Community

Attendance small, speaker big for Chamber meeting

The Bowman Area Chamber of Commerce held its first meeting since changing their bylaws at their annual meeting, altering the frequency of the meetings from monthly to quarterly.

Guest speaker Shawn Kessel (FAR RIGHT) addresses the members at the Chamber meeting. (Pioneer Photo by Cole Benz) 

The Bowman Area Chamber of Commerce held its first meeting since changing their bylaws at their annual meeting, altering the frequency of the meetings from monthly to quarterly.

The hope was that by changing the frequency, attendance would grow by becoming less intrusive on people’s busy schedules, while at the same time brining more value to each meeting.

“We know people are busy, and so we thought if we could make them less frequent we could make them more beneficial,” Chamber President Emily Boystan said. “You know maybe pay for some speakers and some things like that, so that they’re more beneficial for the members.”

But the numbers were low, with under 20 members present. Boystan thought part of the reason may have been the holiday weekend, and in that situation it is hard to predict how many people will be present.

“There was no school yesterday,” she said. “So if people were gone, they were probably gone through yesterday.”

For those that did attend the meeting, the Chamber welcomed guest speaker Shawn Kessel who gave a presentation on engagement. Boystan said that they always have had speakers; some from community organizations, or from new businesses in town. But Kessel came from outside of Bowman, he is the City Administrator for Dickinson.

Kessel was connected to the Chamber through Teran Doerr, with the Bowman County Economic Development Corporation. Kessel was initially scheduled to speak at the economic development meeting earlier this year, but weather delayed his travel and he didn’t make it.

His presentation, focused on engagement, actually engaged the crowd he was speaking to. He asked questions that garnered more than yes and no responses, and he even broke the group down into smaller groups for an exercise.

“I thought he did a great job, anything that we can do to help the membership, any kind of training, any kind of additional benefit that we can provide is our goal,” she said.

A big part of his presentation was determining what engagement was, highlighting that engagement isn’t inviting someone to a city commissioner’s meeting, but more about inviting them to a ‘coffee with the commissioners’ type interaction.

The message, and information Kessel communicated with the local business owners, was versatile enough that it could be extrapolated to any type of industry, which kept everyone, engaged.

Boystan said they haven’t scheduled the next speaker for the July meeting, but they are working on it, and she may try to bring an outside speaker in again, if that’s what the members like.

“We’re always trying to get feedback from the membership on what they want to see,” she said, adding that they hope the new quarterly meeting scheduled will help build attendance.

GAMES