YPW hires Program & Marketing Manager

Meg Foreman

Meg Foreman

Meg Foreman has joined Young Professionals of Wichita (YPW) as the Program & Marketing Manager within the Wichita Metro Chamber. Her responsibilities will include overseeing YPW’s social media channels, working with volunteers, and supporting the executive director.

She was most recently at Eastminster Presbyterian Church as their associate director of communications and spent two years as the communications coordinator at Creative Oklahoma in Oklahoma City before that. Her experience includes working with volunteers, graphic design, social media marketing, and grant writing.

We are excited to have her on our team – welcome, Meg!

Do Your Active Listening Techniques Need Perfecting?

Dan Oblinger

                    Dan Oblinger

Everyone could use some practice in each of the seven techniques identified by Dan Oblinger, Director of Training with the National Screening Bureau, during his presentation at the Chamber’s Sunrise Scrambler. Based on his experience and training as a hostage negotiator, Oblinger led an interactive program on Wednesday, June 18, about improving active listening skills. He reminded participants that listening is a perishable skill that always requires fine-tuning.

How can listening skills improve your company’s bottom line?
Oblinger shared an infographic produced by The Ken Blanchard Companies that illustrates how the failure to use active listening skills results in a lack of connection in the workplace. That lack of connection can produce higher employee turnover. Utilizing active listening skills helps you and your employees improve customer service, retain clients, improve internal coordination and efficiency, negotiate effectively, minimize risk, and sell your products and services.

Are you already an active listener?
Oblinger joked that, “Baseball is supposed to be the national pastime, but I think it’s actually interrupting people.” Don’t give yourself an A+ for active listening if you’re daydreaming during conversations, interrupting people, asking people to repeat themselves, distracted by your digital environment, one-upping the conversation, listening only long enough to decide what you’ll say next, or interrogating.

What are the seven proven techniques for improving your listening skills?
With audience participation Oblinger clearly demonstrated how asking the right open-ended questions requires less energy and provides more insight into the speaker’s values and motivation. Minimal encouragers (positive eye contact, nodding, and smiling) are powerful ways to alleviating the speaker’s fear of rejection and demonstrate your interest. Effective pauses acknowledge that what the speaker has to say is important and that it is their turn to talk. Mirroring allows the listener to demonstrate that understanding about what the speaker is sharing. The most important technique for customer service is emotional labeling, or the opportunity to verbalize understanding of the overriding emotion that they are experiencing. Requesting confirmation of the identified emotion and explaining how the emotion will be addressed provides the best customer service experience. The conversation can then be moved forward with paraphrasing or summarizing the key concepts the speaker has shared. Finally, using “I statements” communicates feelings without making assumptions or judgments about the speaker.

Our thanks to Dan (@natsbdan on Twitter) for his insight into how active listening can improve our relationships with our clients, colleagues, and family members. Special thanks to Emprise Bank for being our Sunrise Scrambler  Presenting Sponsor, Eberly Farm for providing a unique venue and breakfast as our Host Sponsor, and Davis-Moore for being our Showcase Business Sponsor.

Check out the 29 photos posted on our Facebook album from today’s event and be sure to tag yourself. We’ve also posted a photo on Instagram. Please consider following our blog at wichitachamber.org and be entered to win a pair of tickets to see Graham Colton on June 26 at the Orpheum Theatre (part of the Emerging Artist Series).

Make your reservation for the July 23 Sunrise Scrambler when Social Media and Marketing Manager Aaron Wirtz (@AAronWirtz on Twitter) presents information about how to define social media success for your organization, develop your brand ambassadorship, and identify social media myths.  We’ll see you there.

Update to Jobs Plan Available

Several of our blog postings in May included a link to an 18-page Jobs Plan about accelerating the community’s competitiveness for primary jobs. Input from the community, business leaders, and the City Council has recently been incorporated into the document and it has been expanded to 21 pages.

The updated version of the report is dated June 17, and it is available at this link. Please take the time to review the plan and share your comments at one of the upcoming public discussions about this initiative that are listed in our June 17 posting, on the Active Wichita website, or through this email address:  communications@wichitachamber.org.

Your Input Sought on Proposed Sales Tax, 2015 City Budget

“Building a Better Future” sets stage for community conversations

Wichita City Council members are hosting a series of community meetings starting this week so residents can provide input on a proposed sales tax and the City’s 2015 Proposed Budget. We encourage Chamber members and other area residents to actively participate in these discussions.

Six meetings are scheduled so residents can help shape the city’s future and identify key priorities for 2015 and beyond. The open-house style meetings, part of an initiative called “Building a Better Future,” will include a presentation and feedback session on the proposed city sales tax that would fund key community priorities related to:

  • Water supply;
  • Jobs initiative;
  • Public Transit;
  • And pavement maintenance.

Attendees will hear an overview about the sales tax, visit information stations and discuss specific plans for each community priority. They can ask questions and submit ideas in writing at the meeting or online at Activate Wichita. These meetings will explain:

  • How the priorities were determined;
  • The impact on residents and the overall community;
  • And why now is the time to make decisions about basic services needed to keep the city viable and competitive.

All meetings start at 6:30 p.m. at the following locations:

  • June 17 – District V – (represented by Jeff Longwell) Avita Senior Living at Rolling Hills, 629 S. Maize
  • June 18 – District VI – (represented by Janet Miller) Evergreen Recreation Center, 2700 N. Woodland
  • June 23 – District I  – (represented by Lavonta Williams) Boys and Girls Club of South Central Kansas, 2400 N. Opportunity Dr.
  • June 24 – District IV – (represented by Jeff Blubaugh) Osage Recreation Center, 2121 W. 31st St. South
  • June 26 – District II – (represented by Pete Meitzner) Eastminster Presbyterian Church, 1958 N. Webb Rd.
  • June 30 – District III – (represented by James Clendenin) WATER Center, 101 E. Pawnee St.

Handouts with more information about these important topics will be distributed at the meetings.

Young Professionals of Wichita to hold sixth annual Enhance Community Project

EnhanceThis Saturday, 150 young professionals will participate in a one-day project known as Enhance. Focusing on enriching Wichita while providing Young Professionals of Wichita (YPW) members the opportunity to give back to the community, the work will consist of landscape improvements, exterior facade improvements, and general cleanup of the Delano area.

This will be the sixth year for the event, and the group has added some new projects this year, including installing a Little Free Library on the grounds of the Downtown Senior Center and completing a major landscaping project at the Downtown Senior Center.

Volunteers will begin working at 7:30 a.m., break at 11:30 for a community celebration at Seneca Park, and end the day at 3:30 p.m.

See a video of last year’s Enhance projects here, and view photos here.

For more information or to volunteer, contact Suzy Finn at 268-1170.

A group from Koch Industries at the 2013 Enhance Community Project

A group from Koch Industries at the 2013 Enhance Community Project

Frequently Asked Questions about Chamber Membership

We will be answering some frequently asked questions about the Chamber through a series of posts over the next few weeks. Today’s questions and answers deal with Chamber membership.

1. Where do I get more info on how to join the Chamber?
Visit our Membership page, then contact Kresta Dundas at 316-268-1115.

 2. How much does it cost to join the Chamber?
Dues vary depending on the type of industry and number of people employed. Special rates are available for nonprofits. For more information about our membership rate schedule and the wonderful benefits of Chamber membership, contact Kresta Dundas at 316-268-1115.

 3. How can I renew my membership?
Contact Nicole Robinson at 316-268-1116.

4. I never received my Chamber plaque/Digital Member Logos/Welcome Kit. Where do I get one?
Contact Kresta Dundas at 316-268-1115.

5. If my company is a member, does that mean I am a member too?
Yes! When a company becomes a Chamber member, all employees of that company’s local branch/offices are considered Chamber members and have full access to our programs and benefits.

More Frequently Asked Questions can be found on our website. If you have a question that should be added to our FAQ page, please let us know!