Daily Buzz: What Elmo Can Do for Associations

Meetings can easily get sidetracked. The ELMO technique can reign in the conversation and keep the meeting productive. Also: Let data guide organizational tech improvements.

We’ve all been in meetings that go off the deep end—that is, a meeting that gets undeniably off topic to the point of no return. That’s where ELMO comes in.

“No, I’m not talking about the cute red Muppet. ELMO stands for ‘Enough! Let’s Move On,’” says nonprofit thought leader Beth Kanter. “It is a ritual or organizational norm that can be used during meetings to avoid unnecessary discussions that don’t support the meeting objectives.”

To use the strategy successfully, Kanter suggests instructing people to silently raise their hands if they notice the conversation veering toward a rabbit hole. Then, as people notice that someone has his or her hand up and is not talking, they should also raise their hands. As more participants join in, it will become obvious to any time-wasters to steer the conversation back to the intended topic.

“Another way to accomplish this is to assign the role of ‘Rabbit Hole Monitor,’” Kanter says. “The rabbit hole monitor is someone who is tasked with making sure discussions on one topic do not drag the whole meeting down a rabbit hole. If people are digressing or spending too much time on a topic which doesn’t merit the discussion, the rabbit hole monitor stops the discussion and brings the meeting back on track.”

Thus, your meeting is instantly saved—and more productive—all thanks to ELMO.

Leverage Data to Understand Tech Needs

Implementing organization-wide technological improvements starts with data. What does your association need to succeed, and what can technology do to get it from point A to point B? To answer this question, look at your processes and talk with team members to get a more robust understanding of internal processes.

“Having that user research helps start off iterative conversations,” says Harry Rothmann in a post for Association Success. “No process is too small to rethink how you do things. It doesn’t have to be about building a whole new website. If you can rewire the everyday processes that take up your staff’s time and energy over many different tasks and functions, overall your organization can benefit.”

Then, come time to execute technology changes, leverage what you learned. “Use your iterative steps as opportunities for corrective action,” Rothmann says.

Other Links of Note

Email can improve your marketing strategy, and it can amplify your social strategy too. The Sprout Social blog explains.

Looking to engage with more people in their 20s? One 20-something offers advice on how to best connect with the generation, from Nonprofit Hub.

Ask these five questions to ensure your next project is met with success, says the Bloomerang blog.

You might be thinking of this Elmo, but we have another one in mind. (Richarles Moral/Pexels)

Jeff Hsin

By Jeff Hsin


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