Finding a Chair for One More: RESULTS Expansion


September 30, 2011
Lisa Marchal, Global Grassroots Associate

A trick I learned early on when convening in-person meetings has to do with chair placement. Let me explain.

Sometimes, when you’re trying a new endeavor, or merely attempting to boost an existing one, different things can chip away at morale. A classic example of this is when people gather for a meeting or event and there are more empty chairs than there are attendees. Something I have seen change the mood in a situation like this, no matter the size of the turnout, is the need to bring more chairs into a room. Consequently, I have been known to intentionally set up a meeting or event room with just enough chairs, minus a handful. Then I place some extra chairs nearby. There is a small ripple of excitement in any room that needs to shift to accommodate more interest; no matter what the size of the audience, the need to make space for more indicates that you are where something is happening. You are where people want to be.

When we work to expand RESULTS’ grassroots base across the United States, we create a buzz that benefits us all. Sure, it can be a heavy lift. We are afraid that people won’t respond, that there will be too many empty chairs. It can be tough to discover those who want to discover us. It can be painstaking to find those individuals who want to learn about anti-poverty advocacy and to then coach them so that they can learn the ropes and get into action. It takes time and energy to set out more chairs. But what a payoff we get when we do! Fresh ideas, new friends, a greater impact with our local media and in our community, more voices to leverage as we work with Congress . . . it is all available to us when we take the time to invite people in our life circles to check out RESULTS’ life-changing work and consider being part of it.

To that end, I have to ask you . . . do you know anyone who might want to meet RESULTS? We have a steady stream of introductory calls (for folks who haven’t met us yet) and orientations (for new partners) that all are welcome to join. Have folks get in touch with us. Let’s find a chair for one more.

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