If you're sick of blowing your time in pointless meetings, you're in the right place.
If you want your campus organization or small business to get more done, have more fun, and be more creative, then your tools are right here.
My goal is to get you out of at least 10 meetings this year. What will you do with that extra time?
I've put over 15 years of research, interviews, and experience into building a course that will show you how to run an organization like a boss (even if you're not the boss). The techniques in here come from working with campus orgs, faculty, radio stations, record labels, and small businesses of all kinds. Even if you're not on a college campus, there's something in here for you.
The course is designed to be flexible. Most of the videos are under 5 minutes! You can breeze through the whole thing in a weekend afternoon, or watch it in bite sized chunks on your commute. Pick the section that is most relevant to you first, or watch all the way through. Then review anything you missed.
There are ideas on how to run your group, as well as tips on running meetings and improving attendance and participation in events, and motivating your own executive board.
On the technical side, there are step-by-step tutorials on how to use 5 different software packages (most are free). All you have to do is follow along. If you know how to write an email, you've got the technical knowhow necessary to get through this course.
There's also tons of templates, downloads, and bonus reference materials included. Check the intro video for more details!
A quick overview of the session.
What does one of the greatest hip-hop groups in history have to do with your organization's success? A lot, actually.
If it isn't helping you, or you don't know why you're doing it: cut it out.
Structure is good, but not if it starts to stifle your passion.
This still applies to all you anarchists out there: yes, abolishing hierarchies is great, but that doesn't mean that you need to throw out specialization and organized movement. Let people pick their niches and work on what they love doing.
An outline of what you actually need in your organization. The list is shorter than you might think!
Find inspiration from the early days of New York hip-hop. (Yes, they still do this in the modern digital age -- because it's really effective!)
Some supplementary reading:
An interview with Gabe Newell, the CEO of Valve. His approach to running a world-class organization based on the creativity and passion of individuals is very close to what we're doing here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-switch/wp/2014/01/03/gabe-newell-on-what-makes-valve-tick/
A companion piece from the same interview: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-switch/wp/2013/11/20/inside-valves-plan-to-revolutionize-the-world-of-video-games/
and don't miss the Valve handbook that you find linked in there. It's pretty inspiring, and full of a lot of things you can steal for your own group manual: http://media.steampowered.com/apps/valve/Valve_NewEmployeeHandbook.pdf
An introduction of the core duo that will make your organization run more efficiently, inside and out.
A description of Internal Communications. This is a tough job, but very necessary! I've seen tons of organizations hit a rut because they didn't have one of these.
A more integrated, smarter approach to PR.
A quick wrap-up.
Check the external resources to find the download folder link.
Another option for shared documents instead of Google Drive is Quip (quip.com). It's maybe a little nicer looking, but there's not really a big advantage over Google Drive. Actually, there's a disadvantage in that you can't put spreadsheets and things like that in the same place. It is pretty cool though — I actually used Quip to lay out and design this whole course.
And, if you haven't already, check out the Valve company manual. It's pretty inspiring, and full of a lot of things you can steal for your own group manual: http://media.steampowered.com/apps/valve/Valve_NewEmployeeHandbook.pdf
Let's face it: email sucks. Here's why.
We can't just bash email without an alternative: so here it is.
Here's the link to the template board: https://trello.com/b/WelXUG8v/awa-events
An overview of how Trello works, and instructions on getting your own account.
Then, we'll check out a template made custom for this course. Over the next few videos, you'll see just how powerful this thing is!
Here's where the magic happens!
Prevent double booking! Also, a bit more about how Trello makes it easy to communicate and collaborate.
You may or may not need this -- if you don't, you can modify it according to your own needs.
Another one of my favorite parts of this awesome template. Used properly, this will cut down on email and confusion so much, it's not even funny.
All done! Well, not quite.
Great, so you've finished your event! But you're not done just yet.
Remember, as an organization, you should constantly be aiming to improve what you're doing, whether that's your cost-effectiveness as a business, or how well you're reaching your audience as a nonprofit. Evaluating things helps you improve. So you can try something, and if it doesn't work, switch it up. But you can't do that if you don't remember what you did. So make sure to take this opportunity to record how things went!
If you haven't already, check out the Google Drive section for more about the use of Google Drive with your Trello. Here's a link to the spreadsheet shown in the video: [link] . This is also available in the downloadable folder in the Google Drive section.
Here's how to get your team on board! Check the links for some useful videos.
Propose and refine ideas for equipment purchases. Then, track actual purchases, from confirmation to arrival to installment. Never forget where things are again.
An extra tip: for things like computers in public areas that need to be locked down, I like to include the passwords or lock combinations on the card as well. It's saved me more than once!
This is great for those of you making physical products that you need to track. Track each product line from conception to production to delivery, all in one place.
See how I put together a massive event with a tiny team, no money, and no time. You can also adapt this to your own uses.
Here are some other usage ideas, presented by Trello users: https://trello.com/b/nPNSBZjB/trello-resources
Sometimes you have to have meetings. This session will help make them painless, or even fun.
Follow these five tips, and you'll have a pretty great meeting.
Okay, I lied: one extra rule. But this one's fun.
A pretty good read in addition to this material: http://blogs.hbr.org/2013/12/the-seven-imperatives-to-keeping-meetings-on-track/
How to use your Agenda file in your Google Drive folder to handle half 75% of the work of meetings before you ever walk in the door. Check out the Five Rules for Meetings to review what should be written in here.
Another note for those wanting to push meetings to phone: If you don't want to use your personal information for meetings with professional contacts, you can try freeconference.com and register for your own free conference line. I haven't used this, but I've heard good things about it.
There's a good list of icebreakers here: http://www.group-games.com/ice-breakers. I personally like two truths and a lie. Even old stodgy business dudes get amped up about this game. You'll be surprised what you find out about people.
Here's a sample retreat schedule from an organization I was in. You can follow this, or tweak it to your needs. Make sure to include time after breaks for social warmups!
10:00-10:30 a.m. Introductions, Icebreaker, Overview of Purpose
10:30 – 11:15 a.m. Officer Roles & Responsibilities
11:15- 11:20 a.m. Break
11:20 – 12:00 noon Organizational Operation
12:00 – 1:00 p.m. Lunch (provided)
1:00 – 2:15 p.m. Goals & New Ideas
2:15 – 2:30 p.m. Break
2:30 – 4:00 p.m. Calendar Planning
4:00 – 4:15 p.m. Break
4:15 – 4:45 p.m. Summary of Days Discussions & Review
7:00 – Until Dinner and Social Time for the Group
You don't need to be an expert at this stuff -- you just need to get the job done!
Find out who's leading the field, and follow them!
Here's a little more about vector vs bitmap images if you're curious. This is from a company that charges $150 plus to convert a non-vector image into a vector one. That should show you the importance of making sure you've got your vector image!: http://www.paperstreet.com/blog/2950
Here's a tutorial for a product that lets you scan things and turn them into vectors: http://vectormagic.com/support/tutorials/scans
Making a logo isn't all that hard. Watch me do it in fast motion at the end of this video. Don't worry, I'll show you all the techniques in the flyer section.
If you're looking for a designer, I can recommend Working Michael. I've seen this guy's work, and he's top notch. Really classic, modern looking design, and he's a personal friend. Tell him I sent you and he'll hook you up. http://workingmichael.me/
Paper is good for prestige. For everything else, use the net.
If you need control, go for a page. If you want to foster community, think about a group.
Don't stress the peripherals. Pick one or two tools and use them well.
Your website doesn't really matter. Toss the essentials up there, and leave it alone.
Here are the essentials that you need on your site!
Instructions on embedding your group's google calendar: https://support.google.com/calendar/answer/41207?hl=en
Here's the basic information your ads need.
A step-by-step walkthrough on how to use Pixelmator, an inexpensive program that does anything Photoshop can do, but easier. (Mac-only)
A step-by-step walkthrough on how to use Pixlr, a free web-based program that isn't quite as polished as Pixlmator, but is still really powerful. Also, because it's web-based, you can do you work from anywhere. Did I mention that it's free?
If you're looking for good color schemes, check out http://www.colourlovers.com/ . I use it all the time for inspiration. The color palettes section is great for finding colors that will look good together!
Recycle, reduce, reuse! There's no shame in reusing your own old work. Actually, it helps people recognize your org's style!
Dexter Thomas Jr is a current ABD PhD candidate, studying Japanese hip-hop at Cornell University. He has worked in education for over 15 years, including teaching at the high school and college levels, advising international student groups, and working as a live-in resident counselor and RA supervisor at two universities.
Formerly a manager at an LA-area radio station, he has written for MTV, appeared in the UK's Q Magazine, and is also the host of the Mixtape Show, a hip-hop and electronic music podcast. He also regularly consults entertainment-related businesses. Dexter is currently working on a book-length manuscript and a documentary covering a history of Japanese hip-hop, beginning in the pre-disco era.
More information and contact is available at whatupdex.com