AEA365 | A Tip-a-Day by and for Evaluators

TAG | Evaluation 2018

Jessica Byrnes

Hi, my name Jessica Byrnes and I’m a member of the AEA marketing team.

One of the greatest values of attending conferences like Evaluation 2018 is the people you meet and the networks you develop.  It can sometimes be difficult to put yourself out there and meet new people, especially at a larger event.

That’s where social media comes into play! If used effectively, social media can help you meet new people and strengthen current relationships, while also increasing awareness for your own practice or business.

Follow the Event Hashtag: #Eval18

Don’t wait until you get to Cleveland to start networking. Start using the event hashtag today! Include #Eval18 in all of your social media posts related to the conference – and have some fun with it. This is an easy way to start engaging with other attendees before you arrive at Evaluation 2018.

Be Active on Social Media During the Conference

It’s important to be active on social media even when you’re at Evaluation 2018. Tag other attendees in your posts, retweet or share other people’s content, and engage with conversations going on around the event to increase your online exposure among your peers.

Create Visual Content

Photos and videos from the conference can make effective social media tools and are great reminders of the people you met! Tweets with images receive 150% more retweets and Facebook posts that utilize visual content see over two times more engagement than those without images.

Follow Up

Keep the momentum going long after the conference ends by connecting online with your new contacts and colleagues.

Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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Happy Fall! I’m Sheila B Robinson, aea365’s Lead Curator and sometimes Saturday contributor with some Hot Tips for first-time conference attendees at #Eval18 in Cleveland, OH.

Hot Tips: Here’s what I’ve learned both from my own experience and from many others.

  1. Build your agenda before the conference. There are hundreds of sessions, and no, you cannot attend them all! Use the online conference program to help plan your agenda. Try to attend a variety of session types sponsored by different TIGs.
  2. Leave your day job behind. This is your time for learning, networking, and having fun! Set up those “out of office” messages and try to give the conference experience your full attention to get the most out of it.
  3. Masquerade as an extrovert, even if you’re not. I traveled to my first AEA conference alone and didn’t know anyone there. I met my first AEA friend by recognizing the name on her name tag as someone who had authored an aea365 post I enjoyed, so I approached her and told her as much. We ended up talking, attending sessions together, and even having dinner. And regarding those “BIG NAMES” in evaluation? Approach them too! After years of attending the conference, I’ve met just about all of them. Guess what? I’ve found them all to be genuinely nice people willing to chat for a few moments, sign books, and pose for pictures.
  4. Attend the Social and Networking Events
    • First Time Attendee Rapid-Fire Orientation
    • Poster Exhibit & Meet the Authors Reception
    • Topical Interest Group (TIG) Reception
    • Awards Luncheon (ticketed event- additional charge)
    • Silent Auction to Benefit Traveling Presenters
    • Design Loft 

OK, #4 is probably more a continuation of Tip #3 but also important enough to warrant its own number. These sessions are fabulous networking opportunities. It’s easy to strike up conversations with poster presenters, the people who gather with you at a poster of interest, book authors sitting at their tables, and people shopping and mingling at the silent auction. You automatically have something in common with people when you’re in the same place at the same time. Why not let that be your icebreaker? Oh, and here’s another one. Go to breakfast at the hotel restaurant. Yes, really. So many people travel to this conference on their own that typically, the restaurants start asking people with the tell-tale red name tag and interest ribbons if they wouldn’t mind sharing tables. I’ve met some of the coolest people this way!

Get Involved: While there will be hundreds of high quality sessions and fabulous learning opportunities at Evaluation 2018, it’s meeting fellow conference-goers that makes the biggest difference to me. It’s how the learning extends far beyond the conference, and for me, the most joyful part of the experience. I hope this becomes true for you as well. Safe travels!

Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org . aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

Kristin Fields

Kristin Fields

My name is Kristin Fields and I am the editor for AEA’s monthly e-newsletter. I joined the AEA staff about a year ago, and it has been such a pleasure to learn about our many members’ experiences in the field of evaluation.

Our e-newsletter is a chance to share the latest and greatest AEA news, events and educational opportunities with you. It’s also a great place to learn about your fellow members, whether it’s through columns like “The Face of AEA,” which spotlights member experiences, or sharing updates from our many AEA Topical Interest Groups. By getting to know your fellow AEA members, you may find you share a common experience, and down the road they can be a resource to help you solve a challenge. Learning from others is a powerful tool, and with that in mind, I’d like to share a few tips for interviewing. Not a writer? Not a problem. With Evaluation 2018 right around the corner, these tips can also be applied to the many networking opportunities you’ll have between sessions.

Hot Tip: Come prepared with a list of questions.

There’s nothing worse than an unprepared interviewer. When asking someone to take time out of their day for you, make sure you have a list of questions handy. Whenever possible, share questions in advance to ensure a productive conversation. While networking doesn’t necessitate the same procedure, it never hurts to mentally prepare a few basic questions (i.e. “How long have you been in the field? What got you started? What are some of the challenges/successes you’ve faced recently?”)

Hot Tip: Pay attention.

This seems obvious – however, there are so many distractions that can ruin a good conversation. When interviewing someone for a story, it’s important to ask if you can record the conversation. This lets you avoid typing notes as they speak, so you’re fully present and the click-clacks of your keyboard don’t detract from the conversation. While you don’t need to record conversations while networking, similar rules apply: put your device down, maintain eye contact and focus on what the person is saying so the conversation flows naturally.

Hot Tip: Follow up is key!

Once the interview is published, be sure to follow-up with the interviewee and thank them for their time. If applicable, share a link to the article online and encourage them to share it with others, too. In networking situations, don’t forget to get the person’s contact information, and follow-up with a quick note to thank them for their time. This can lead to future conversations and greater connections.

Whether you’re interviewing someone for a blog or making a connection in person, I hope these tips lead to productive conversations and future relationship building.

Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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Hello, my name is Tania Jarosewich, owner of Censeo Group, a northeast Ohio program evaluation firm that supports educational agencies and nonprofit organizations in evaluating their programmatic efforts. We northeast Ohio evaluators are excited to welcome you to Cleveland for Evaluation 2018.

Check out the Rad Resources below for a list of Cleveland-focused Twitter feeds. Why Twitter? Well, it’s an easy and quick way to learn about upcoming events and a good place to learn about new evaluation results and research findings.

Welcome to Twitter displayed on tablet

Max Pixel Creative Commons Zero – CC0.

It’s easy to post a link and quickly share information with followers, but is Twitter an effective way to share work and build knowledge in the evaluation community? Research about the impact of tweeting on article or report downloads and citations has been equivocal. One study found a correlation between Twitter activity and higher citation rates in the area of ecological research. However, other studies have not found differences in the number of citations based on whether or not the author is on Twitter. Although there might not be a clear correlation between Twitter and citations, there is a benefit of using Twitter to disseminate evaluation or research findings. Twitter users who have a large following and compelling or interesting findings, have a greater chance of sharing findings with an audience wider than colleagues who would read a scientific journal, for example increasing visibility on Google searches. Tweeting about a project or finding, a relatively quick task, could amplify the message and communicate with a wide and varied audience.

Rad Resources: Add these Twitter handles to your feed to get a sense of what is happening in Cleveland and find places to visit during the conference.

Destination Cleveland @TheCLE

#HappyinCLE @happyincle

Cleveland Magazine @ClevelandMag

Cleveland Foundation @CleveFoundation

Downtown Cleveland @DowntownCLE

Cleveland Scene @ClevelandScene

West Side Market @WestSideMarket

Cleveland Metroparks @clevemetroparks

Rad Resource: Jayne Corso, the voice behind the @aeaweb Twitter page has written a number of AEA 365 posts about evaluators who tweet

Hot Tip: use the #Eval18 hashtag to tweet about or follow tweets about the AEA 2018 conference.

We’re looking forward to the fall and the Evaluation 2018 conference all this week with our colleagues in the Local Arrangements Working Group (LAWG). Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to contribute to aea365? Review the contribution guidelines and send your draft post to aea365@eval.org.

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Greetings! I’m Seema Mahato, board member (student representative) for The Ohio Program Evaluator’s Group (OPEG) and a member of the Local Arrangements Working Group for Evaluation 2018.

‘Evaluation without Borders’, a pro-bono evaluation consulting program was piloted by Washington Evaluators at the 2017 AEA conference. As a participant of this event during AEA 2017, as a pro-bono consultant, I realized the tremendous value this event holds in terms of materializing AEA’s end goalsGrowth in the effective use of evaluation as a means for enhancement of the public good (with results optimizing use of available resources). This volunteer consulting event provides a platform for evaluation professionals to share their knowledge and expertise with professionals from community-based organizations (non-profits), and thus advances AEA’s commitment towards greater public good. Other professional organizations such as Bankers without Borders, Engineers without Borders USA, and Statistics without Borders live the similar philosophy of sharing technical expertise for the enhancement of public good.

Given the current times of facts versus alternative facts tussle, evaluators and evaluation could play an important role in creating the awareness necessary to distinguish facts from alternative facts as we deliberate Speaking Truth to Power in Cleveland this year. Continuing the Washington Evaluator’s initiative from AEA 2017, OPEG would like to invite evaluators and non-profit professionals to participate in the second iteration of Evaluation without Borders in AEA 2018. This pro-bono consulting event provides an opportunity for conference attendees to reflect on this year’s conference theme and understand how evaluation could facilitate and contribute towards Speaking Truth to Power.

Rad Resources:

Giving back to the community. We would like to invite you to participate in Evaluation without Borders and have created a sign-up form, also available on the OPEG website, to facilitate participation in this event. Please share some details about your evaluation experience and areas of expertise that you would like to volunteer with as a pro-bono consultant. The pro-bono consulting sessions are scheduled for Monday, October 29th, Tuesday October 30th and Wednesday October 31st.  On Wednesday, October 31st the event ends at 2pm so that we can attend the opening plenary.

[For additional information, please contact Seema Mahato at sm618312@ohio.edu]

 

We’re looking forward to the fall and the Evaluation 2018 conference all this week with our colleagues in the Local Arrangements Working Group (LAWG). Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to contribute to aea365? Review the contribution guidelines and send your draft post to aea365@eval.org.

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Hi my name is Jayne Corso and I am the Community Manager for AEA.

It’s my favorite (and busiest) time of year! It’s that time to start sharing all of the exciting activities taking place at Evaluation 2018. Are you following #Eval18 on twitter? If not, here are just a few reasons why you should be!

Rad Resource: Conference News

As the AEA community manager, I am sharing the latest news pertaining to the conference on social media. I always use #Eval18 when posting about the conference, so our news is easy for you to find. Start following #Eval18 to learn about our social events, hear who will be in the Connection Center, and who will be presenting in the presidential strand!

Rad Resource: Connect with Speakers

The full program for Evaluation 2018 is now on the website. Start following the speakers you look forward to seeing in Cleveland! Many of our speakers are using #Eval18 to talk about their sessions. Twitter is also a great way to make connections—so don’t be shy, go ahead and introduce yourself.

Rad Resources: Participate in the Conversation

Members of the evaluation community are also getting into the hashtag fun. Follow #Eval18 to be a part of the conversations surrounding Evaluation 2018. This week, everyone is excited by our announcement of child care services at this year’s conference. What will the conversation be next week?

I look forward to connecting with you on Twitter and seeing you at Evaluation 2018 this October!

Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org . aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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Kelly Laurie

Kelly Laurie

Hi I am Kelly Laurie and I am the Event Services Manager for AEA.

Evaluation 2018 is upon us! Our registration launch is right around the corner and the AEA team is anxious to go LIVE! Don’t let our July registration opening time frame fool you – conference planning starts months and months in advance and we’ve been diligently working away.

Generally, we’ve already started planning the future year conference while the current year program is still yet to be completed. We take lessons learned, new ideas, and survey responses to implement improvements into future year programming with the goal to make the AEA Annual Conference better year after year.

One new offering in 2018, based upon feedback and comments, is childcare. A lot of research and thought has gone behind this decision and we are happy to be able to offer this new initiative. The team is also very excited to bring Evaluation 2018 to Cleveland – it’s a great city with a lot to offer and we hope you are all looking forward experiencing the city as we are!

 

Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

 

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Hi, I am Laura DeMaria and I am the Senior Manager of AEA’s Operations department.

When I joined the AEA staff in September 2017, I had two main priorities: one was to learn as much about our organization and staff as I could, and the other was to learn as much about evaluation as possible. Within just a few weeks, I had a great opportunity to do both in real time at Evaluation 2018, AEA’s annual meeting, and our most attended meeting to date.

What impressed me most about my fellow staff was their absolute professionalism and dedication to customer service. Successfully running a 4,000+ person meeting in the labyrinthine Marriott Wardman Park hotel is an incredible feat! And to do so with such grace and positivity was a delight to see. From my station in the Information Desk, I was amazed by how much the staff accomplished, from the behind the scenes detail to the very public movement of tables, auction items, livestreamed sessions, the lights and sound, and even, at one point, a drum circle. AEA members, you have a highly competent staff at your service.

This January a few of us joined the Board of Directors for our first meeting of the year in this year’s conference location, Cleveland, OH. First, let me say this about Cleveland: what a city! The feeling I got was one of coming home. Warm people (even in the cold weather), the beautiful line of the edge of the lake against the city, the urban architecture, and the passion of the residents for their home town made us all agree we are genuinely looking forward to returning this fall.

During the Board meeting, I was struck with how devoted to listening evaluators are. Discussion is always lively, and the Board, and the members I have met, truly are committed to their value of inclusivity. This is one of my favorite things about learning about evaluators and the profession of evaluation, that no matter what your perspective is, there is room for you at the table.

I look forward to meeting more of you in the coming months, and especially at Evaluation 2018 in Cleveland!

Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

 

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Hi everyone, I’m Leslie Goodyear, and I’m honored to be the president-elect of AEA. In my spare time, I work at Education Development Center (EDC) where I design, conduct and oversee evaluations of education programs.

I’ve been a member of AEA since 1995, and this year will be my 22nd AEA conference. It’s always an exciting week, filled with reunions with AEA “family” and friends, great learning experiences, new connections, and a reminder of the diversity and depth in our field.

As you know, each conference has a theme; this year’s theme is “From Learning to Action.” AEA president Kathy Newcomer and her program committee have developed some terrific opportunities for participants to engage with this topic through the video submissions, the presidential strand sessions, “tracks” in the program, virtual sessions, and more. I have no doubt that we will come away from this meeting inspired and energized to think about our own work in new ways.

As president-elect, one of my main responsibilities was to think about and develop the theme for Evaluation 2018. I have to say, this was a daunting task! To start, I spent quite a bit of time poking around EvalTalk and other evaluation forums; looking at journals, books, and previous conference themes and programs; and listening to evaluators from all walks of the evaluation field.

What did I learn? As evaluators, though we collaborate and advocate, we value our independence. We ply our trade, such as it is, in data. Facts matter to us; we seek to understand and to share that understanding with stakeholders. We endeavor to contribute to knowledge, improve programs, make a better world.

So what’s the theme already, Goodyear? Oh, right! All this rooting around resulted in the theme for Evaluation 2018: Speaking Truth to Power. (Cue the trumpets!)

The onsite program for Evaluation 2017 has a description of the theme, where I elaborate how we might explore it together throughout 2018, and in Cleveland at the annual conference.

This last year has been exciting, interesting and an amazing learning experience.  I can’t wait to see you all in Washington, DC and to hear your ideas for how we can move From Learning to Action into Speaking Truth to Power!

Rad Resources: Here are the Evaluation 2018 Theme Graphic and Evaluation 2018 Theme Text advertising Evaluation 2018 that appear on the back page of the Evaluation 2017 onsite program.

Rad Resources: Learn more about the origins of the phrase “Speak Truth to Power.”  And read the American friends Service Committee publication here.

And get ready for CLEVELAND, OH for Evaluation 2018!!

Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org . aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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