I’ll Be There for You – 5 Things FRIENDS Taught Us About Association Management

By Lauren Millard

My all-time favorite show is “FRIENDS”.  It does not matter how many times I watch it, it always makes me laugh.  I quote it on a regular basis causing myself to crack up laughing.  What I didn’t know, was that reflecting on past episodes of “FRIENDS” would completely relate to association management and careers in general.  Stick with me while I go through the 5 things this classic sitcom taught me.

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  1. Always proofread.  Typos can cause the most professional person to seem less credible.  Not only should EVERYTHING be proofread, but you should also double check attachments on emails and subject lines in e-blasts.  How many times have you received an e-blast with “Test” in the subject?  Paying attention to the simplest details is sometimes overlooked, but they can change someone’s opinion of you and your organization.  Rachel helped teach me this lesson while her friends helped her stuff envelopes with her resume enclosed and later realized there were misspellings after hundreds were already sealed.
  1. It’s never too late to start fresh.  Sometimes a project or process just doesn’t quite end up the way you expected.  It’s okay to start over and try again.  It can be something as complex as the way an entire program is run or as simple as how data is maintained.  Sometimes a fresh start can create the best changes.  It may help make processes more efficient or result in improved projects!  Sometimes when there is already a process in place it helps you figure out where the issues are.  It helps knowing what exactly needs to be fixed.  The “FRIENDS” cast knows all about starting over.  Rachel goes from the spoiled girl to the girl who gains independence and finds a career.  Monica bounces from job to job until she is the head chef at a great restaurant in New York.  Chandler completely changes careers to start an internship in advertising – as terrifying as change may be, it isn’t always bad!
  1. Some things are out of your control.  When it comes to meetings and events, it does not matter how detailed you are while planning – there will ALWAYS be issues that occur onsite that will be no fault of your own.  The best solution, is to make do with what you have.  You can only plan and prepare for so much, but what you do have control over is how you react.  Most attendees or exhibitors won’t even be aware of issues, but since you have spent countless hours planning out the details the issues seem magnified.  Face it, if a bride can be okay after her wedding venue is torn down only days before her wedding, then your meeting can still go on and be a success (as long as everyone says the right name… “I take thee Rachel”)
  1. Label your lunch in the office fridge.  Labels on food = it’s off limits – but sometimes even that doesn’t work.   Nobody wants to experience the wrath of a coworker when you eat their lunch… like if you were to eat Ross’ sandwich AKA the “Moist Maker”.
  1. None of your friends will know what you do.  Association Management is the equivalent to Chandler Bing’s original job as the Executive specializing in statistical analysis and data reconfiguration.   We throw around crazy acronyms on a regular basis, while Chandler completes his WENUS “Weekly Estimated Net Usage System”, and our friends don’t have a clue what they stand for. According to American Society of Association Executives, “An association management company (AMC) is a professional service company that specializes in providing management services for associations on a fee-for-service basis. AMCs provide the professional staff, administrative support, office space, technology, and equipment an association needs to operate efficiently”.

Regardless of whether or not our friends and family know and understand what we do, one thing is for sure.  When our members or even nonmembers need help, they know they can call us and we’ll be there for them.

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