A suggestion for improving communication within ISM affiliates. Suggestion resulted from conversations at the ISM leadership Workshop, June 2002.
Seminars and workshops on communication primarily focus on communicating with the public, potential members and others outside of the organization. However, there is another important part of communicating that we cannot ignore. How we communicate with each other, other officers, members and board members can be just as critical and make a big impact on affiliate operation. Incoming information from many sources can easily be missed or fall through the cracks.
While each officer and board member makes a commitment to keep up with news and information, it's easy to get distracted by the "day job" and miss something important. I suggest you set up an Internal Communication Team to focus on capturing and distributing incoming information.
Add any additional sources of information to the list. The purpose of this plan is not to relieve officers or committee chairs of their responsibility but to assist and remind them about important information.
P.S. I would also suggest you have the monitors get in the habit of copying important information directly to the newsletter editor. It has been my experience that sometimes committee chairs learn important facts, but forget that others in the affiliate may not have been on distribution or involved in the discussion.
What purpose does your affiliate newsletter serve? What do you want from your affiliate newsletter? News letters are often cited as one of the ways that the local affiliate adds value to membership, but the format, content and distribution remains the same, year after year. Affiliate officers spend quite a bit of time working on newsletters, but after all that, do we as members feel like the newsletter is worth reading?
If you aren't getting what you want from your affiliate newsletter, maybe it's time to talk with your officers about newsletter content. Here are some discussion topics and ideas.
Is the newsletter primarily just a notice about the next monthly program? If so, can it be shorter (and easier to read), more frequent (e.g.. 2 reminders each month instead of one) and distributed by email? If this is the primary purpose why would you ever delay the newsletter deadline for any other reason? Maybe program notices should be separate from the educational newsletter.
Does the newsletter include the latest activities of your affiliate offices and Board members? People often say they don't know what's going on, but I know many officers who agonize over newsletter articles each month. I think officer articles should be more succinct and written like a business report instead of a college essay. I like short bullets instead of long sentences. Also, why waste so much space and effort to make it an historical archive or make it cute?
If the newsletter is supposed to be
helpful to business professionals, does it include information about local
Supply Chain Educational opportunities -no matter who is offering them.
Monitor other affiliate web sites in your are or ask to be added to the
If the newsletter is supposed to be a resource for business professionals, why not add tools and information that they can use? There is an abundance of information available that can be cut and pasted into a newsletters. Articles, useful web sites resources, and tidbits on my web site are all fair game. [Every resource I've referenced in this newsletter could yield many professional development articles].
Cut and paste from the ISM Newsline, and synopsize ISM publications, reference articles and links from other affiliate web sites, Many professional web sites or consultants will authorize the use of, or provide, articles for newsletters (mine for example). Suggest your newsletter editor drop a line to consultants, or organizations and ask them if they offer articles or news notices. You'll get more than you could ever post.
Remember that only a relatively few people may have seen or it before so repetition of important information is a good thing.
How about having a contest like this among affiliate members. Send your most useful purchasing link to the newsletter editor. Each month we'll publish one and the person who submitted gets first in line for that month's meal.
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