Thursday Buzz: Talk to Members in the Right Voice

A journalism-focused membership project says that you'll get further in your communications with a tone that suggests friendship. Also: How to deal with difficult people in meetings.

The news industry, with its recent focus on membership, is starting to push forth some interesting ideas on the topic.

Case in point: The Membership Puzzle Project, an endeavor of New York University and the Dutch news organization De Correspondent. Funded by the Knight Foundation, the Democracy Fund, and First Look Media, the project is offering a lot of interesting ideas about membership these days, and those ideas translate nicely to associations.

For example, this recent blog post by Emily Goligoski makes a case about tone and voice when it comes to your members. The basic idea here: If you’re asking someone to be a member, it requires a transactional relationship that goes beyond simply talking down and is closer to talking with.

“In a world where anyone can give a ‘friend’ designation with a click, we’re interested in deeper two-way knowledge exchange that conveys familiarity and trust,” Goligoski explains. “This begins with carefully considered communications from publishers: communications that don’t just try to be interesting to audience members but that convey interest in them and their news needs.”

Media organizations know a whole lot about voice. Associations know a lot about membership—collectively, there is a lot of potential right in the middle to learn from one another.

Neutralize Difficult People

Feel like your internal meetings go off the rails because of the personalities in the room? That can be tough, but there are strategies to getting around all that.

The WildApricot blog shares thoughts on the matter from nonprofit leadership pro Margaret Sumption, who suggests that each personality type requires its own tricks.

“In my almost 30 years of working with nonprofits, I’ve realized most difficult people can be grouped into six categories,” Sumption writes. “I’ve also been able to refine a system to assess, understand, and successfully bring out the best in each of these types of people.”

Check out her post to learn more about the system.

Other Links of Note

Don’t like buzzwords? This post from the Event Manager Blog might either be cathartic or incredibly nerve-wracking.

If you’re wondering what Facebook Stories might actually be useful for, the company might have an answer—they’re making it possible to move Instagram Stories straight to Facebook. No double duty.

Performance reviews aren’t fun, especially when your personality is the thing getting critiqued. Lifehacker has some thoughts on how to best handle those critiques.

(pseudodaemon/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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