Turn a Poor Interview To Your Advantage

Clarke, Bruce 2014By Bruce Clarke, J.D.

Your next job interview may be mismanaged by the employer. The problem is, it will reflect poorly on YOU!

Bad interviewers typically talk too much. They tell you endless details about the job and the company. They may give you all the reasons why the last person did not work out in the job and the top goals a potential employee must reach in a certain time period to be considered successful.

You end up nodding your head, smiling, complimenting the interviewer on such impressive goals and promising you can meet each one.

Neither side benefits from this monologue. It may discourage you from joining the company. You learned only what they wanted you to hear and they know nothing useful about you. As the candidate, you should talk most of the time during the interview—not the interviewer. You have been asked to an interview for one reason—to discover whether you will be successful in this role and this organization.

Be prepared to assert yourself if your interviewer talks too much. Have a short list of points you need to make that show off your unique abilities and experiences. This is your chance to stand out. Why do you want this job?  What makes you want to work for this company?  What do you plan to do with your career and how does this role fit those goals?  If you are not prepared, a more assertive candidate may end up winning the job you want.

Avoid rudeness or talking too much about yourself, of course. Make your points and stop. Invite questions and real dialogue.

Let your positive attitude and genuine enthusiasm for the job shine through. The truth is that many interviewers decide in the first five minutes whether they will move that candidate forward to the next stage in the hiring process.

If an interviewer asks you improper or discriminatory questions, just assume they do not know any better and help them get past their mistake by answering a different question. Politicians do it all the time! You have nothing to win by making a legal point with a poor interviewer.

Sometimes an interviewer will ask you a strange, off-the-wall question, such as, “If you could choose to be any animal, which would you be and why?” What the interviewer is really looking for is an insight into your personality. Be yourself, think out loud, and try to relate the question back to performance on the job.

Many businesses do not have expert interviewers and simply do the best they can. Assert yourself calmly and professionally to turn a poor interview to your advantage. The interviewer may thank you later after he or she hires you and sees the great work you can do.

Bruce Clarke, J.D., is CEO of CAI, helping more than 1,000 NC employers maximize employee engagement and minimize employer liability. For more information, visit www.capital.org.

How to Measure Your Marketing Efforts to Maximize Growth and Yield the Greatest ROI: Part 3 of 3

In Part 1, The Emergence of the Chief Data Officer, I mentioned my belief that all marketing efforts are measurable and data is a must-have marketing tool for every association. In Part 2, How to Mine Data to Improve Your Marketing Strategies, I discussed a few specific methods to analyze data most associations already have access to in order to gain insights that provide guidance so you can make smarter decisions to positively impact the continued and future growth of your association. Here, I will expand even further into the types of data, provide specific ways to measure your branding, social media and public relations marketing efforts and highlight the benefits relying on data to make informed marketing decisions for optimum results.

Types of data

Being a marketer today is more challenging than ever for many reasons. For starters, marketers and business executives face changing priorities, global competition and continuous technological advancements. In many cases, these professionals also must manage business objectives that fall outside of what we once knew as traditional marketing activities. The pressure is rising and the stakes are higher than ever. Executives must demonstrate to their shareholders—be it members, sponsors, board of directors or other constituents—a real return on their marketing expenditures.

That said, data is not new. I believe because of the digital age, there’s more data at our fingertips than ever before. Here’s a partial list of types of data that exists or can be captured to help associations determine their greatest value, competitive advantage and influence their marketing efforts moving forward. Some of these you may know. Others may be new. All are relevant.

  • Informal & Primary Research
  • Informal & Secondary Research
  • Brand Attributes
  • Competitive Analysis
  • Demographics
  • Formal Research
  • Generational Characteristics
  • Geographic Data
  • Google Analytics
  • Industry Overview
  • Key Performance Indicators
  • Keyword Research
  • Marketing Audit
  • Pricing & Services
  • Product Roadmap
  • Promotion & Distribution Channels
  • Social Media Analytics
  • SEO Tools
  • SWOT / PEST Analysis
  • Target Segmentation

Measuring your marketing efforts

To survive today and be fit for the future, it is my belief all types of organizations—associations included—must measure their marketing efforts. It takes time and requires a business acumen. But measuring results also advances marketing efforts, enhances credibility, broadens capabilities, allows for agility and provides accountability. To me, that sure sounds like a formula for success.

While there are many ways to capture and measure data, I believe one of the simplest methods is that of using scorecards. In the first article, I shared a lead generation scorecard as an example. Here, I will share complimentary links to scorecards you can use as a starting point to measure your measure your branding, social media and public relations marketing efforts. For additional complimentary best practice marketing tools and resources, you can register for the resource section of www.christinamotley.com. Tools include:

Benefits of data-driven decisions

Data is meaningless unless it is accessed, reviewed, analyzed and conclusions are developed about areas for improvement. Data provides information that when used properly can provide actionable insights.

Here are some of the ways I believe, as an integrated marketer and three-time successful business owner, that relying on data benefits all types of organizations, including public, private and nonprofit across all industries.

  • Valuable Business Asset
  • Must-Have Marketing Tool
  • Expands Knowledge
  • Validates Business Model
  • Identifies Competitive Advantages & Differentiators
  • Formulates Marketing Strategies
  • Helps Determine Marketing Platform
  • Drives Messaging Platform
  • Provides Benchmarks for KPIs
  • Tracks Performance Measurement & ROI
  • Reveals Gaps
  • Allows Adjustment
  • Informs Mission-Critical Business Decisions
  • Impacts Bottom Line

Summary

In conclusion, the decision is up to your association’s executive leadership team. Where do you begin? I suggest creating a small action team of individuals and member volunteers in your association, who share the belief that data is a valuable asset, and who express an interest in reviewing different data points to learn more about the association, its membership and its marketing efforts. Start small, break the data into bite-size, manageable chunks that will help you identify opportunities for small wins, point to any gaps or missed opportunities, and find areas for improvement. This strategy will eventually enable you to begin to address the big picture or association’s long-term vision rally support from others, and it may even lead to larger marketing or data-driven initiatives.

I hope you’ve found this series helpful and welcome your comments and feedback. Feel free to send comments to me directly at christina@christinamotley.com.

Christina Motley is the CEO of her third successful business. Her team partners with national clients, including member associations and nonprofit organizations, to deliver Chief Marketing officer (CMO) on-demand and on-point marketing strategies. A dynamic speaker and published author, Christina’s newest book, Leadership Philosophies from Unsung Leaders, will be released later this month and pre-orders are being accepted atwww.christinamotley.com She is a member of the Association Executives of North Carolina and serves on its Communications Task Force.

How to Mine Data to Improve Your Marketing Strategies: Part 2 of 3

by Christina Motley

In Part 1, The Emergence of the Chief Data Officer, I mentioned my belief that all marketing efforts are measurable and data is not only one of associations’ most valued tools, but a must-have marketing tool. That said, data provides information. Information provides insights. Insights provide guidance in making mission-critical decisions that impact your bottom line and associations’ growth. Let’s dive deeper into how you can mine your data.

Analytics has been—and will continue to be—a critical component of an Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) plan. Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) are accountable to the bottom line and must report Return on Investment (ROI) for marketing efforts. Defining marketing goals for 2014 and developing specific, measurable objectives allow you to measure your growth and adjust future marketing strategies throughout the year based on the data because you will know what is – and what is not -working.

If you are experiencing data overload with all the information available in today’s digital era, you are not alone. Even marketers often feel overwhelmed. But again, data is meaningless if it is not reviewed, analyzed and actionable. You must integrate the data you have access to, whether it be from social media channels, your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, Google or other Web analytics, email marketing service provider and other tools you may be using. This information allows you to collect information about your target audience, including both prospective members and members, as well as identify trends and opportunities for improvement, not only for marketing, but also for enhanced business operations.

Know Your Target Audience

As a starting point, look at your target member.

  • What are their demographics?
  • Age?
  • Gender?
  • Married or divorced?
  • What is their median household income?

If you can answer those simple questions, you have access to generational data and can learn more about what motivates them and their key characteristics. See the chart below.

Demographics chart

Where Is Your Audience Online?

You can also start to use that data, or information, to determine, which social channels you may need to consider as part of your marketing plan. With some preliminary, basic information, you can find out where your prospective members – and members – spend time online.

Channel Age Gender Race Income Education Location
Twitter 31% 18-2919% 30-49 18% female17% male 29% black16% Hispanic15% white 19% $75k+18% $30-49k 18% college+18% some college17% high school or less 19% suburban18% urban
Facebook 84% 18-2979% 30-4960% 50-64 76% female66% male 75% black73% Hispanic71% white 76% <$30k76% $30-49k69% $75k+ 75% some college71% high school or less68% college+ 75% urban71% rural
LinkedIn Avg age 41 64% male36% female Over 50% earn $100k+ 80.1% college+ 20 countries
Pinterest 52% under age 34 80% female20% male 35% $35-49k34% $50-74k 60% some college More likely to live in Midwestern states

Know Your Competition

The power of market and business intelligence allows you to expand your knowledge. Conducting a competitive audit will help you collect invaluable data to better position and promote your association in a competitive and global marketplace.

A competitive analysis is also sometimes referred to as an assessment or an audit. No matter the term, a competitive analysis is the process of “identifying your competitors and evaluating their strategies to determine their strengths and weaknesses relative to those of your own product or service,” according to Entrepreneur.com.

Develop a list of your top 3 to 5 competitors. At a minimum, look at the following information:

  • Position in the marketplace—Tagline, unique value proposition, mission and vision.
  • Products and services—What are they offering and/or selling?
  • Pricing—What is the pricing structure? Is it competitive, above or below fair market value?
  • Promotion—Review the channels and distribution methods they are using to promote and market their products and services.
  • Capture any other relevant observations.

Review these insights and compare them to how your association measures up against each area. This exercise will provide data about how you can strengthen your positioning and leverage your unique value proposition to distinguish your association from similar organizations. In order to propel your organization, I suggest thinking outside of the box and going where your competition does not exist.

Know Your Keywords

Keyword research is critical to all things in the world of online marketing. It’s true it can be a tedious, timely and a manual process, but it is a necessary evil. There are both free and paid tools to help you discover top keywords, which will help improve your search engine rankings and thus increase your organic website traffic when the resulting keywords are integrated into your content marketing strategy. Keywords can be used to enhance your social media messaging, blog and other content distribution channels. Here are a few free tools to check out:

Is Your Site Optimized?

Effective SEO begins with strategy and data. Find out in less than 5 minutes if your website is truly optimized for search Engines and you are harnessing the power of SEO with a short quiz.

These are just a few ways you can mine your data to help you make smarter decisions that will lead to greater marketing results. Stay tuned for Part 3 of our series, which will discuss measuring your data through branding, social media and website scorecards.

Christina Motley is an integrated Chief Marketing Officer (CMO)-on-Demand and member of the Association Executives of North Carolina (AENC). Christina – who delivers fractional CMO services on demand and on point marketing strategy WHEN & WHERE you need it – also serves a number of nonprofit associations and clients nationally. Learn more at http://www.christinamotley.com.

Social Media For Job Hunters

Clarke, Bruce 2014By Bruce Clarke, J.D.

Are you seeking a new position in your field? You will be much more successful if you understand the methods company recruiters use to select candidates.

First, HR recruiters will view your LinkedIn account. If you do not have one established, you are at a real disadvantage. If you do have a LinkedIn account, you can depend on potential employers performing a careful review of your online network. They will read every single one of your LinkedIn references, too, so you should ensure that your profile properly reflects your true skills and abilities.

Good HR recruiters, however, do not stop with LinkedIn. They regularly follow and connect with candidates who have a genuine interest in your business and industry. Interacting with candidates via Facebook and LinkedIn accounts provides recruiters with an advantage in finding the best people to fill positions quickly and effectively.

We live in a time when job hunters must be engaged via social media to be viewed as relevant and current.

In the job market, you are competing with students fresh from colleges where faculty and students alike use social networking sites for class communication. Some professors even use Twitter and Facebook to disperse assignments. The Jenkins Graduate School of Management at North Carolina State University is addressing the demand for social-media-savvy employees through courses on social media in its MBA curricula.

Social media recruiting is still in its relative infancy, though. There are no specific laws as yet from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission covering the legal limits of social networks for recruiting beyond what is stated in the traditional Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures.

Many companies have established metrics to calculate the success of their recruiting efforts. They look at page views of their blog, followers on their social media accounts, retweets of recruitment opportunity announcements on Twitter, and discussions on a firm’s wall posts on Facebook. If the results are low for any of these, chances are the smart company will take steps to improve its social media presence overall, not just for recruiting.

Of course, social media is not the only answer for the recruitment process. As a candidate, you will be interviewed in person and/or over the phone to provide the recruiter with a sense of whether you will be a good fit for the corporate culture. But that step only comes after you have successfully made it through the social media process.

The recruiter will more than likely Google your name to see what comes up. You should do this regularly yourself and remove anything you do not want recruiters to see.

A recent Wall Street Journal investigation found that the online tracking of individuals is pervasive.  According to WSJ, the 50 most popular U.S. websites regularly install tracking technology onto your computer.

You may not realize it, but you have been building a reputation since the first day you signed onto Facebook or posted to an online discussion group. Be smart about what you post online. Your next job

Bruce Clarke, J.D., is CEO of CAI, helping more than 1,000 NC employers maximize employee engagement and minimize employer liability. For more information, visit www.capital.org.

The Emergence of the Chief Data Officer: Part 1 of 3

We’re inundated with data. So what? Why care? How does it benefit my association? This three-part series will help you use data to improve your marketing strategies and, ultimately, your bottom line. Part 1 focuses on the emergence of the Chief Data Officer. Part 2 will share practical tips to mine your data. Part 3 will discuss measuring your data through branding, social media and website scorecards.

  • All marketing efforts are measurable and data is not only one of associations’ most valued tools, but a must-have marketing tool.
  • There are more than 100 chief data officers (carrying that actual job title) serving in large enterprises today. That’s more than double the number we counted in 2012.
  • Start determining how you can better use data for the benefit of your association by using Google Analytics (if you’re not already), employing a lead generation (or member generation) scorecard, and by conducting an audit of your current marketing activities.

What is data anyway?

According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, data is factual information (as measurements or statistics) used as a basis for reasoning, discussion or calculation. Data is plentiful today, but often underutilized. Data is also meaningless unless it is reviewed, analyzed and used to make mission-critical association decisions.

As an integrated marketer, I believe all marketing efforts are measurable and data is not only one of associations’ most valued tools, but a must-have marketing tool. One of my favorite quotes about data comes from Carly Fiorina, former executive president and chair of Hewlett-Packard, who said: “The goal is to turn data into information and information into insight.” See Hank Berkowitz’s article for more on turning data into actionable intelligence.

In other words, companies and marketers have data, but what are they really doing with it? That is the critical question?

Chief Data Officers are the newest trend

We are already beginning to see the newest C-Suite title emerge: Chief Data Officer (CDO).

In May 2013, Data Management Association President Peter Aiken told Information Management that Chief Data Officers are “more vital than ever.” In August, the Federal Reserve hired its first CDO.

The discussion around the CDO title began in 2012. According to an article by Associations Now, “there is an opportunity for more associations to get in on the data hype,” said Debbie King, CEO of DSK Solutions. Most associations, especially small to mid-size, might not need such a high-level data officer, but instead may hire a director or manager of data information.

The title event has a Wikipedia entry, which defines the role as “a corporate officerresponsible for enterprise-wide governance and utilization of information as an asset, viadata processing, analysis, data mining information trading and other means.”

“There are also Chief Data Officer (CDO) titles emerging given the increasingly complex challenge of Data Management, and growth of Big Data and Analytics, as our world continues to explode in data everywhere,” according to Cindy Gordon, CEO and founder ofSalesChoice Inc. “The new rabbit hole is a very promising one, as companies are increasingly turning to sales analytics solutions that provide an enterprise-wide data flow to maintain a competitive position in the market. Companies are turning to sales prediction analytic solutions that provide an enterprise-wide data flow intelligence into the forecasting process.”

ZDNet cites Gartner Vice President and Analyst Debra Logan in one of its blogs: “Data chiefs tend to have a more compliance-focused role and are emerging, for example, in banking and insurance and in companies with a burden of litigation and regulation.” Some 19 percent of business leaders expect to recruit a CDO in 2014, while 17 percent foresee a CDO appointment, according to a study by Gartner.

Gartner Analyst Mark Raskino shares five interesting facts about CDOs:

  1. There are more than 100 chief data officers (carrying that actual job title) serving in large enterprises today. That’s more than double the number we counted in 2012.
  2. Banking, Government and Insurance are the Top 3 industries for Chief Data Officers—in that order. However, we are now seeing other industries rising.
  3. Sixty-five percent of Chief Data Officers are in the United States. 20 percent are in the UK. There are now CDOs in more than a dozen countries.
  4. More than 25 percent of all Chief Data Officers are in New York or Washington, D.C. It’s a regulatory catalyzed trend—at least in the early stages.
  5. More than 25 percent of Chief Data Officers are women.In case you are wondering, that’s almost twice as high as for CIOs (13 percent).

Data? So what?

Some predict marketers will fail as we face volumes of data that machines are better at processing. Whether you agree or disagree with data, the truth is it exists and is plentiful today. Dashboards and analytics offer a great deal of information about demographics, geographics, traffic resources and much more information than ever before.

Data can expand your knowledge about your industry, competitors, customers and prospects. It can validate or not validate business models and the needs for new products. It can help identify your competitive advantages and market differentiators. It can help formulate marketing strategies. It can provide industry benchmarks and best practice Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). It can help measure and track Return on Investment (ROI) so you can adjust marketing strategies accordingly. In essence, data can inform mission-critical business decisions and make a difference to your bottom line.

Are you using available data to benefit your association?

Most associations can better incorporate data analysis into their strategic missions. Here are three tips:

  1. Connect Google Analytics—a free tool—to your website and review the data at a minimum of once a month. This offers detailed insights about where your traffic is coming from. For example, is your website responsive on mobile devices. One of my B2B (business-to-business) clients receives 20 percent of its website traffic from smartphones and tablets.
  2. While there are many ways to capture and measure data, perhaps the simplest method is a scorecard. For starters and food for thought, here’s a lead generation scorecard we hope you will use and share.
  3. Conduct a marketing audit of your current efforts using the data and analytics you have—even if that data is feedback from your members. Determine what is working well, identify gaps and areas for improvement, then brainstorm about new marketing strategies and tactics that will help you achieve your business goals for 2014.

Download a complimentary marketing audit template from Christina Motley, LLC byregistering here.

Christina Motley is an integrated Chief Marketing Officer (CMO)-on-Demand and member of the Association Executives of North Carolina (AENC) and serves on its Communications Task Force A. Learn more at www.christinamotley.com.

3 Simple Social Media Strategies to See Real Results in 2014

by Corey Perlman

With social media, if you’re not generating new leads or building stronger relationships with existing customers, then it’s just a hobby. And it you’re like me, the last thing you need is a new hobby.

This article will offer three ways for your company to see improved results with your social media efforts.

1. Fish where the fish are.

Where are your customers and potential customers spending time online? Are they active on Twitter? If not, why should you be? You don’t have to be on all social media sites. REPEAT: You don’t have to be on all social media sites.

Decide where your audience is spending time and plant your flag on those sites. If you’re typically targeting businesses, LinkedIn is probably the place you’ll want to spend the most time. With over a billion users on Facebook, chances are good that some of your prospects are active on that site.

Action: Ask 10 current customers to rank in order the sites that they spend the most time on. Use Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+ as their choices. Follow up by asking how many times in the past month they’ve used each of those sites. You’ll notice a pattern and stay focused on the sites they ranked highest.

2. Be proud of your Digital Footprint.

When people go to the web and do research on your company, are they impressed by what they see?  Do you gain or lose credibility when someone visits your LinkedIn profile?  Today, most first impressions happen online and, with a little bit of effort, you can control much of what they see. Here are three quick ways to put your best digital foot forward:

  1. Have an attractive, user-friendly Website. I don’t care what the other social media pundits say, your Website is still your most important piece of online real estate. It needs to look professional and give your visitors the info they’re looking for in a clear and concise way.  If there’s too much clutter, too little content, or just frustrating to use, it can sabotage your efforts in gaining new members. In my new book, Social Media Overload!I share the five Website mistakes that most businesses make and how to avoid them. 
  2. Increase your fans, followers and friends. If it’s a social media site like a Facebook fan page or LinkedIn profile, nothing says small, unpopular or old fashioned than low numbers. So work on getting lots of fans to your Facebook page, connections to your LinkedIn profile or followers to your Twitter account. Always build your numbers—they matter.
  3. Improve Your LinkedIn Profile. As far as individual social media profiles go, LinkedIn is the place where people tend to go to check you out. Most of your information is public and your profile typically ranks well on the search engines when people search for your name. So it’s important to have a professional looking profile that sells you and your company.

 Action: Here are four things you can do to give your LinkedIn profile a quick makeover:

  1. Upload a current photo. The key word there is current.
  2. Work on those connections. I want everyone reading this to get to at least 250  quality connections — preferably people that you know.
  3. Work on your professional summary. Your LinkedIn profile is not a resume. So your summary should not be a history of your work. Instead, share your role with your organization and some of the benefits to working with you. Talk in terms of your readers’ interests.
  4. Get three quality recommendations. These should be from customers who have benefited from working with you and include reasons why they value the relationship.

3. Be Known as a Thought-leader

What could you share or write about that your customers and prospects would deem interesting or valuable? You should ask yourself this question before you share anything on social media.

It doesn’t matter the channel. It could be your blog, Facebook page, LinkedIn profile or Twitter feed, I want you sharing information that will benefit your audience.

Over time, you’ll start to build trust and credibility with them.

This is, by far, the most effective way to sell your value and yourself. If you deliver this much great material on the web, imagine what they’ll get by working with you.

If you remember nothing else from this article, remember to always Make It About Them. It’s the golden rule to seeing results with social media.

About Social Media Overload:

I wrote this book to help businesses avoid the trap of being overwhelmed by all the hype surrounding social media and focus on the areas that can actually produce results.

The book will help you:

  • Decide which social media sites you need to pay attention to and the sites you can ignore.
  • Avoid Website mistakes almost every business makes.
  • Strengthen your reputation on Google and other 3rd party sites.
  • Stay connected with prospects until they become customers.
  • Generate real business results from Facebook.
  • Learn powerful LinkedIn strategies to turn cold calls into warm leads.

It will serve as a roadmap for you and your team on how to increase leads, strengthen credibility, build long-term relationships, and win referral business.

Please connect with me and let me know how it has helped you! You can email me at corey@ebootcamp.com – send me a copy of your receipt and I’ll send you bonus material from me and my all-star advisors ($1,000 value).

link: www.socialmediaoverload.com/book-bonuses

Corey Perlman is an entrepreneur, best selling author and nationally-recognized social media expert. His first book, eBoot Camp, (Wiley) became an Amazon.com bestseller and received global attention with distribution rights deals in both China and India. He delivers keynote presentations and workshops to audiences all over the world.

Corey’s company, eBoot Camp, Inc., is a social media marketing company that builds and manages online marketing campaigns for businesses.   

Connect with Corey:

www.coreyperlman.com

www.socialmediaoverload.com

855-EBOOT-NOW

www.Facebook.com/eBootCamp

www.Linkedin.com/in/coreyperlman

www.Twitter.com/CoreyPerlman 

To see Corey in action, go to YouTube.com/eBootCamp 

Your Momma’s Rules To Keep Other People From Getting You And Your Outfit In Antitrust Trouble

By David Bagwell

1. Who’s Giving the Party? When you were 15, your Momma wouldn’t let you go to a party unless the right group sponsored it (like a church, or school, or somebody’s parents). You couldn’t just say “Momma, a few couples are getting together in the woods”. Same deal here; your Momma was right. Don’t go to any meetings unless there is a clear and proper sponsor, and it is the right kind of officially-recognized body which is properly-constituted, broadly-based, and well-run. Otherwise, you may get in more trouble than you can handle.

2. “What’s Up?” Your Momma wanted to know “what kind of party is it?’. She was right; there is a difference between drinking and skating, and she wanted to know what was going on. Same deal here. What is going on? If they don’t send you a written agenda in advance, you really shouldn’t go. (It is not an “agenda” if all it says is (1) old business, (2) new business, (3) other”, or anything like that.)

3. Chaperones. When you were 15, your Momma wouldn’t let you go unless a chaperone was going. A lawyer is kind of like a chaperone; they tend to spot any developing troublemakers and throw them out of the party. If no lawyer is going to be there to chaperone, it is a sign the party might get too wild, and maybe you shouldn’t go.

4. Stay Out of the Bushes. Your Momma knew that if you left the party, you were more likely to get in trouble. She was right. Don’t go to “rump sessions” before, during or after meetings; the natural human temptation is to talk business there, and your business is best discussed openly in the proper forum. It is okay to have lunch with a friend or two, but don’t let it turn into a “rump session” (hard to define, but we all know it when we see it; so see it before it is too late).

5. No Select Groups. Remember how it hurt your feelings when some people got invited to the party but you didn’t? Same deal here. If they don’t invite the whole class, don’t go. Especially don’t go if they call it something stupid like “let’s gel the ‘big three’ together”. That kind of talk will just get you in trouble; don’t go.

6. Don’t Get Taken in By Sweet Words. Your Momma told you they would talk sweet to you; don’t get taken in. She was right. It would be simple if you could spot antitrust trouble just by seeing an evil-looking guy in a cloak and silk hat and a waxed mustache who whispered “Pst! Let’s conspire!”. They don’t do that. People sometimes unknowingly fall into conspiracies, pulled in by other nice-seeming people who say “let’s get on the same wavelength”, or “let’s sort it out before the meeting”, or ‘let’s get our story straight”. If they whisper to you like that, they arc the Devil. Don’t be tempted. Don’t go. It can only get you in trouble. Your ‘story” is open and honorable and firmly-based on correct data, and your story is already straight”. The only time you need to be on the “same wavelength” as anybody else is when you both tune in to the religious channel on your separate radios.

7. Don’t Let Them Spike the Punch. Your Momma suspected that some boy might try to spike the punch, and she told the chaperone to keep a lookout. She was right; same deal here. Watch out that no narrow interest tries to rig the meeting or the system unfairly in favor of its company or its narrow interest; like a spiked punch at a junior high party, it can only lead to trouble (and don’t let anybody do the minutes on company stationery; it makes it look, like their company in “in charge”, which is probably unfair).

8. Appearances Count. Your Momma knew that if you slipped off to the woods from the party, people would assume the worst, even if you only held hands. She was right. Pay attention to how things might look to somebody else. Some people always assume the worst, and start a bunch of gossip. Don’t be grist for the gossip; make sure you behave and look like you are behaving. For instance, don’t sit over in the corner whispering with your competitors, even about football or movies. (At this point in your life, it won’t be a gossip who will spread the scandal; it will be some lawyer trying to make you look bad to a jury, so he can personally make a lot of money, Strike a blow for liberty; behave and look like you behave and keep all the lawyers pool)

9. lf The Party Turns Wild, Leave. Your Momma told you to leave if it got wild. She was right. If the other people at your meeting start talking about or doing bad stuff, get up and walk out. (It may be unpleasant then, but it beats going to jail or getting sued.)

10. Call Your Momma if You’re Not Sure. Your Momma gave you a dime (or a quarter or a nickel, depending on how old you are) to call her if you needed advice or help. She ‘as right; same deal here. If you can’t get your Momma, call your lawyer!

David A. Bagwell is an attorney and can be reached at: P.O. Box 2126, Fairhope, AL, 36533 Suite 2E, 251-928-7766, david@bagwelIesq.com, www.bagwellesq.com.