to have a systematic way to review our program of work so we can remain relevant to our members.

I wrote a blog post in the past on Scared Cows and how you might "Kick Them to The Curb."  That post can be found HERE.

I recently read Strategic Integration by Gabriel Eckert & Bob Harris and they devoted an entire chapter to this subject, titled "Systematic Sunsetting."

They suggest and proved a great template to review your programs based on its relevance to the mission, member participation, revenue, etc.

They went on to talk about a systematic way to do this review.  The following is their suggested review timetable, directly from page 62 of the book, to evaluate your programs.

  • Year 1: Education
  • Year 2: Events
  • Year 3: Advocacy
  • Year 4: Other programs and services.
  • Then repeat the process starting at year 1 again.

Whatever you decide, it's important to have some system set-up and stick with that process.  You'll need to decide what works best for your organization.

We only have so many resources (staff and budget) and sometimes some of our programs should be sunsetted.

Good luck!