July 9, 2015

Beyond the Faces

Today's guest blogger is Ann Garvey from Charlotte, Michigan. Ann is a builder and associate member, with her own comapny A & J Construction and Consulting (Builder) and Associate membership under EA Habitat for Humanity.

Ann is also the current National Association of Home Builders' (NAHB) Public Affairs and Association Communications Committee Chairman and the reason for her message today is all about how we communicate and what is needed to secure helpful delivery of information as well as dialogue that keeps NAHB's motor humming.
Ann Garvey

 Beyond the Faces
by Ann Garvey, CGA, CSP, 

Sometimes, as much as you'd like to meet face to face, certain factors cross that communication road that gives pause to seeking alternatives. 

There was a great discussion at the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Spring Board during the first week of June. In a one line summary, on a trial basis not to extend past one meeting (Fall Boards) the sub committee work of the standing committees would be conducted by webinars.
This caused some angst among the members who believe sub committee work is vital to the effort and therefore should be in person. Count me as one of them. However the trial basis of webinars had already begun a few years back with all types of NAHB virtual offerings so this should not really be new.

Make absolutely no mistake; face to face meetings have amazing power. You get to say something and then watch for reactions. You know, smiles, nodding of agreement, raised eyebrows, looks of bewilderment, maybe looks of aggravation and disgust. The point is facial expressions as a reaction sets the tone for the next moment; discussion. It is in these face to face meetings that ideas blossom, are given momentum and goals are achieved and initiatives continued.

Nothing can replace face to face meetings. Nothing. But, if done correctly and with the proper tools, webinars come pretty close. Just what are the tools?
  • A very good internet connection speed
  • A laptop, desktop, iPad or similar device or smart phone with the right app
  • A good webcam
  • Good listening skills when it comes to taking direction/instruction
  • Following through with webinar procedure and protocol
I understand that for some there is an extra benefit involved with face to face meetings; the pre and post meeting networking and continuing of relationship building. I also realize that webinars aren't to be the complete be all/end all for the face to face meetings but think of some of the benefits of webinars;
  • Time saver. When the webinar starts is when you start the meeting. When it's over, meeting is over, back to your day job.
  • Face to face restores lost hours in drive time. Drive is easily an hour to many hours to the state HBA, wait for meeting to start, then drive back the same amount of time. That's is productive income producing business time that is gone. Maybe family time if overnight is needed due to size of state.
  • For the NAHB discussion; fly time requires rides to the airport, wait for boarding, wait for take off, actual in the air time, off loading time, wait for baggage time, get a taxi time and then drive to hotel or NAHB designated meeting room. And... we do it all over again after the meeting. Did I mention hotel time which leads to...
  • Added expenses of face to face. The bullet point above costs dollars, lots of dollars. Webinar costs, for a start-up rookie, are minimal compared to the hard costs of traveling to face to face.
  • Webinars can be recorded so the committee member can always go back and replay. Face to face we are subject to the minute taker's grasp of what's important to record. 
  • At the national level, engaging the members who are observing but would love to take part in discussions. Also, there may be members who had attended national meetings but now, for what ever reason, can no longer participate. What a great way to reengage!
  • At the state or local level, you may gain interest for members who can only take part by webinar so inviting them to national webinars is an EXCELLENT way to bring the grassroots into play.
I love the face to face discussions and I would not support eliminating any of them. However, once in awhile, don't you feel like you wish the meeting was shorter and more convenient as it relates to your business and personal time?



1 comment:

Dianne Beaton said...

Great article Ann Garvey! Many of our small business owners would love to participate in the NAHB dialogue but simply cannot afford to leave their businesses or make the investment....they will be our "boots on the ground advocates" if only we can engage them!