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Tag: External Partnerships

Preparation for National Convention

November 12th, 2015 by Mary Kay Hyde-Bohn

I had the chance to go to my first trade show in the ‘disaster’ industry last month, out of town, and did not know if any local ACP chapter members attending. Ever Onward!

One has to consider the cost of attending one of these events – both financially and time-wise.

  • Will the education from speakers add to my mental and physical libraries?
  • Will my cousin be available to host me (offset the hotel bill)?
  • Can I get a good airfare?
  • Will I find interesting exhibitors?
  • Will I see anyone I know from other industries?

I did a quick review with my CPA on what would be deductible or not (and some items that are only 50% deductible), so I had the start of a budgeting process.

  • Entrance fee
  • Airfare
  • Meals not covered at event
  • COFFEE
  • Transportation back/forth to event
  • Trinkets to bring home

What to pack:

  • Appropriate layers for outside the event.
  • More layers for inside the ‘refrigerator’ convention center that will fit in my tote
  • PC, new travel surge protector, several thumb drives
  • All the charger cables for phone, PC and tablet
  • Comfortable shoes (2 pair) to switch each day
  • Materials to share (business cards, BCPWest rack cards and more business cards)
  • Folder with agenda, map/list of exhibitors and pre-event postcards and solitations

The trip report:

I registered during the first ½ day – out of 4, and while organizing my tote ran into several folks from the local ACP chapter! We had similar list of classes so we compared our ‘2nd choices’ and agreed to divide and conquer, sharing notes later so we had better coverage of the 4 days – yeah!

Several of the seminars provided handouts or links to grab the handout later – wise choice. The event also had links to several of the main speakers, but not full coverage. The fellow attendees were always checking their phones for ‘hot situations’ back home, so were interrupting with questions covered in previous minutes — really irritating. I made a practice of checking email only on breaks so I could get the ‘full message’ while in session.

Exhibitor Hall was full of enterprise level products, so I challenged those companies to consider the smaller companies or the suppliers/vendors/contractors to the big companies – it takes all of them to keep production rolling. I had a list of vendors that I wished to ask about scaling for the small/medium business and found them to be interested in the conversation.

I have been listening to many webinars provided by several of the exhibitors and made sure to thank them for the continuing education – I have been able to forward several presentations to appropriate customers. The SWAG was normal stuff and I would load up on the last afternoon, so I would not have to carry the weight around and the exhibitors are willing to share so they don’t have to take home!

We are going to add a new tab to the web site called ‘Community Resources’ that will have listings, links and descriptions of products or service companies that I have found over the years. These are NOT endorsements, merely information for you and your team to consider.

Communicate always and all ways!

August 15th, 2015 by Mary Kay Hyde-Bohn
Example of not wanting to have the conversation about Continuity or Disaster planning.

These 3 Buddha’s are sitting back, covering their eyes, mouth and ears. Just like an otherwise savvy business person … who does not want to have the critical conversation about Continuity or Disaster planning.

The last two months have been a flurry of webinars with similar themes – you have to communicate during a Crisis to your employees, your customers, vendors, suppliers and local/regional community! The right words and the right media for individual audiences or public/strangers will fill the void with inaccurate misinformation – in other words, info-trash that will ruin your business or your reputation!

The after-event internal reviews have consistently brought up communication omissions or shortfalls to all audiences. The clean-up work due to misinformation or false information may take months to correct.

To summarize the main points of the discussions/webinars (not in any order):

DO’s

  • Define your audiences (internal & external)
  • Define the best method to reach each audience in times of crisis (may be different by audience)
  • Have draft texts ready for use by audience, type and severity of event(s)
  • Respect the gravity/severity of each event
  • Create checklists for each phase of crisis & decide communication actions
  • Create, train & exercise the team doing the Crisis Communicating; create team structure (authority or approval levels) and backups.
  • Make sure Communication team has IT authority to update media formats (add & remove)
  • Have plan for press/media conference room, if appropriate; all else is electronic if power is available.
  • Inform and train the employees on where to receive and send information
  • Communicate with Customers with media they normally use, if possible.
  • Engage with Emergency Response Team for ‘go/no go’ decision; confirm with internal Crisis Management team for severity level to work with.
  • Monitor other media outlets for information or misinformation
  • Post only most current information; remove old/dated information
  • Keep a running total of team time & effort
  • Log any IT issues for immediate and deferred correction – don’t try to fix a minor problem in the ‘heat of moment’.
  • Have a plan for power outage scenario.

Do Not’s

  • Forget the Communication checklist
  • Use one message for every audience; tailor each message for each audience & delivery media
  • Select only one media; use them all!
  • Create new accounts during crisis (Facebook, Twitter, etc.)
  • Make the media only one way; give opportunity to send feedback
  • Expect your company is the only one involved; share connections.
  • Expect for power to be available at all times.
  • Forget to keep a list of all messages sent, to what distribution list and what media.

The organizations that hosted these webinars have materials on their web sites for further reference:

FIRESTORM WEBINARS: http://www.firestorm.com/learn/form-download-brief-six-stages-of-crisis-for-communication-planning.html

Agility Recovery: http://www2.agilityrecovery.com/assets/slides/Agility-Social_Media.pdf

Everbridge; http://www.everbridge.com/control-communication-throughout-the-lifecycle-of-a-crisis/

You need a community or several

August 15th, 2015 by Mary Kay Hyde-Bohn

Business owners need a place to cuss and discuss those items related to their daily or strategic business problems. That place is a ‘community’, whether it’s virtual or with a coffee/lunch group. A great example of ‘community’ is your local Chamber of Commerce.

Communities as described in Wikipedia:

A community is a social unit of any size that shares common values. In human communities, a number of other conditions may be present and common, affecting the identity of the participants and their degree of cohesiveness. The word “community” is derived from the Old French comuneté or Latin communitas , a broad term for fellowship or organized society.[1] One broad definition which incorporates all the different forms of community is “a group or network of persons who are connected (objectively) to each other by relatively durable social relations and who mutually define that relationship (subjectively) as important to their social identity and social practice.”[2]

Your local Chamber of Commerce is a ‘community’. The geographical reach of a Chamber is defined by roads or highways or geography like rivers or mountains. You will find members of a Chamber that live in the immediate area and those that live at a distance with a connection to the area. Companies and organizations may have buildings or mobile workers. With the advent of internet technology the range of industries and job functions in the community is unlimited. One of the ways to connect or meet these folks is through the local Chamber.

The initial connections for me are those Chambers that remind me of small towns I lived in growing up and the larger Chambers are for the larger cities where I’ve worked. Community physical size is not the priority — personal connections that build a ‘community’ are the pull!

Introductions during Chamber events have helped my business processes and growth. I know that because of the ‘community connection’ I could call or email those new acquaintances and have a discussion in confidence or for mutual benefit. After a couple of my speaking engagements, I have gotten calls from attendees with questions that would not have been asked in open forum and I was able to help with references or possible solutions.

There was a recent gathering of 6 area Chambers and it was a busy, loud event for several hours. The buzz of conversation with existing and new connections was energizing. The diversity of businesses and business owners/representatives was amazing – I learned so much! The pile of new business cards, names and businesses is still buzzing in my mind. I hope we’ll be able to re-connect and continue the conversations.

IF you are not inclined to join a Chamber of Commerce, you need to build a ‘community’ of your own – whether that is within your industry or geographical area, a business owner needs to be able to discuss and cuss with ‘like-minded’ people. You could get recommendations from your attorney, banker, CPA or insurance agent, vendors, sales reps or even Customers. For example, I am affiliated with Assoc. of Contingency Planners and Project Management International; they have monthly meetings, newsletters, free webinars that provide information and opportunities to converse with ‘like-minded’ people.

Business Continuity Partners of the West is focused on serving small and medium businesses because they are what make our towns and cities unique, colorful, and prosperous in more ways than money. We encourage those businesses to put some time into maintaining those elements of their business that might fail if not protected through good business continuity actions.

Are you prepared?