Food for Thought

by Abigail Solazzo
Maintaining regular communication and strong relationships with fellow chapter leaders and members during the last several months may have proven to be challenging. Many of our volunteer leaders are short-staffed and stretched thin, not leaving them with much time for volunteer work and member relationship building. When we are faced with these challenges, time constraints, lack of face to face interactions, and not feeling a connection, it is important that we apply the best practices of communications and team building to the opportunities that we have available to us during these times. Here are a few tips to help improve communications and continue building trust with your other chapter leaders and members:

Respond Within a Specific Timeframe – Board members and chapter leaders should always try to respond to communications regarding chapter business as soon as possible, but we know that can’t always happen. Set a time frame (36 hours, 2 business days, etc.) in which the recipient should respond to e-mails or phone calls. Even if you need more time to answer the question or request, at least let the sender know when to expect to hear from you with a full response. 

Actively Listening – As we are not communicating face to face on a regular basis, it's important we listen intently and ensure that we are giving that person our full attention when communicating via phone. Signaling with small verbal comments such as “uh huh” or “yes, I see” allows the other person to feel as they are being heard. 

Set Regularly Scheduled Board Meetings – One way to ensure that communication is consistent and clear is to set regularly scheduled board meetings. This will allow your board members and chapter leaders to ensure they have enough time to plan for the meeting and make themselves available for the call. 

Icebreakers/Team Building – With the lack of face to face interaction, we may feel disconnected, so it is important to continue to build relationships with your fellow chapter leaders. One way to do this is by conducting a (brief) team building activity or icebreaker at the start of each meeting. Perhaps it is as something as simple as everyone listing one challenge and one success they had during the week. Or asking everyone about their favorite vacation (bringing back memories of traveling!) or if anyone has picked up a new skill or hobby lately? Whatever it is, take some time to give everyone a brief reprieve from the heavy workload and responsibilities. Team building can also be done during virtual meetings in small groups or via text or chat apps.    

These highlights, examples and much more will be discussed during the chapter best practices webinar on Wednesday, October 21 at 2:00 pm CT. (1 GEN CE will be awarded for those that attend the live session.)

To register for this event, please click on the link below. (The webinar will be recorded and posted on ANFPtv for those that are not able to join the live program.)


After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.