Thoughts about business and economic development in rural areas.

 

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Communication – Up Close & Personal

It’s real easy to think of communication only in terms of email, newsletters and phone calls but none of these are as effective as face-to-face meetings and especially one-on-one meetings. Sure, no one has the time to meet personally with every client or customer on a daily basis but never getting togehter with them is a huge mistake. In fact, it can be the biggest mistake you will ever make.

This is especially true in the field of economic development. Every ED professional should make it a practice to spend at least one afternoon or morning each week out in the field visiting a community or business. Call up the mayor or village president and take her on a tour of the community so she can show you all the things that are happening in town. And make it casual. An advance call to set up lunch or a tour is all you need. You don’t need a specific agenda and for heaven’s sake, don’t let it turn into a ‘meeting’. Everyone has enough of those already. You want to use this time to get to know your contacts better and to let them know that you really care about them and their business or community.

If the only time they see you is when it comes time for an annual donation or renewal of dues they’re not going to be too impressed no matter how much activity your organization may be having.

Yes, this takes time. But it’s the best time you will ever spend and you’ll learn more during those visits than you ever will at your desk. (Besides the inbox will still be there when you get back and half of that stuff probably doesn’t really matter anyway.)

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