Meeting Management with Whoozin?

meetings image
Courtesy: Jim Larrisonlicense

Pronounced “Who’s in?” the online web application “Whoozin?” is a great way to manage your association committee members, as well as event and campaign volunteers. Whoozin? let’s you send and manage meeting invites and RSVPs.

Managing volunteers or committee members can be difficult in the Association management world. I know that it has long been an issue for me and my association. Being the staff liaison for five committees that meet multiple times throughout the year can be hectic…enter Whoozin?

I discovered this little gem with a Google search. Let me just quickly highlight what I love about it, and why I think anyone—especially association professionals—will like it.

WHY IT’S GREAT

  • It’s FREE! Like all good services, there are paid options, but the essentials are free.
  • I can manage multiple teams. In my account, I have separate profiles for all of my committees.
  • I can collect attendance RSVPs and be updated as “In,” “Out,” “Maybe” or “No Reply.”
  • My invites can leave me messages to review and answer.
  • Invitees can receive email invitations, RSVP reminders and event attendance reminders.
  • From the RSVP page, invitees can also download an auto-generated ICS calendar meeting.
  • In addition to meeting details, date, time and location, I can also upload attachments like meeting agendas or event guides to the meeting.
  • Member vs. Non-member feature. You can designate invitees as member (always receives an invite when an event is created) or non-member (must be invited to the specific event). This is especially handy on the government affairs committee where occasionally I need to invite my association’s board of directors to committee events, but not committee meetings.
  • I can message specific attendees individually, or based on their RSVP type (listed in bullet point 3).
  • You can also cap meeting attendance at a certain number based on your room size. For instance, one of my committees has over 75 members, but our conference room only holds 50 people. Stopping the registration at an appropriate number prevents us from taking the meeting over capacity.
  • Find a meeting time – For those familiar with applications like Doodle Polls, Whoozin? allows you to poll your invitees for the best time to meet if necessary.

These are just some of the great features of this application that in my four days of use has already started to make my life a little easier. Go check out Whoozin?, and I am sure you will find that it makes putting together your volunteer meetings a lot easier and boosts your level of organization and simplicity.

2015 Emerging Leader Award – Jacob Wilder

In 2015, I was honored to be selected by the Georgia Society of Association Executives (GSAE) Awards Committee for the 2015 Sharon Hunt Emerging Leader Award. I am humbled by this great recognition from my peers. All credit to the Father who blessed me with my gifts and talents and who guided my path and placed me at the Building Owners and Managers Association of Georgia (BOMA Georgia) and GSAE.

The awards ceremony is December 9, 2015 at the Georgia Tech Hotel and Conference Center. Here is an excerpt from the GSAE announcement:

The Sharon Hunt Emerging Leader Award is presented to an association executive with ten years or less of experience in associations who demonstrates leadership through service to GSAE, their own association and to their community. The award was named in 2014 to honor past president Sharon Hunt, CAE, who mentored a generation of association leaders during her career.

2015 Recipient:  Jacob Wilder, Director of Communications and Technology, Building Owners and Managers Association of Georgia

Jacob joined GSAE and quickly became engaged and influential in our Emerging Professionals community. From taping GSAE promos and participating in the Millennial Infusion event to Co-chairing the EP Shared Interest Group this year, Jacob’s contributions to GSAE have been numerous. He serves on the membership renewal campaign, on our Web Warriors Committee (assigned to Facebook), presented at the 2014 Annual Meeting, and has been a workshop panelist. He earned his Membership Management Certificate and Association Management Week certificate and completed the Florida Society of Association Executive’s (FSAE) Qualified Association Specialist (QAS) certificate program.

Jacob is a member of Cartersville First Baptist where he serves on the Church Men’s Ministry and the Audio-Visual Team. He is active in the church’s community missions, assisting in home repair, cleaning and moving. Since joining BOMA Georgia in 2010, Jacob has participated in the association’s Community Service Construction Project. He also has volunteered his time with BOMA Georgia’s chosen charity, Hillside, and participated in their annual Fleming’s Fundraiser and Holiday Party.

Jacob is being recognized for the depth and breadth of his contributions to GSAE, to BOMA Georgia, and to his community.

I also want to congratulate and thank my fellow class of 2015 award recipients for the many ways they contribute to GSAE and our profession.

  • Stephen Styron Award – Spence Downs (MemberClicks) & Amy Kane, CAE (Rheumatology Research Foundation)
  • Skelton-Massey Award – Natalie Nardone, CMP, CAE (Nardone Consulting Group)
  • Chair’s Award – Mary J. Wheatley, IOM, CAE (Rheumatology Research Foundation)
  • Peggy Seigler Corporate Member of the Year – Cheryl DB Talley (Hyatt Regency Savannah)
  • Alan R. Johnson Award – Mike Pennington, CAE (Kellen)
  • Clifford M. Clarke Award – Lori K Spear, CAE (Southern Association of Independent Schools)

No Sign-In Online Doc Collaboration

Funny RealizationSo some of you may already know this, but for others, this may be a drop the mic and walk off stage moment. I am personally ashamed that I was not aware of this old news. Here it is:

With Microsoft Office Online and OneDrive you can share documents with other that they can then edit online, with no sign-in required. Follow the link below for full details.

https://blogs.office.com/2013/02/08/sign-in-no-longer-required-to-edit-office-docs-in-skydrive/

Sadly, I am disappointed that I was not aware of this “old news.” For Pete’s sake, this was when OneDrive was called SkyDrive! Who remembers that?

This will make your online collaboration easier. No longer do other members of your team or volunteers have to have a Google or Dropbox account to add their input to your online document. With a secure link, your team members can collaborate on and editable online document. #MINDBLOWN


share a doc


 

QUICK STEPS:

  1. Create an office document (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) and save it to OneDrive.
  2. Right click on the document file to bring up the sharing options and click “Share a OneDrive Link.” By default the link is editable.
  3. Share that link with your team.

Everyone should now be able to edit the document regardless of whether they sign in to an office account. Of course, you could encourage everyone to make an office account. This makes tracking changes much easier when you know who made the change. Do this for your word documents, excel spreadsheets and PowerPoint documents to collaborate on your reports, analytics and presentations!

The ability to collaborate in this way is no good unless you have a plan. How might you plan to use this feature at your own workplace?

By the way, I love free software and features that make online collaboration with your teams easier. Please share in the comments what you are using to collaborate with your teams.

[ CTRL + SHIFT + V ] Sixty Percent of the Time, This Pasting Method Works Every Time

[CTRL + SHIFT + V]
Pressing [CTRL + Shift + V] after copying text from one document will often paste as plain text into your new document or application or give you the plain text pasting options.
Do you ever go berserk when copying and pasting text from one source to another?Many times when we are copying text from one document to the other, we prefer not to bring the original text formating over to the new document. You may be familiar with several different ways to paste into new documents or applications using plain text, but I am quickly going to offer a pasting option that is becoming standard in applications, as well as two other solutions that you should know about when the first option does not work. Having these options ready to go can greatly increase your typing and editing workflow.

[ CTRL + SHIFT + V ] Method

I came across this handy little shortcut while working in a program notorious for grabbing formatting from a copied text’s source — Adobe’s Dreamweaver.

Dreamweaver is an HTML editing software for web design. When it grabs formatted text from another source and pastes it into a web page, the result is usually a mess.

In one of the online help guides, I discovered that instead of hitting [CTRL + V], you can simply hit [CTRL + SHIFT + V], and the software will bring up plain text pasting options.

As it turns out, with a little more experimentation, I have found that many other programs (especially in the Adobe Creative Cloud suite) make use of the shortcut.

Where else? Content management systems (CMS) like Drupal, Joomla and WordPress know that when you select [CTRL + SHIFT + V], you want to paste unformatted text into the text editor.

This little trick doesn’t always work; hence the, ‘Sixty percent of the time…,’ but where programs are accepting this method, you can maximize your time spent curating and creating content.

Microsoft Word Method

As I mentioned above, [CTRL + SHIFT + V] doesn’t always work. For example, it does not work in Microsoft Word. However, Word and other programs in the office suite have some built-in short cuts that make it easier.

Microsoft Word Paste

First off, if more often than not you prefer to paste without text, you should simply change your default pasting option. Do this inside of Microsoft Word (2013 & Office 365) by going  to FILE > OPTIONS>ADVANCED. In the “Cut, copy, and paste” section, season to taste the following options:

  • Pasting within the same document
  • Pasting between documents
  • Pasting between documents when style definitions conflict
  • Pasting from other programs.

There are some other items you may want to tweak in this section as well. These options can be changed inside of Publisher, PowerPoint and other office programs.

Additionally, while [CTRL + SHIFT + V] does not work in Office program, you can still use the normal paste command, [CTRL + V]. After doing so, the paste options dialogue box displays. You can click on this box to open it and select your pasting option. Your three default options will be to keep source formatting, merge formatting and plain text only.

To speed up this process, learn the keyboard short cuts. After hitting  [CTRL + V], press the CTRL button on your keyboard, you will notice the paste options dialogue box opens up and displays all three options. The keyboard shortcuts for pasting options are as follows:

  1. Keep the source formatting – [K]
  2. Merge formatting – [M]
  3. Keep text only – [T]

The NotePad (Old School) Method

To do this quickly and effectively, you need to know some shortcuts and become comfortable with the work flow. The goal is to minimize the time spent using the mouse and taking your hands away from the keyboard.

This method is almost obsolete now since there are so many other, better options for pasting plain text. This method works for Windows users. Those using Mac and Linux would need to adapt the workflow below with the shortcuts and text editors for these operating systems.

In case you didn’t know though, pasting into Windows programs like NotePad will remove most formatting picked up in other software programs like Office. You can then recopy the text from NotePad and place it in the document that requires unformatted text. Here is generally the method and shortcuts I use to speed up this process.

  1. CTRL + C: Copy the original text from a document
  2. WINDOWS BUTTON: Type “NotePad” hit ENTER (This opens NotePad quickly)
  3. CTRL + V: This pastes into NotePad simultaneously removing the text formatting.
  4. CTRL + A: Selects all text in NotePad.
  5. CTRL + X: Cuts and copys all text from NotePad
  6. In order ALT – SPACEBAR – C (or ALT + F4): Closes Notepad.
  7. Go to document requiring unformatted text and select CTRL + V

Back in the day when it was more common to use the Notepad method, I had the above workflow down to seconds. It takes some practice to make this method fit into your workflow. Fortunately for you, in most situations, the previous two options I highlight in this post will work best.

There is a Google+ Community for That

Adobe Illustrator Club (Community) on Google+Do you need to learn or expand a skill, but aren’t interested in forking over the big bucks for training? Try joining a Google+ community.

Message boards and forums have long been on their way out. With Google+ communities, you can find like-minded individuals in your areas of interest that range from newbies to pros.

I am not a graphic designer or illustrator by trade, but I am interested in learning more about it as I often find myself needing to use software like Adobe Illustrator. And, while I have taken a few online courses through Lynda.com, my practical knowledge of Adobe Illustrator is limited.

What to do? What to do?

While touring around Google+, I was hearing a lot of buzz about the Communities feature. What a treasure trove I found!

I began joining several communities of interest to me. These included Social Media Marketing, Android and Adobe Illustrator Club. You find these communities to be categorized into several different topics, much like you would a message board or web forum. Beyond that, Google+ communities are leaps ahead of the old way of getting self help. Posting features like video, text, links, pictures and events make your experience on communities vastly superior to other “help” sites.

AIC-Community-Topics
Adobe Illustrator Club Topics

As I mentioned, the community is categorized by topics. You can interact in community discussions; view and share inspirational artwork; watch or make tutorials; grab a couple of freebies or see if there is an online or local event to attend. You can even search the community for a specific subject you are interested in learning more about. The search feature is powered by non other than the all-powerful Google, so you know its good. These categories are different for every community and are created by the community administrator.

Google+ communities have greatly increased my knowledge base and resources I need to do my job and support my hobbies and interests. You can even grow your personal and professional network as you make new acquaintances. This happened to me.

The Personal Touch

I had a question about Adobe Illustrator that needed answering. A fellow community member went out of his way to host a Google+ Hangout on Air to help me out. You can catch it here:

And that is another thing! The ability to connect “face-to-face” with another professional or enthusiast across the country and share your screen for demonstrations makes it all the better. I want to give a shout out to Bill Murphy who helped me and hosted this Google+ Hangout. You can find him by visiting his website www.billmurphy.ca. If you are into Adobe Illustrator or need someone to create stunning illustrations for you, he is well worth your time.

So whatever your interest may be, there is probably a Google+ Community for that. Go check it out. plus.google.com/communities

Google+ isn’t just for Google employees anymore.

Forget the Coffee Shop…Unless You Want Coffee

 

Need free internet access, and want to avoid noisy yuppy environments? How about a private area outside of your home and office to access the internet?

Apart from a great selection of books, movies and magazines, there is a good chance that your public library also has free Wifi access for library card holders. Take it a step further, and they may even have private rooms that can be reserved.

I found myself in need of just such a place a couple of months ago, when my ISP, who will remain unnamed, couldn’t give me a straight answer on how long my Internet would be down. I was getting ready to head to a venue with over priced coffee when the thought struck me that there are a lot of great resources at my local library. Free wifi is one of those resources. As an added bonus, I found out when I arrived that I can reserve a study room in 4-hour blocks. This was a perfect solution, and I now consider it my third office.

So the next time you need a remote office with wifi, consider your nearest public library!

Cooking with IFTTT

(This blog post is a supplement to my presentation given at the GSAE Annual Meeting on May 29, 2014 in Savannah, Georgia.)

Social media marketing, like regular communications and marketing, requires a lot of planning, time and resources to be executed effectively. This type of marketing can be especially difficult for associations where small staffs and limited volunteers are tasked with the big responsibility of engaging your audience (members and potential members) on the multitude of different social mediums that exist today. A whole separate blog post could be dedicated to whether your association should invest its social media muscle on specific platforms, but this post is for association management professionals who have two or three platforms that they utilize on a consistent basis for communicating with their audience and how they can maximize efficiency by “Cooking with IFTTT.”

IFTTT, pronounced like gift, but without the G, stands for “If this, then that.” According to IFTTT’s website, it is a service that lets you create powerful connections with that one simple statement, “If this, then that.”

We’re cooking what?

The entire “If this, then that” statement or equation is referred to as a recipe.

IFTTT Recipe

Anytime I create or borrow a recipe on IFTTT, I like to think I am cooking. Truly this is the only kind of cooking I do where something doesn’t end up bland or burnt. Pause as you take in the sarcasm and chuckle silently to yourself or hurl the metaphoric tomato as you contemplate the cheesy humor.

There are three main components of an IFTTT recipe; these are channels, triggers and actions.

The basic building blocks of IFTTT are channels.

IFTTT Channels

Channels are the mediums of communication, tools or services found on IFTTT but offered through other online platforms. Looking at IFTTT from strictly a social media perspective, this would include examples like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc. Channels can be both triggers or actions. IFTTT users access to more than 100 channels.

The If this portion of the statement involves the trigger. The trigger is what puts the entire IFTTT recipe into motion. For example, “If I tweet on Twitter.” In this example, Twitter is the channel being used, and the act of posting following certain parameters (see slide below) sets off this particular trigger.

Making a Trigger Fire

In this example the trigger can be set off by simply a new tweet, a tweet with a certain hashtag, a tweet from a certain location, a tweet with a link, anytime the user gets a new follower, or when the user favorites a tweet.

The then that component is the action. The action is what you would like IFTTT to do once a trigger has been detected. For example, “then post to Facebook.” In this instance, Facebook is the channel, and the post made to that channel is the action.

Ingredients are pieces of data from a trigger. In our Twitter example, this could be a tweet’s text, a tweet with no hashtag, the first link of a tweet, the username on the tweet account, a link to the tweet, the date and time it was created and/or the tweet embed code.

For those of us who aren’t up to speed on the Twitter lingo, you can use IFTTT for other services like email. Examples of ingredients from an email might be subject, body, attachment, received date, or sender’s address. Basically, ingredients are components that can be pulled from any of the available channels on IFTTT.

Ok, so I have all my components, how do I put it together?

Rather than bore you with all of the details, it may be a more efficient use of your time to review a great YouTube video explaining the whole process of putting together recipes.

 Great, but what can I do with it?

There is no short answer to this question. With over 100 channels, it is a statistical quagmire to try and figure out the number of recipes you can create.

For association management professionals, I would encourage you to consider unique ways that you might leverage the platform to automate and simplify your social media communications you are already implementing at your association. Start by reviewing which, if any, social media platforms you are currently using to connect with your members. Once you have them listed out, you can use the IFTTT community to start gathering ideas.

You can browse the abundance of recipes being created by other IFTTT users by visiting https://ifttt.com/recipes.

I would recommend browsing the extensive library of IFTTT recipes using the list of social media platforms your association currently uses. The search tool on the recipes page is a great tool for quickly finding the most popular and best recipes out there by simply typing in the channel you are interested in using. Here are some suggested recipes quickly highlighted during my presentation:

Suggested recipes

In the examples from the slide above, I offer suggestions like posting all links shared on LinkedIn to Facebook; posting your tweets to LinkedIn; sending a LinkedIn post to Twitter; and posts from your association’s Facebook page to LinkedIn.

These are limited examples and may not apply to your association. Don’t assume that because these were the example that I give, that these should be the platforms and recipes you should be using with your association.

You can even go beyond these “traditional” platforms to include services like YouTube for your association’s videos, or expedite the sharing of your latest blog posts using the WordPress or RSS channels.

 DON’T set it and forget it

Using IFTTT for your association’s social media isn’t a set it and forget it solution. Social media is about conversation. This requires you or your assigned staff or volunteer(s) to continuously monitor your channels looking for your audience members that have engaged with your message and interacting. This can be done by answering their questions, asking questions of your own or simply liking what they may post in response.

At the GSAE Annual Meeting Dianna Hairfield covered the basics of platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram. Christina Bowerman demonstrated how you might leverage platforms like Hootsuite to monitor your platforms, communicate across multiple platforms, schedule tweets and posts to stay on top of your Association’s social media message. IFTTT is simply another tool you can use as part of your social media toolkit to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of your online campaigns.

But, we’ve got nothing…

If posts, tweets and group discussions aren’t in your lexicon yet, that is ok. Start putting some thoughtful consideration into which platforms your members are on, and in what ways those platforms can help you achieve your association’s mission. Then align your association’s social media strategy with specific goals from your association’s strategic plan. Don’t worry, you too can be up and cooking in no time.

Get cooking!

I hope this post has been helpful to seasoned social media professionals and newbies alike. Maybe for association’s thinking about taking the plunge into social media, tools like IFTTT make the task seem not so daunting. Not only is IFTTT a powerful tool for social media communications, it is fun too! There are so many other Easter eggs waiting to be found, so go explore. Who knows, maybe you will have the next great IFTTT recipe that everyone just has to have. Happy cooking!

ifttt_wordmark_screen-a2b609fdfe466c31c205a117e3a35ef2

Don’t Take the Bait

 

The YouTube channel Minute Physics put out a great video today warning of a YouTube phishing scam. It is always important that you copy and paste the link text from email and untrusted sources into your browser instead of clicking on the link directly. These links can be cleverly disguised and take you to sites that look legitimate. Once there, you could provide sensitive info to the bad guys.  I would take the advice on this clip a step further by turning on two-step authentication on your Google accounts.

I have placed a link below that explains two-step verification from Google. Now practice safe linking by copying and pasting these links below into your address bar on your browser and not clicking on them directly.

Two-step authentication – https://support.google.com/accounts/answer/180744?hl=en

A Youtube Phishing Attack You Need to Watch Out F…: http://youtu.be/wJiQqphICfQ