Monthly Archives: April 2007

The Power of Sharing Your Goals

ShawneTVTen days ago, I wrote about planning to pick up the pace of my PR outreach. Last week, seemingly out of the blue, I was invited to attend some media training. Although we had a friend in common, I had never met the person extending the invitation.

(Strange coincidence or a result of my sharing? I’m not sure.)

Either way, this morning, I participated in one of the most fascinating media training programs I’ve ever attended presented by Shawne Duperon of ShawneTV.

Shawne, who has worked as a reporter and more, turned the tables on the people in the room – and gave us a peek into the life of a TV reporter. (She’s interviewing a participant in the photo.)

In less than three hours, Shawne transformed our view of the media from being simply a marketing outlet to be used – to reporters being people with whom we should build long-term relationships.

Shawne helped us to identify the masks we pick up when the nerves hit – and helped us to see what a difference it makes in an interview when we are authentic.  Shawne also spelled out step-by-step what we needed to do to get interviewed.

I could go on and on about what I learned today – and will share my success stories as they occur.  I’m also excited to see the additional momentum that results as I share my progress on my PR goal.

As chapter leaders you often have some very specific goals in mind. You may mention them in passing to your leadership team or chapter members. 

How often do you go into detail about specifically what kind of help you can use – and let your members help you?

Imagine the time you could save if your members didn’t have to try to read your mind!

Have ever found your workload easing just by letting others know what you were working on?

I’m Almost Too Embarrassed to Share This…

Cynthia D’Amour oh my!But I’m hoping you will learn from my almost mistake.

This weekend, I spoke at a leadership conference at a resort that I was not familiar with. As is my usual habit, I decided to check out what the good folks at TripAdvisor had to say about.

TripAdvisor has been a great tool for me to learn about locations. The feedback from other travelers has never let me down before…

However, when I looked up this resort, the comments were less than stellar. In fact, many of them were not very good at all.

So, I worried – and was confused. (The association I was working with is known for taking their leaders to beautiful resorts.)

As the plane landed on Friday, I almost dreaded getting to the hotel. What if it was as bad as the other travelers had claimed?

When the taxi pulled into the driveway, I looked up and saw a beautiful property. Something in me snapped (thank goodness!) and I decided to go expecting an amazing experience.

And that’s exactly what I got…

From the gentleman who helped me with my luggage to the registration desk clerk who seemed pleased to meet me and put me in a lovely room. Throughout my stay, the staff was extremely helpful.

I almost blew it. It would have been SO EASY to go in believing what others had said – and treating the staff as if I expected a great challenge as was thus on the defensive. UGH!!!

It made me think about being a chapter leader. You may often hear critiques of members – “Oh this one is a real pain” “George is good for nothing”, etc. 

It is easy to just take the information at face value and act accordingly.  However, as I experienced this weekend, reviewers may have good intentions – and be off the mark!

Have you ever had an experience like mine and gave someone (or a lovely resort) the benefit of the doubt?

The Answer to My Dreams Exists

Betty BrigadeI just found the answer to my dreams.

Have you ever felt like you just have too much stuff on your plate – and some of it is the stuff you really don’t like to do?  For me, it’s the detail type work. Or planning an event when I’m already on overdrive.

Well, today, I began a year-long volunteer commitment to the ATHENA PowerLink® program  in Ann Arbor. 

With this program, a fast-tracking small business is identified by the sponsoring body. An advisory panel team is pulled together to mentor the owner for a year. Our panel has a banker, an HR person, a CPA and several successful business owners. I bring the marketing expertise to the table.

Our featured business is The Betty Brigrade which is owned by Sharon McRill. Sharon’s company offers a personal concierge-type service that does everything from walk the dog to plan weddings! (Sharon must have tapped into my dreams!)

Today was our kick-off meeting. Sharon presented information about her business and we asked questions.

I was fascinated with the variety of questions asked by panel members – often reflecting a person’s background. We bounced all over the board – from cash flow to marketing issues.

Made me think about chapters… It is quite common for chapter members to be similar in backgrounds or passions or interests.

Does anyone have an advisory panel of community members or people of different professions? I wonder what opportunities those outside your normal chapter membership might see for you?

Properly Minding One’s Ps and Qs

Marci RaverHow well do you mind your Ps and Qs?  According to my parents, this means using good manners.

Last night, I attended a program featuring Marci Raver, CEO and Chief Etiquette Officer for Contemporary Etiquette who lead us through an interesting hour-long discussion about how to properly give thank to others.

Did you know you should only say “thanks” once in a thank you note? “Thanks again” as a close isn’t proper – nor is asking for a favor in your note. (Feeling in your element? Test your knowledge with Marci’s Etiquette Quiz.)

We talked about the best and worst thanks we had received.

A lack of thanks was easily cited as the worst thanks given. One person mentioned she had been waiting 14 years for a thank you for a wedding gift! Shame, shame!

Receiving unexpected thanks was easily the room’s favorite type of thanks.

Growing up, my dad was a stickler about manners so much of what I heard was a review of sorts. Marci’s talk did give me an important reminder about the gift one gives when sending a note of thanks – especially a handwritten note.

Made me think of being involved in a chapter… There are so many people who give in order to make a chapter work. How do you thank those who help you?

My Computer Showed Who’s the Boss Today!

Computer Error miniAt 12:45 PM today, I discovered my laptop locked in The Twilight Zone – AUGHHH!!! I felt like I was on the show!

My computer would not turn off – or allow me to access any programs. All I could see was a lovely photo of Raindrop, our dog – and none of my desktop files!

I knew if I could restart the computer, the problem would be probably solved.

The biggest cause of my intense stress in the moment? At 1 PM, I was to facilitate a phone call of about 20 people.

My call in and password numbers were on my calendar – in my frozen computer!

James and I scrambled to find an alternative route to get me on the call. He worked on his computer while I cheered on my computer’s reboot efforts – and tried to keep my lunch down!

At 1:05 PM, I finally (luckily) had access to the information I needed and was able to join the call in session. Thankfully another team mate had started the discussion so everything was running smoothly.

Whew!  Only a few people knew I was supposed to be the volunteer facilitator. (Ironically, just yesterday, I had spoken to a friend about being my back up.)

I believe I received a warning from the universe today about needing to be rigorous about backing up my information. We always have client commitments saved in multiple ways. Today drove home the point I need to do more.

As a chapter leader, how do you ensure smooth sailing in the face of potential downed computers? Do you back up your important work?  Do you make sure that your leaders who are running important events for you always have a “Plan B”?

Toddler Art Fuels New Ideas

Toddler artHave you ever had a writer’s block – but for a problem you needed to solve?

I’ve been having a thinking block for the last few days. I hate when it happens. I wondered if part of the cause was plain old information overload…

According to a white paper on The Expanding Digital Universe, the amount of digital information created, captured and replicated in 2006 was equal to 161 billion gigabytes. Whew!

Okay, most of the digital information is in the form of music, pictures and video – it doesn’t quite fit the bill for the volume of what’s been in front of me.

This weekend, James and I decided to have a late lunch at a place that caters to thinking.

The walls are brightly colored. The room has lots of windows and children’s artwork on the walls intermixed with company news. The tables could be found in an old-fashioned study hall.

Lots of space to spread out – and think!

We sat there and talked for more than two hours. 

The location combined with conversation was almost as good as massage for loosening up my mind – and starting the brain cells flowing.

As I relaxed into the environment, that which had been eluding me for the last few days suddenly fell into place. I could identify the next steps I needed to take. Everything seemed much clearer – and easy.

Moving forward, James and I plan to find a few places where we can regularly go to in order to get the fresh perspective I needed this weekend – sort of a preventative medicine for thought blockage.

Made me think of chapter leaders. Has your regular meeting place become mind-numbing for members? What about your board meetings? Does the environment support creative thinking for your strategic issues?

Want More Cynthia?

Cynthia D'Amour

Enter your email address here and get Cynthia's posts sent directly to you: