Thoughts about business and economic development in rural areas.


April 2008
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Archive for April 29th, 2008

Not just another meeting – Part 2

Been a while since Part 1 so I thought I’d better get back to this topic. Here’s another idea that worked well for us while I was with Grant County Economic Development. We held monthly meetings and our attendance over 12 years was fantastic. Most of the credit goes to the communities and individuals who were committed to the program. But we also worked hard to make the meetings worth attending.

One of the best additions we made was the “Once Around.” At the end of each meeting we would give one spokesperson from each community the chance to give us a short update on what what had happened in their community since the last meeting. Just the highlights, skip the details. The spokesperson was required to stand during the report and most came prepared with at least one or two items to share.

Usually it wasn’t earthshattering stuff but it was important to them and that’s all that mattered. And we almost always got something from each community as community pride kept people from saying, “Nothing new since last month.”

That month’s host community wasn’t part of the “Once Around” as they had already given a more indepth report earlier in the meeting. That was one of the perks of hosting and everyone took good advantage of it.

This made active participants out of all meeting attendees and served as a monthly reminder that each community was an important participant in our economic development efforts. Over the years the “Once Around” became the most anticipated part of the evening. By making it personal we avoided becoming, “Just another meeting.”