By Walter Boomsma,
First, a reminder that the “Clip and Win” Contest entry deadlines are coming up soon. Eligible articles will have been published from. March 1, 2014 until September 15, 2014. Please review the entry guidelines and make sure your entry is mailed so it arrives no later than October 1, 2014 to be eligible. The entry guidelines include a short form to complete. Entries must be mailed to Walter Boomsma, 17 River Road, Abbot ME 04406. Do not mail to state headquarters!
The Leadership Meeting on September 6 featured some thoughts on how leaders communicate, including a communications “formula.” One of the key points of that formula was that effective communication eliminates jargon–something we have plenty of in our Grange! Participants were given a meeting announcement that included a considerable amount of jargon and were asked to eliminate it. (If you’d like a copy of the exercise, let me know (waltermainestategrangeorg) !)
We also considered a question: is there a difference between a “meeting” and a “program?” I once had a non-member explain to me that when she read an event listing in the newspaper she assumed “meetings” are for members; “programs” are for the public. It’s an interesting distinction and one we should consider. You may not agree with her, but we need to be sensitive to how other people think and feel when we are attempting to communicate.
Most have heard that old standby “I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I’m not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.” (Attributed to Robert McCloskey.) Some would suggest that “words don’t mean, people give meaning.”
Janice and I managed to visit a number of fairs this year and we of course try to check out Grange Exhibits. These exhibits are yet another form of communication and it’s great to see more and more exhibits including “handout” material that fair-goers can reach and take with them. We did, however, see some rather old material–including some membership applications that are clearly outdated. This “inspired” me to check on the application we have available on the website and I believe it would benefit from some updates! I’d like your help.
One major change I thought we’d made is to “downplay” the Maine State Grange parts. I’ve actually had several people hand me back this application with the comment, “I don’t want to join the State Grange, I want to join your Grange.” (They don’t understand that joining a local Grange means you are also joining state and national. This is really a question of emphasis. I think our priority is to get people to join local Granges.)
The obvious challenge is to create a brochure that is adaptable to local Granges–either with a rubber stamp or sticker, then have some state Grange contact information as back up. I’m also told that very few people join the Grange because of the “benefits” offered such as BJ Wholesale Club Membership and we might better include more “intrinsic” benefits.
What do you think? While it’s important to remember people do not join because of a brochure or application, we should be putting our best foot forward. Any thoughts or ideas you have will be appreciated. You can email me (waltermainestategrangeorg) ; comment on this post (click the top right corner of the post to open a comment window); send a note, or call. As a thought-starter, how would you finish this sentence: “They Grange is…?” What I’m looking for is a description of what the Grange means to you as a member.
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