Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Losing Sight of the Need to Give

I am a long-standing member of the Association for Corporate Growth (ACG) and am active in the organization's National Capital Chapter.  I've made exceptional, executive-level contacts through my attendance at events and participation in chapter committees.

A few months back I received a call from a fellow ACG member inviting me to host an educational roundtable discussion on social media for the chapter.  I jumped at this opportunity because of the credibility my role as organizer would confer on Strategic Communications Group (Strategic), as well as the visibility this discussion would provide for the integration of social media into a company's external communications program.

Held this past Monday, the event came together well.  The panelists were top-drawer and attendance was right in line with expectations -- more than 30 top corporate and marketing executives.

My colleague and partner Chris Parente has a write-up of the event on his "Work, Wine and Wheels" blog.

Yet, for all of the eventual goodness that resulted from the event, the path that I followed to organize speakers, extend invitations and promote my role left the members of the chapter's organizing committee a bit salty at me.


I simply didn't comprehend (or want to comprehend) the purpose of the event, nor did I listen well enough to the organizing committee when they outlined their expectations.  To me, it was critical that attendance at the event be large enough to reflect the importance I personally place on social media.  To the committee, the priority was CEO or president-level attendees -- quality over quantity.

For this reason, there were a number of disagreements and uncomfortable moments when business contacts I had invited were denied registration because they failed to meet certain criteria.  It reflected poorly on me and on ACG National Capital, the organization I was suppose to be representing.

In the end, everything worked out well and the "Easing Into Social Media" roundtable was deemed a success.   However, my experience served as a healthy reminder that successful participation in trade groups, associations and social networks is more about give than take.

I lost sight of this and, as a result, I'm left with a couple of relationships I need to repair.

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