“A Million Little Things”
There is a TV show on ABC titled “A Million Little Things”, maybe you have seen it. It’s about a group of friends living in Boston, Ma and how each of them has life events affecting them individually and as a group. The phrase is a description of what friendship is to them. It’s not one Big Thing; it’s a “Million Little Things”.
The same can be said for having an outstanding chapter in AmSpirit Business Connections and being an outstanding networker yourself. Following are the beginnings of ‘a million little things’ that chapters and individuals do on a regular basis to build winning cultures and groups.
Culture, Character Traits, and Habits of Outstanding Chapters
During the weekly meetings:
- Start on time every time.
- Utilize the full 1 hour 15 minutes for the meeting.
- Do not have side conversations while the meeting is in progress.
- Attention is on the speaker(s), not on smartphones.
- Success stories every week detailing referral activity either giving or receiving.
- Printed agendas for every meeting distributed to all attendees.
- Board members are prepared to give their respective officer reports, and if not able to attend, they have instructed their back up person to deliver their report for them. Not acceptable to say ‘Bob’s not here, so no report’…
- 30 second commercials should be just that, not 2 minutes…
- Speaker introduction forms should be used every week to properly introduce the speaker.
- Speaker evaluation forms should be distributed at every meeting so feedback on the weekly presentation can be given back to the weekly speaker.
- Chapters should rarely have any meeting where there is not at least one guest, even if from another chapter.
- A good portion of the membership arrives 15 minutes early to greet any guests that may arrive and make them feel welcomed.
- Outstanding chapters rarely cancel meetings unless inclement weather conditions are the cause.
- A guestbook is present at every meeting for guests to sign in with their name and contact info. The membership chairperson uses this guestbook as their sales funnel for the chapter. They follow up with weekly guests with a phone call, not an email, to see if the guest has questions and whether they are interested in visiting again or possibly joining.
- Outstanding chapters strive every year to be recognized as a GOLD chapter in AmSpirit Business Connections. They do not view the criteria as a ‘to do’ list merely to check off, but embrace the activities because they see the value in doing them period.
- Outstanding chapters utilize social media to keep the followers informed as to what’s going on in the chapter and to promote their group.
- If necessary, the chapter leadership of outstanding chapters will address problems with any individual member directly and professionally. They do not ignore problems with any member and hope it resolves itself.
- Outstanding chapters will regularly seek out support and advice from their Area Director to see ‘what else can we do to be better?’ rather than view any and all AmSpirit guidelines as a nuisance and seek ways to avoid them.
Outside of the weekly meetings:
1. Members always meet with their lunch buddy every month.
2. Members attend area wide AmSpirit hosted events as much as possible. When attending, they have a ‘Giver’s Mindset’. They seek to connect others, not prospect the room for their own interests.
3. Members actively look to uncover referrals for their fellow chapter members every day of the week, not just at the chapter meeting.
4. Chapter Secretaries are sure to enter the referrals into the AmSpirit web site ASAP after the last month of the meeting, so that the monthly performance report can be printed and distributed at the monthly board meeting on the first meeting each month.
5. Outstanding chapters have a monthly board meeting the same time every month during the year (Towne Centre holds board meetings the first Wednesday every month, North Outerbelt holds board meetings the first Thursday every month without exception unless holiday conflicts occur). It’s optimal to hold board meetings the first part of every month. It is not effective to review last month’s numbers from the Chapter Performance Report if you are reviewing them with only a week left in the next month. That leaves little time to make improvements the following month after a bad month.
6. Some Outstanding Chapters ensure referrals are entered weekly and regularly utilize a weekly tracking sheet to review what chapter members are doing every week to be successful. Example of a weekly tracking sheet may be viewed at http://abctownecentre.com/weekly-goals-tracking/
7. Outstanding chapters have a regularly scheduled social every month and members aspire to attend as many as possible to further build know, like, and trust with fellow members.
8. Follow a strict process of guests visiting 3 times. At their 3rd visit, they should submit their application and payment for membership if they wish to join the chapter. They do not take a vote on any prospective member until the membership chairperson has been given an application along with a form of payment.
9. Guests should be vetted to ensure that they will be a good fit for the chapter. Outstanding chapters rely on AmSpirit HQ and Area Directors to provide any information if a prospective member is a past member or transferring from another chapter so that the chapter has a bit of background on any prospect’s track record as a networker and whether any money is owed to the person’s previous chapter.
10. Outstanding chapters submit new member applications in a timely manner to AmSpirit HQ right after the 3rd visit of any guest who has been voted upon.
11. Do not qualify guests before inviting them to attend a weekly meeting.
12. They actively will invite guests to attend other chapters, not just their own.
13. When presenting a new member with their membership certificate, take a photo and announce on social media welcoming the new member. Better yet, some outstanding chapters also frame the certificate so the certificate is given more importance; rather than it being a piece of paper that is lost or discarded.
14. Membership chairpersons notify AmSpirit HQ asap whenever a chapter member resigns their membership. The purpose is so that the departing member does not continue being invoiced for a membership that has been discontinued.
15. Outstanding chapters have local dues in addition to national dues. Why? Throughout the year chapters have other expenses (paying for social events, frames for member certificates, raffle tickets, service bell, chapter business cards and handouts, printing speaker evaluation forms, etc.) If chapters have little to no money in their treasury, they skimp on a lot of the little things that contribute to looking professional as a group.
Character Traits and Habits of Outstanding Chapter Members
1. Think of how to help others first.
2. Develop great listening skills.
3. Qualify the referrals that they give to others, do not provide low quality leads.
4. Never schedule over top of their weekly chapter meeting, unless absolutely unavoidable. They treat their weekly meeting as if they’re meeting with an important client.
5. Outstanding chapter members consider their weekly meeting as important as any other client meeting and treat it with the same respect they would give to their best client.
6. Outstanding chapter members have a positive attitude and do not air grievances before, during, or after weekly meetings.
7. Outstanding chapter members view themselves as members of an organization and take advantage of building know, like, and trust with as many members of AmSpirit Business Connections as time permits. Visiting other chapters, attending monthly luncheons provide a higher likelihood of finding more referrals for others. What also occurs, though, is more cross chapter referrals coming back to them.
8. Follow up on referrals given to them in a timely fashion
9. Provide feedback to their fellow members on referrals that they have received from them. If the referral was sketchy, outstanding members do not hesitate to discuss why it was not a good referral for them so quality will improve in the future.
10. Outstanding members will actively help a fellow member who may be struggling and mentor them.
11. Outstanding members pay their national and local dues in a timely fashion.
12. Outstanding members utilize the AmSpirit web site almost like ‘Angie’s List’. Whenever a resource is needed they review the web site to see if there is anyone in the directly who may be able to help them. Some categories are very easy to refer to because we all use those products/services regularly anyway. Florists, car repair, lawncare, landscapers, handymen, plumbers, electricians, etc.
13. Outstanding members recognize that when guests are present at their weekly meetings that they present themselves at an even higher level of professionalism than normal. Off color jokes and sarcasm may sometimes be a bit over the top and can derail the chapter’s efforts to recruit quality members. Meetings are meant to be fun, but not at the expense of growing the chapter and attracting high quality business people.
14. Outstanding members ‘do what they say they are going to do’. They do not make promises to either the chapter or to fellow members and then not follow through. Standing up their lunch buddy, signing up to attend a social and not showing up are just a couple examples.