Daily Buzz: Manage Member Expectations

Unclear communications can leave members guessing—and disappointed if their expectations aren’t met. Also: networking tips from Terry Gross.

We all have expectations, and there is nothing worse than feeling let down. To avoid members feeling misled or disappointed in your association, it’s important to manage expectations and communicate clearly—whether or not you have all the information.

“When you don’t have exact information for things—for example, an exact date or an exact schedule—it can be tempting to want to use fluff language,” says Callie Walker on the MemberClicks blog. “But that can lead to trouble because fluff language is often vague and open to interpretation.”

Instead, Walker recommends underpromising rather than overdelivering. “Think about it: If you tell someone you’ll do something in the next 24 hours, but it takes you a week, that person is likely to be pretty frustrated,” she says. “But on the flip side, if you tell them you’ll do something in a week, but then you actually complete it in the next 24 hours, they’re likely to be pleasantly surprised.”

Another tip: Don’t be afraid to overcommunicate. “People don’t always read our emails or login to their member profiles,” Walker says. “Therefore, if a message is really important (for example, the date of something changed or the location of an event changed), it’s better to overcommunicate than it is to undercommunicate.”

Talking Tips from Terry Gross

The key to successful networking: talking to people. And nobody better to give a lesson in talking than Terry Gross, host and co-producer of NPR’s Fresh Air program.

For one, open the conversation with “Tell me about yourself”—the only icebreaker you’ll ever need, Gross told The New York Times. More pointed questions (e.g., “Where do you work?”) can feel presumptuous.

And if you don’t have anything in response, have no fear. “If somebody is asking you questions and you don’t feel that you have a strong response for it, say, ‘Let me share an experience,’” Gross says. Then, from there, you can share something that points to your own talents.

Other Links of Note

Transforming one-time volunteers into long-term partners starts with a sustainable volunteer program, from Nonprofit Hub.

Meetings that don’t stay on time wreak havoc on attendees and event partners, says meetings designer and facilitator Adrian Segar.

Feeling underappreciated at work? Fast Company outlines how to make your contributions known by the people who matter.

(LumineImages/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Jeff Hsin

By Jeff Hsin


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