For those of you who may not be familiar with Dr. Bill Thomas, I’d like to introduce you to the closest thing to a full-fledged rock star in our industry. Dr. Thomas is a Harvard-trained physician, musician, author, founder of Eden Alternative & Greenhouse Project and a pioneering GAME CHANGER for all things aging.
Have you ever planned a great program, only to be disappointed by low attendance? This inevitably happens at times, even in the most active community. But if this is a persistent challenge, consider how your programming is promoted. Enrichment professionals wear many hats indeed – sales professional included – as much of the job is spent not just planning programs but promoting them. For there can’t be a program, if no one attends. When promoting, we must be sure to not only explain WHAT the program is — but WHY it is (or could be) of VALUE to the resident.
For example, let’s offer an Afternoon Improv Class. There are two ways to promote it:
Afternoon Improvisational Class
We’ll learn to think on our feet and have fun while doing it! Join us in the Great Room, Tuesdays at 2pm
– OR –
Afternoon Improvisational Class, Great Room, Tuesdays 2:00pm
A fundamental principle in improv is the “yes and” technique – where participants build on — or heighten — a suggestion. NO isn’t allowed in improv as “no” stops the action… while “yes, and” allows participants to not only further the action but make it better. It’s no wonder why improvisational workshops are a staple in the corporate world. Numerous Fortune 500 companies offer and require employee participation in Improv classes because it develops cooperation, communication skills, and promotes innovation. Join us in an afternoon improv class. We’ll learn to think on our feet, develop flexibility, and have fun while doing it!
If I were a resident, I might read the first example and keep on reading, with no intention of attending. If I read the second example – that corporations require employees to participate, I might pause and consider, because now I can see and understand the value in attending. And in understanding the value, I’d be more enthusiastic about my community’s programming in general, simply because I understand the purpose of the offerings.
As humans, we constantly evaluate… we ask ourselves, “Why should I do this, what purpose does this serve me?“
At Ripe, we offer the WHY with all of our program ideas. We provide the benefits and the reasons why a resident should participate and in some cases, the risks in why not. The best part — there’s no need to spend your precious time researching all the WHYS — simply copy and paste ours into your own promotional materials.
Heck, start an Improv class, (if you haven’t already) and just copy and paste the example above! We promise we won’t tell. It’s as easy as that.
In the Beginning
When I first started out as a Lifestyle Director I was beyond excited and completely terrified. My community was still under construction, and I had the awesome opportunity to build an enrichment and lifestyle program (a culture really) from the ground up. This is often an advantage, but for someone new to the industry, I had little precedent or reference to rely on.
Naturally, in the beginning, I second guessed myself and had my doubts. What did I know about seniors and their interests and abilities anyways!?