Category Archives: Classes and Courses

Media and Member Relations — Northeast Grange Leaders’ Conference

Media & MembersI’m headed south today… all the way to the big city of Portland, to offer a presentation at the Northeast Grange Leaders’ Conference which will be attended by Grange leaders from throughout New England and New York. We’ll be talking about media and member relations, discovering that the way we, as organizations, relate to the media and to members shouldn’t be fundamentally different. Today’s program is based loosely on my No News Is NOT Good News workshop. We’ll be examining some of the techniques leaders can use to keep their organization represented in a positive way and build enthusiasm.

In an interesting irony, some of the fundamentals included today I first introduced at the Maine Media Market held in Portland back in the mid 1990’s… at the time I offered a program called Employees–the untapped market, suggesting that while organizations may intend to offer great customer service but ultimately the customer’s experience with the organization is left to chance because it depends on an interaction between the customer and an employee. It makes very little sense to spend a ton of money and time marketing to customers while leaving that interaction to chance. Why not “market” to employees in a way that equips and encourages them to perform?

The logic is no different for an organization trying to grow in membership. The best media program is still, ultimately, dependent on the customer’s (prospective member) experience with the employee (existing member).

For those who were unable to attend, here is a link to the one page handout of resources: NE Leaders’ Presentation Handout. If your organization is interested in unleashing its potential to gain customers or members, zip me an email and let’s talk about how a similar presentation might contribute.

Nap Time!

I just took a little self-quiz to see how much I “know about learning.” The quiz was recommended by The Training Doctor and I’m pleased to note that I did fairly well because I’ve pretty much given up on teaching. I’m increasingly convinced what we think is about teaching is actually about learning.

Anyway, one of the answers to a question included the observation “many experts believe taking a nap after learning something new aides learning.”

Woo! This explains the behavior of some of my students!

It also means I’ll be able to justify more naps!

Seriously, there is a lot to be said for naps. Perhaps I should offer a course on napping. Imagine the potential for integrating experiential learning! “Do not disturb–learning taking place” would take on a whole new meaning.

If you’d like to take the quiz, follow this link. After you’ve taken the quiz, have a nap!

The Enemy Called “Good”

“You have to decide what your highest priorities are and have the courage – pleasantly, smilingly, non-apologetically – to say ‘no’ to other things. And the way to do that is by having a bigger ‘yes’ burning inside. The enemy of the ‘best’ is often the ‘good.’”

– Dr. Stephen Covey

This quote appeared in my inbox this morning as a “thought starter.” How appropriate to start the day thinking about priorities! There are two very important thoughts in these few sentences.

The idea of being almost obsessive with our priorities is not, of course, new. Tom Peters coined a descriptive term some years ago–a “monomaniac with a mission.” In just a few words we see the accomplishment value of one person with one mission. We’ve all seen it in action. You get one person who has real passion and purpose, get her focused and there’s really no stopping her. These people become the heroes of our society–assuming, of course, their mission is positive!

The second thought in this quote is the idea that the enemy of “best” is often “good.” How many times have we found ourselves saying something is “good enough” or “close enough?” In Maine we have a rather colorful expression to describe it.

“A blind man on a galloping horse will never notice…”

I suppose it creates perspective. But at the same time it’s really saying “that’s pretty bad. The only person who won’t notice is blind and going by pretty fast.”

While any project or passion requires practicality, we really ought to guard against the “good enough” mentality because Covey is right. Good can be the enemy of best.

Occasionally I’ll encounter an adult student who seems to merit a nickname and some gentle teasing at the start of class. “And how is my little overachiever today?” But that student knows it’s not such a bad label and it’s a bit unfortunate that our system implies over-achievers are placing too much stress on themselves. There is a balance in all of this, but I’ll take a class of over-achievers before a class of “how can I squeak by” students any day.

So we need to think about our “yes’s” and our “no’s.” And we need to be careful when we start saying “yes” to good because it might mean we are saying “no” to our best.

“Have to” Doesn’t Make It

Many professions include a continuing education requirement… in spite of studies that clearly demonstrate that required education is often not especially effective. As an instructor of real estate courses, I often see first hand the difference between students fulfilling the requirement and those who truly want to learn.

A fellow instructor from Arizona saw that difference dramatically in a course he was teaching and reported the story in a recent Real Estate Educators Association Newsletter. A broker in his class reported that his agents are getting as much as ten times the required education. The instructor wondered if perhaps they were spending too much time learning and not enough time selling. The ensuing dialog was precious.

The broker reported that their sales closure rate is 100% and added this explanation:

We ask our agents to make a list of all the educational classes they have attended. We start the listing presentation by reviewing them with the client. We tell the client that we have spent a significant amount of time in class prior to meeting them so that we could be one of the most educated, prepared and skilled agents they ever met. Then we tell the client it doesn’t matter if they hire us, just don’t hire someone with less education.

How can you not love that?

To access the complete article, visit the Arizona Realtor Association Blog.

Speakeasy Opportunity!

We have a few people interested in starting an informal group of people who’d like to hone their public speaking skills… no dues, no structure… just an occasional get together that allows us to “practice” speaking in front of a non-threatening group and receive constructive feedback. We’re betting some of the presentations will be pretty interesting too! We’re finishing up a public speaking class on Tuesday April 17th and those who think they might be interested in something like this are invited/encouraged to attend the class. We’ll start at 6:30 PM at the Piscataquis Valley Adult Education Cooperative Center on Morton Avenue. Prepared speeches aren’t required, but if you bring one we’ll listen! Any questions, send me an email or give me a call at 343-1842