Virtual Meeting Tips for Relationship Building

I’ve been experimenting with ways to have interactive, relationship-building meetings for attendees spread across the country. One of my favorite so far combines a mix of video calls, Google Forms, phone calls and chat boxes. 

Seeding Good Network Habits

Supporting networks, or volunteers, or project teams, I find it’s critical to teach people how to use the tools we have effectively. I try to sneak tips into e-mails and to model good habits — hard when you’re in a hurry! I’ve been leaning on Kathy Choh of Management HQ to help me with this. She provides […]

You Can’t Possibly Have Enough Work to Do…

In doing outreach for the EnergyScoreCards Minnesota pilot project, where we are able to offer free utility benchmarking services to apartment buildings, I’ve been frequently reminded of an important fact:  something free which requires busy people to do something more is hard to give away. To be clear, I don’t think that the benchmarking we’re […]

Price: Relevant, Not Critical

Last week, I and 740 energy and building performance geeks went to my favorite conference, the Duluth Energy Design Conference.   Minnesota Green Communities has participated in the session planning committee for six years, and I’ve presented many times.  This year, I hosted almost two full days of sessions on a newly prominent theme:  selling […]

Doing Outreach – What Gets Noticed?

Doing outreach for the EnergyScoreCards Minnesota pilot project, our team spent a lot of time developing language and materials to share with the hundreds of owners we were inviting to participate.  Making follow-up phone calls to folks who received electronic outreach, a few comments have surprised me. One, in particular, stays with me.  The company […]

Dislike FairTrade? What’s your alternative?

Critiques of certification systems (for example, LEED, USDA’s organic, and ENERGY STAR) are old news. I won’t argue the critique of the label (see the Wikipedia critiques).  Sure, there ARE problems.  However, what struck me was how clearly the Food First writers just didn’t get it. The “look for the label” movement bet that people were simply “consumers” […]

Talking “Environmentalism” – Real People React (badly)

The other day, an acquaintance asked me for advice on communicating about environmental issues.  I had a speedy, rather negative reaction. “First, NEVER, ever use the word ‘environmental,’ or anything related to that word.  Talk about the ISSUE – clean water, clean air, toxic chemicals, whatever.” The immediate response was skepticism, and “Why?” I guess […]