When social media became the nonprofit sectors’ favorite broadcast medium, it was free and gaining reach daily, many conferences would hold social media breakout sessions. They were typically titled, How To Leverage Facebook And Advance Your Mission, or something similar. Without fail, the presenter would be interrupted by a well-meaning individual who had not signed-up for Facebook (or the social media platform the session was discussing) and ask for a tutorial on creating an account. It was such a common occurrence that session attendees would start walking out if the presenter could not quickly refer the questioner to a resource guide. Some conference avoided the trap by placing a disclaimers on the session, stating attendees must have an active account and be modestly proficient in navigating on the platform. For years, I witnessed leading content experts reduced to front line tech support, everyone in the session missed the opportunity to benefit from the speaker’s knowledge and prepared remarks.
It strikes me that we often treat new board and committee members similar to the unprepared conference attendees One of the reasons to facilitate a robust orientation process, link new board members with a mentor, communicate frequently with the new board members, and provide on-going education for the entire board, is to reduce the tech support moments. If not everyone is operating on the same basic platform, then we cannot benefit from each others wisdom. If our meetings are put on pause so we can allow everyone to create an account, perhaps we need to reconsider how we are setting everyone up for success in advance. Our time is limited, how we remove obstacles in advance of assembling says a lot about our care and impact.