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In the loop: ASAE's second Western Educational Forum draws an appreciative audience.

If you're an association executive in Oregon or California, it may be easy to sometimes feel, well, a little left out of the association community loop so traditionally associated with cities like Chicago and Washington, D.C. So says Dean Shetler, president and CEO of the California Association of Homes for the Aging, Sacramento.

But programs like ASAE's second Western Educational Forum, January 26-29 at the Westin St. Francis, San Francisco, close that loop.

When we originally asked for the program in San Francisco, we felt it would be a one-time event or maybe every other year at most," recalls Shetler, 1990-91 chair of the Western Region Advisory Committee, which identifies western members' needs and recommends actions.

"The fact that ASAE was here and is coming again - that the leadership cared - is a good demonstration of its concern for members," Shetler continues. "People [in the West] really feel this is an association worth belonging to. We feel good about having that personalized attention and service. We praise ASAE for reaching out to a group who sometimes felt underserved."

ASAE's second Western Educational Forum is filled with activities. Here is a summary.

Now to Be an Effective Facilitator. Tips and Tactics. You've been in a three-hour educational session for less than an hour and you're already ready to walk out. The facilitator is repeating information you've heard a thousand times before, allowing a "griper" in the audience to take over the presentation, and pointing to slides on an overhead projector that you can barely see. Sound familiar? Dadie Perlov, CAE, president, Consensus Management

Group, Harriman, New York, describes this scenario so perfectly because she has lived it.

Perlov, who will lead this interactive session, guesstimates that 70 percent of the work-related meetings she has attended were 'a waste of time because an ineffective facilitator was leading them. A good facilitator knows how to keep a group's attention and builds a consensus by using the basic techniques needed for dealing with different opinions, approaches, and styles," she says.

Perlov adds that an effective presenter also has to understand and articulate the meeting format - brainstorming, for example, or question and answer - and its expected outcome. The ultimate goal: moving toward consensus within a reasonable amount of time.

Perlov will demonstrate how a facilitator should guide, listen, deal with silence, and handle different personalities whether it's in an educational session, focus group, or staff meeting.

Participants will learn not only how to run meetings more effectively but how to be a better meeting participant. "Even if you're not leading the meeting, you can affect the outcome of a meeting," Perlov says. "By knowing the correct techniques and tactics, you can change the direction of a meeting."

Total Quality Association Management. To succeed in today's competitive environment, associations need to improve the delivery of their member services and streamline internal processes for improved productivity. During his presentation, Harrison Coerver, president, Harrison Coerver & Associates, Kansas City, Missouri, will suggest that total quality management (TQM) a process-oriented management system based on the Japanese concept of kaizen, or improvement, is the management solution for associations.

"We are operating in an environment of higher expectations and increased demands," Coerver explains. "TQM is an approach that says that we can constantly improve the quality of our products and the delivery of our services to meet those demands."

Consumer product marketers are shaping member expectations, says Coerver. He provides this example: "I ordered a wine rack from Crate and Barrel on Tuesday, and it arrived on Thursday. Your members expect the same quick response from their associations. They don't have different expectations for one organization and another set of expectations for another organization."

Convention and Seminer Marketing: Strategies to Maximize Attendance. Should you charge a cancellation fee? How can you reduce your number of no-shows? What response rate should you expect on mailings? These are just a handful of questions Ralph Elliott, director of the Office of Professional Development at Clemson University, South Carolina, will answer.

"With the impact of the recession, enrollments [at meetings] have been down," Elliott says. "Now more than ever, it requires that the right programs be presented, properly priced and promoted, and held at the right location."

Elliott will cover

* getting maximum mileage out of a data base (billing, updating information, personalizing solicitations, properly using first- and second-class mailings);

* paying closer attention to offers such as cancellations, deadlines, money-back guarantees, and so forth;

* pricing smartly;

* increasing response rates (optimal lead times, postage increases, stamps versus metered postage);

* selecting presentation titles;

* using different promotional packages (size, quality of paper, color, layout, self-mailings versus envelope mailings, number of programs to list in a brochure); and

* writing promotional copy (overcoming objections, creating interest, establishing credibility, using key words).

Now to Communicate and Market Intangible Membership Benefits. When your members join, "they buy a promise and a track record," says Joan-Patricia O'Connor, president of O'Connor Public Relations and Marketing, a consulting firm with offices in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. "You must have a clear understanding of your members' needs, motivations, and expectations." That includes being aware of marketing the intangible benefits your association can offer. These benefits, according to O'Connor, fall into two categories.

The first is intangible products: legislative clout, a voice in the profession, networking opportunities, professional development, increased visibility, and others. The second is the association's level of service: timeliness, courtesy, and responsiveness.

O'Connor will teach association professionals practical methods to make members recognize they are being well-served by the organization.

Symposium for Chief Elected Officers and Chief Staff Executives. The most significant variable governing the success of an association is the quality of the relationship between the chief staff executive and the chief elected officer, says Glenn Tecker, president and CEO, Glenn H. Tecker Consultants, Trenton, New Jersey. His symposium will give association chief staff executives and chief elected officers the opportunity to gain a full understanding of the roles and responsibilities of each position.

"This program is designed especially to allow those leaders to develop a successful partnership focused on their association's goals," Tecker explains.

Tecker will describe how effective partnerships evolve, the role a board can play in strategic planning, and how to build trust among volunteer leaders and staff.

Reinventing the Small Association: Making It Even Stronger, Vital, and More Responsive to Member Needs. "Some of what [small associations] are doing is very right, but I'm sure some things can be improved," says Wilford Butler, CAE, president and CEO, Butler Consulting Group, Indianapolis. "Small associations must adopt the philosophy 'let's not fix it if it ain't broken' but also realize you can't stand still."

Small associations - the bedrock of ASAE, according to Butler - need only be a little innovative, perhaps by combining their forces internally or with other organizations. Butler will discuss such innovations as job sharing and sharing facilities with other organizations.

When people hear of a small association, their usual reaction is: small staff and minimal resources. Although these facts are typically true, says Butler, there is another side to the coin.

"Coming to grips with a state legislative issue can be very difficult for a large organization,' he explains. With less structure and people to maneuver, small associations can quickly discuss their stand on an issue and dispatch it to the appropriate persons."

Among the issues Butler will discuss are

* upcoming risks in the next three years;

* critical changes in members' expectations;

* why volunteers are getting off committees;

* profile of the boomer versus buster; and

* how to get staff and volunteers technically literate.

Implementing the Strategic Plan. When asked to define a strategic plan, Bud Crouch, senior partner, Glenn H. Tecker Consultants, Trenton, New Jersey, explains, "It is a clear, long-term direction - not a one-year plan. Establishing a long-term direction is a necessity - it helps answer where an organization is going and why it is going there."

But according to Crouch, having a strategic plan is not the same as implementing it. In fact, "the strategic plans of most associations don't get into the fabric of the organization." Thus, this session - co-presented by Crouch; Kermit Eide, senior partner, Glenn H. Tecker Consultants; and Andrew Lang, vice president, Lang & Associates, Bethesda, Maryland - will discuss the three keys of implementation: people, structure and process, and finance.

They'll also cover

* understanding the challenges of implementing the plan;

* learning how to create an environment for plan buy-in, ownership, and commitment;

* building a smooth transition process;

* developing plan accountability among all leadership levels;

* examining the relationship between your current structure and process;

* learning how to implement the plan in fiscal planning;

* identifying leadership roles and responsibilities; and

* understanding how to link the plan to your annual operational planning.

Selling to Associations. Understanding your potential market is one key to greater sales. This two-day program of nine sessions is designed for individuals who sell products and services to associations: hotels, convention bureaus, insurance companies, computer hardware and software firms, printing and typesetting companies, data processing services, and direct-mail services.

Human Resources Symposium. Through experts and roundtable discussions, you'll hear how your colleagues are tackling current human resource challenges. Some of the topics at the two-day symposium are controlling health care costs, managing cultural diversity, and complying with the Americans With Disabilities Act.

Patricia A. Mascari is senior editor of ASSOCIATION MANAGEMENT.
COPYRIGHT 1991 American Society of Association Executives
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1991, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Author:Mascari, Patricia A.
Publication:Association Management
Date:Nov 1, 1991
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