Virtual Memorials Run Well

Virtual MemorialsMaui Tree

In the past few months I’ve been asked to help with 3 virtual services. Here are a few of the things I’ve learned. If you would like my help with a virtual memorial please reach out.  

  1. Probably as with the rest of life, every virtual experience is different and none of them go perfectly. As much as you practice and prepare know that there will be hiccups. They probably do something to humanize the experience rather than put a dent in it. That said, mostly I’ve seen these events be really sweet experiences where people share what they loved about their loved one. Participants have come away surprised at what a lovely experience a virtual memorial can be. 
  2. Do hold a tech run-through – try out things like sharing the screen to show a slideshow and practice spotlighting people and muting people if it’s going to be a big group so that the main person speaking can be heard.
  3. Make sure that the main person who is overseeing the event understands well how to use Zoom or whatever platform you’re using. Also, ideally, hand this role off to a professional or at least not someone who is close to the loved one – so they can experience the memorial and relax into it. 
  4. Know that the event will probably go better than you can imagine. People will share in all sorts of unexpected ways. Every time I’ve run one of these I’ve noticed that the events have a natural flow and really seem satisfying to the people who attend. 
  5. Given that not everyone is an expert with Zoom, it makes sense to hold a short training session early on in the event. In this I highlight how one can change or add their name if they want to; how to use the chat feature; how to turn off one’s video so that connectivity is improved in some cases; how to mute oneself; how to raise your hand; and different ways of viewing – speaker vs. gallery view, for instance. As Zoom continues to change, so does the short tutorial. 
  6. Decide in advance whether you want to record the session or not – and perhaps let participants know if they’re being recorded. 

Testimonials:

“We hired Albert to help our family host a Celebration of Life Zoom service for my mother in law. We needed to get organized quickly and invited over 100 people to attend and share stories. We also wanted a live music element. Albert could not have been more skilled and helpful every step of the way. He pulled off a seamless event; and he was lovely to work with. We couldn’t be more grateful! Highly recommend using his services.”  
Thanks, 
Jackie

 

3 Great Reasons to have a Personal Newsletter for Friends and Family

Start a Friends and Family Newsletter

friendsandfamilyI’ve been using email to send out a newsletter to my friends and family for the past 11 years. The response has been fantastic and it’s made me a believer in taking the time to send word to your personal network on a regular basis. Here are my three top reasons that I think this makes sense.

1. You have a personal life and telling people that care about you what is going on for you leads to their having a greater understanding of your life, hopes and dreams.  Once friends and family know more about what you’re up to – they can get behind any effort you’re making.  For instance, I had an idea a couple years ago called Farm My Yard. It’s an effort to match up homeowners and urban farmers who live nearby. I’ve been mentioning this idea and dreaming it into existence for the past couple years, and now that it’s starting to take off the people I’ve told are some of the effort’s greatest boosters.  And, of course, Farm My Yard has a newsletter sign up form on the website 🙂

2. The feedback. We all want to know how we’re doing. When I send my newsletter out, I always ask for feedback. Over the years it feels like people take turns writing back with their thoughts, suggestions and mentions of how they might be facing the same challenges and their solutions for making their way through.  Sometimes it’s just an “atta boy”, but some friends have deepened our relationship by sharing their thinking and real offers of help.

3. Referrals.  By telling my friends and family what I’m up to in my business life, they then know something of how I make a living – teaching email marketing, social media and helping small businesses boost their marketing efforts. I have become known in my personal world as THE guy who does that. This has led to friends referring their friends who need business support. I generally don’t ask my friends and family directly for support, but their knowledge of my business helps me in various ways. For instance, when we come together for various gatherings, the conversations often start at a greater depth because they’ve been following my life and are somewhat caught up with my progress. Instead of “what’s new“, the conversations more often start with “hey, I remember you mentioning that you lead street tree planting efforts” – any idea of how we can get that going in my neck of the woods?”

As with any email newsletter, you want to follow the basic rules of thumb – keeping the newsletter brief; having a great subject line; putting the call to action towards the top; and using graphics and links sparingly.  If you invite your friends and family to write back about what has moved them about what you’ve written, they often will – and, I promise, this feedback will be interesting and possibly useful.

If you ever need encouragement on trying this out, feel free to get in touch. If you’d like to receive my friends & family monthly email (The Eleven), you can sign up for it here.

You can do this, and I truly believe it will lead to great things!

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