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Last week I focused on the tendency of PTOs and PTAs to use "should" too much in their communications and how that message can have the opposite of its intended effect.

 

This week, I'm going to focus on actions instead of words -- specifically, two little habits that creep up even in the best groups and lead directly to the clique impression.

 

1. Pre-meeting mingles. Who do you hang with before your meetings or events officially start? I bet it's your fellow officers (who have likely become good friends or close acquaintances). It's understandable, but it sends an unsubtle message of outsider-ness to parents who aren't in the in crowd. (See Is Your PTO a Clique? ) Make it a point that officers must mingle with and welcome parent attendees before every event officially starts.

 

2. Do you really want help? It's great that you have a volunteer interest form and that you ask which parents would like to help. But do you use that information? Asking and then not following up is worse than not asking at all. Sure, when you need help fast it's easiest to call on a regular. But you send a message when you don't proactively make sure that every parent who expressed interest receives a follow-up call. Assign a volunteer whose only job is connecting with and helping new volunteers.

 

Good luck!

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