Thursday, May 31, 2012

6 Questions to determine what’s next for your association: "Keep asking why"

George Csolak, a sports reporter in St. Louis (before the newspaper closed) and pr professional, is one of the best people I know at getting “the story.”

Why? Because he keeps asking and probing until he gets the quote or the lead to a story. One of his favorite questions is “What else is going on?”

One of the principles of the American Academy on Communications in Healthcare (an organization promoting doctor-patient relations) relates around what is called the medical encounter (or interview). They encourage physicians to keeping asking why or what else is bothering you until they get the patient to share his/her concerns.

When facilitating visioning sessions for association boards, I often start with what I call the “wall quiz” which is 10 visual objects/questions designed to stimulate your thinking. As with other exercises such as this, these “trick questions” have more than one correct answer.

I use the “quiz” to remind the audience that nearly every “issue” has more than one right answer. Our challenge is to discover the best answer for our organizations.

How do we do that?

Keep asking questions ... using the “what else could we do?” “How else could we do this?”
What else could/should we be doing?

Some key topics/issues that association executives are dealing with ...

  1. How could we modify our conference format to enhance its value?
  2. Who is a member? The growing “freemium model” suggests associations should consider this “inclusive model.” As Chuck Rumbarger once told a client of mine: “Everyone is a member, just a lot of them aren’t paying dues.”
  3. How do we incorporate digital media tools in our communications?
  4. How can we engage our community to build loyalty among our members?
  5. How can we find ways to lower our costs or increase revenue sources so we can lower costs to members (for dues and fees)?
  6. How do we create programs/services that engage retiring Boomers and entering Millenials?
What do you think? What are the key questions your association faces??
Remember: keep asking why until you find the “second right answer.”

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