Making the Most of a Conference

The NFPW conference registration is open. If you’re attending conference this year, what are you doing to get ready? Here are a few tips:

1)      Bring plenty of business cards and then make a point to network with members whom you don’t know. If possible, reach out to first-timers and provide them with tips. When you do meet someone and exchange business cards, make a note on the back of the person’s card so you’ll recall the encounter and have a reason for following up.

2)      Plan to follow-up with everyone you meet. That’s the point of networking. Better yet, connect with your fellow members through LinkedIn. It’s a great way to share what you’re doing professionally throughout the year and learn what others are doing. You might want to bring your smartphone, iPad or netbook to keep your social connections up-to-date.


Taking notes is a good way to remember key points to share with others after the session.

3)      Take time to review the conference sessions and highlight the sessions you want to attend. You don’t want to miss any because you overlooked a session in the program. Again, sit by someone you don’t know. Talk with her after the session to see what she thought. What was the key take away? It’s a great conversation starter and an even better way to recall the session later.

4)      Visit the contest display and read what the judges wrote. You can find out what makes a winning entry. I also get ideas for stories and projects when I review the entries. And if you’re a winner, celebrate knowing that you competed with the best and you won!

5)      Finally, allow some time to explore the region. If you have the time and resources, I would encourage you to sign up for the pre- or post-tour (or both). Our members know what’s worth seeing so you’ll get a great look at another part of the country. If you plan to explore on your own, visit the websites now so you can find out what to see and do.

I always make a list of follow-up items while I’m at the conference. As soon as I return to the office I give myself a week to complete the follow-up items. If I wait longer, they don’t get done.  This, of course, means I must go buy a pretty notebook to use at the conference for note taking and list making.

I hope to see you at the conference. Now, I’ve got to run and purchase my notebook – and maybe a nice pen to go with it.

Are You a Distracted TV Viewer?

As I’m watching an episode of “NCIS,” I also am writing this blog. When I’m finished, I need to buy something online. And then I’ll have to update my Facebook page, which may also lead to a game of Bejeweled.

Apparently I’m not alone in my distracted TV viewing habits. An Adweek/Harris Poll shows that Americans are not giving their undivided attention to their TV screens. According to the survey, while watching TV most Americans also

  • Surf the Internet (56%)
  • Read a book, magazine or newspaper (44%)
  • Go on a social networking site (40%)
  • Text on their mobile phone (37%).

The survey did not draw any conclusions as to what the findings mean. And I don’t have time to figure it out because “NCIS” is getting good.

Promoting Events with Social Media

Is your organization or affiliate hosting an event? What are you doing to promote it?

At the recent Social Media for Nonprofits conference in DC, Angelika Lipkin, manager of Strategic Partnerships at HigherLogic spoke about promoting events with social media. I started off with my netbook in sleep mode because I figured I had this topic covered. Within minutes, I busily typing away because she had so many great suggestions.

To start, she recommended several social media tools to organize the event, including:

  • Skype for conference calls
  • GChat, Tokbox for audio, video conversations
  • PBWorks, a Wiki collaboration tool that is good for online team collaboration and publishing guest and speaker lists
  • Google Docs, Google Calendars
  • Basecamp for project management
  • Calendar Hub

Once you have the event planned, Angelika said, “Promote and distribute using as many distribution channels as available.”

She suggested promoting a Twitter hashtag and asking for retweets. After the event, post photos to twitpic.

During the event, she suggested live blogging to create buzz. Or, take notes on a blog platform and once the seminar ends, make the blog post live. Another way to increase visibility is to conduct quick video interviews with attendees and speakers and publish.

High-speed wireless is considered the standard for most conferences. She noted that pre-social media, “You put away your phones and laptops. With social media, we want you all to be tweeting and writing on your Facebook status updates.”

Following the event, Angelika recommends:

  • Writing a blog of reflections
  • Hosting a web page where users can add their social media
  • Sending thank yous
  • Uploading photos to Flickr account
  • Posting videos

What suggestions do you have for promoting events with social media?

Social Media Revolution Marches On

Most of you have seen this video about the social media revolution at some point in the not so distant past. It was updated in June, and I watched it again at the Social Media for Nonprofits Conference in Washington, D.C. While the sold-out audience was heavy into social media, there were still murmurings from the audience about some of the statistics.

What stood out?

  • Some universities have stopped distributing email accounts.
  • If Wikipedia were a book, it would be 2.25 million pages and
    would take 123 year to read.
  • Kindergarteners are learning on iPads.
  • eReaders have surpassed traditional book sales.

Take a look again. What caught your eye?

Still Living Playfully and On the Edge in 2011

Fourth of July weekend seemed the perfect time to revisit my aspirations for 2011 and check-in to see how I am doing.

I am making great progress because I did the review while sitting at the pool. No, I did not have a laptop, iPad or any other  electronic device (oh okay, I had my smart phone) but I had a small notebook and a pen so I jotted down some notes until I returned to my computer.

I have five areas I’m focusing on this year:

1) Own E-mail; Don’t Let It Own Me: This is the one I wrestle with the most – both at work and at home. The email comes in so quickly if I miss a day I can be behind by more than 100 emails. What I have been doing is devoting Friday afternoon as my clean-up time, including going through emails. I am whittling away at the size of my inbox. Part of my problem is that I use the inbox as a repository for things that need to get done. It keeps the information front and center, but if I don’t work on the project for
a few months, the emails just sit.

2) Network Face to Face: I resolved to have one face to face get-together each month. So far I’m doing it. I’ve connected with
overseas colleagues when they are in town. I’ve connected with individuals to learn more about their work. Unfortunately, once, I’m sorry to report, I missed a breakfast network opportunity. But I will make up for it!

3) Be Selfish: My time with my personal trainer is now my top priority. I’ve switched my schedule so I can train with him first
thing in the morning (and I do mean first thing).  I only accept breakfast meetings once I know what days I’m training. I’m keeping it a priority.

4) Stretch: I also am working with a business coach. We have not needed to meet as often, but I’m continuing to grow by reading business books and taking online classes through

5) Live in Flip-Flops:  This is my calendar for the year and it was created by Sandy Gingras. The philosophy is straightforward: “It’s not a faraway exotic locale (although that would be nice, too…). It’s just a moment we inhabit in an exotic way – a choice we make to live more playfully, to live more alive…” The calendar is my daily reminder, as are the flip-flops I’m keeping out. I’m going to worry less about lists and more about playing. I’ve been to the beach once and try to get to the pool each  weekend.

Overall, I’m moving in the right direction. The one thing I don’t have on my list is to conquer the stacks of paper that seem
to show up wherever I am working. They weigh me down so each week I’m whittling them down – both at work and at home. File folders are my future. I’m not a messy desk person so not having piles stacked on my desk will improve my outlook.

Time to slip back into my flip-flops! How are you doing this year?