Daily Buzz: How to Explain Mistakes to Members

Association professionals are human, and they make mistakes. How you handle talking about those mix-ups can pave the way to better member relations. Also: Career success is about more than passion.

Let’s face it: Even the most experienced team makes mistakes. And when they do happen, it’s important to be transparent with members about the error—and how you’re going to fix it.

Sure, there’s no easy way to say “We messed up,” but acting swiftly and owning up to the problem can establish more trust in your member relations.

“Regardless of what you say or how minor the ‘whoops’ was, a best practice is to reach out ASAP,” says Callie Walker from the MemberClicks blog. “Email is typically the best method for this, as it’s a quick and easy way to reach your entire membership.”

As for what you should say about the mistake, well, that depends on how critical the error.

“If it was something as minor as getting the date wrong in one of your emails, then there’s really no need to go into a long explanation,” Walker says. “But if it was something that caused a bit more of an inconvenience to your members, then an explanation may help.” She recommends outlining why the mistake happened, what you’ve done or are doing to correct the situation, and any next steps—but only providing details as needed.

“If there’s only one takeaway you get from this, it should be that the lines of communication between you and your members should always be open,” Walker says. “And like we mentioned, email is typically the best tool for that.”

You Need More Than Passion

“Passion” is often a key ingredient to a successful career, but it’s just that—one ingredient in the overall recipe.

“Popular advice says that to be successful you just need to follow your passion, which implies that doing something that is driven simply by your interest will be enough to propel your career and financial needs,” says Bruce Eckfeldt on Inc. “While it’s nice to think that it’s that easy, the fact is it’s not.”

Other than drive, Eckfeldt says mastery of a skill and reasonable market demand drive a successful career.

Other Links of Note

Storing event data in your association management system can deepen the member experience and ease your resources, says the MemberSuite blog.

Research shows that young professionals prefer the convenience of email newsletters. The Personify blog offers ideas on how to refresh email content.

Rethink the traditional conference Q&A format to improve engagement and streamline your meeting, says meetings designer and facilitator Adrian Segar.

(Deagreez/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Jeff Hsin

By Jeff Hsin


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