Re: The Problem with STC - LONG

Subject: Re: The Problem with STC - LONG
From: John Posada <jposada01 -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Sun, 10 Dec 2000 07:26:59 -0800 (PST)

> > I think they are really more of a
> > social club than a professional club.
> Never thought about it before, but it does seem that
> way... Sure, you have trade publications, but at least
> in my area activity is low. We have meetings every
> once in a while, but none were overly informative.
> They are more of a social gathering with a topical
> epicenter. But who knows... that could all change.
> I've only been a member for about a year...

I'm not a member of STC now, but was several years ago, as Employment
Committe Mgr. Previously, I also held positions in other professional
association chapters, including President of the Sacramento chapter
of AIIM (Association of Information and Image Management) and
VP/Programs and Newsletter Editor of ARMA (Association of Records
Managers and Administrators). In AIIM, I had over 350 chapter members
and an average of 60 people at each monthly meeting, and in ARMA,
about 240/40.

Couple of observations.

1) You get out of it what you put into it. I know this is a cliche,
but it is pretty accurate. If you show up to a meeting with the
attitude of "Learn Me Something", it won't happen. However, if you
join looking for a specific kind of experience, you will find it. As
a contractor, I wanted to get agency contacts. I'm still intouch with
several contacts that I made.

2) People hate when vendors USE meetings for their own personal sales
pitches. I used to be a vendor, attended those meetings, and hated
when they did it. As president of the chapters, it was HOW I
structured the vendor participation. The problem is that vendors
bring new stuff (ideas, products, procedures). We want their
participation and their "stuff", but we don't want them to do their
job. They also bring attendence when they are handled correctly.

It is also the easy way out for the program manager to fill up a
program slate. Every vendor wants the opportunity to speak about
their product for free, so you call, they say yes. However, the hard
part is to find speakers who don't have anything to sell. People
complain when the chapter meeting fee gets above a certain amount.
OTOH, let's say you were to raise the meeting fee to $27-$30 per
meeting and use the money to have a sit-down lunch and ship speakers
in...maybe even pay for airfare and expenses (would you pay $35 every
month for people such as Horton or Schriver...keep in mind that you
might have to pay that level of speaker $1000 plus airfare. Would you
get more out of it then $5, some tired cheese and crackers, and no
NEW information? This is how I changed my meetings when I became pres
and the attendence went from 20 people to 60 people, sometimes coming
close to 100. However, it was alot of work to arrange it.

John Posada, Senior Technical Writer
"I'm not flying. I'm falling...with style."
-- Buzz Lightyear
mailto:john -at- tdandw -dot- com, 732-259-2874

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