Carolyn Browne Tamler

has helped hundreds of businesses and organizations with her thoughtful facilitation and research services. She also writes colorful and compelling articles about new business initiatives! Would this help you? Call Carolyn today!

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    c:| 425.351.7531

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    2055 Pheasant Farm Lane
    Freeland, WA 98249

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    11-15-12 How to have a meeting that produces results

    I’ll be facilitating a meeting this weekend and the meeting has a very specific purpose: to identify ideas that have the greatest level of consensus, and to feed these ideas back to a national organization.

    I know that many of the people coming will have strong opinions, and my challenge as the facilitator will be to let their opinions be voiced, but to not let them dominate or take over the meeting.

    My guess is that many of you have been in similar situations.

    The key to having a productive meeting is to create a good agenda and stick to it.  Here is how I design the agenda and plan for a productive meeting:

    • I have a set of clear goals for what the meeting is intended to accomplish;
    • I create a simple agenda and follow it as much as possible; I won’t be rigid, and I allow people to contribute their ideas, but I do keep people focused on the main goals of the meeting
    • I usually allow one and a half hours for the meeting, but in this case I will have twp hours so that people will have a little time to socialize at the beginning,
    • As the facilitator, it will be my job to keep everyone focused on the agenda and assures that no single voice dominates

    One of my favorite tools that I’ll be using will be to “laundry-list” ideas as they are suggested, and when everyone seems to be satisfied that all of the ideas have been heard, I’ll invite people to come up and choose three (or five, depending on how long the list is) as their top priorities.

    Every time I use this tool – listing ideas and having people prioritize – a clear consensus always emerges.  And, this provides a good tangible result from a meeting that can be passed along or used for making decisions.

    My overall goal is to have everyone leave a meeting smiling and feeling confident and comfortable that they were able to share their ideas, hear what others had to say and feel that their time was honored and well spent.


    11-8-12 Carolyn Tamler is now writing The Business Buzz for Whidbey Local

    I am pleased to now be featured on as The Business Buzz:

    Whidbey Local is a website that was created by JoAnna Weeks, who is using her background in software sales to bring a powerful engine and powerful voice to local businesses on Whidbey Island.

    Whidbey Local is a local community bulletin board to help market Whidbey Island businesses everywhere.

    The site explains keywords to business owners so they can list products and services in ways that help people find them based on what they offer.

    So, please check out the Business Buzz weekly (I will have at least one story posted each Monday), and if you would like me to do your story, let me know.



    11-1-12 Tis the season for buttons

    Last week, I had some specific information to share about polling.  This week, I am sharing my observations about political buttons….about which I really have no information as to their effectiveness.   Or any other buttons that market something, for that matter.

    I’m just aware that buttons are everywhere.  Every candidate and every issue has lots of buttons, and I see lots of people wearing them.  There are lots of buttons for lots of other names and products that have nothing to do with politics.

    Do they do any good?  Well, I honestly don’t know.  The popular wisdom is that buttons generate name recognition and conversations.

    I will admit that the button I am now wearing is creating some conversations.  It is a button much larger than the average 1 to 1-1/2 inch size.  I’d guess it’s closer to 3 inches.  It was given to me by the person responsible for giving me Rudy, the terrific rescue kitty who has endeared himself to my husband and me as the funniest, most affectionate little fur buddy we’ve ever had.

    So, even if your politics might not match mine, I’d hope you’d smile if you see me wearing this large button with the profile of two cats that says “Cat Mama for Obama."


    10-25-12 Polls, polls, polls: Do they mean anything?

    I’ve talked in a previous Blog about polling, but in light of the fact that we are seeing new polls everyday, and they show widely different results, I feel compelled to, once again, review the concept of a random sample survey.  In theory, that’s what a poll is supposed to be.   A random sample means that everyone in a given population has an equal chance of being selected, and a mathematical principle determines the margin of error.  Anything that alters this concept biases the results. 

    Here are some things that will impact the accuracy of the responses and allow the results to be improperly projected to an entire population:

    • If you sample everyone who is registered to vote—this will include a lot of people who will not vote; 
    • If you sample likely voters in a way that excludes certain elements of the population (such as neighborhoods with a lot of low-income or minority populations, or that will exclude many people who may be likely to vote, but were not included in the sample;
    • If you sample using a self-select method (such as a Survey Monkey or a robo-call survey), it will exclude people who simply have no interest in responding.

    With the wide spectrum of responses from the many different polls being conducted daily, it is obvious that they are using different sampling methodologies and/or asking questions in ways that bias the responses.

    I have given up looking at any one poll for any sense of what is going on and I have taken to following Nate Silver’s Blog in the New York Times.  Others who I respect say that he has been the most accurate reader of the polls and what they mean.   Here’s the link to the Blog



    10-18-12 I Love Staying at Bed & Breakfasts

    My husband and I just returned from a short trip to Oregon where we spent a night each at a Bed & Breakfast in Yachats and in Astoria.

    Because I love lots of personal service and attention, I love Bed & Breakfasts.  Each one is a unique experience, and I have learned that most of the owners really invest a lot in what I have been calling customer service.  When you stay in most corporate motels and hotels, a paid clerk and other staff tend to your needs.  When you stay at a B & B, in most instances, you are greeted by the owner who has a vested interest in seeing that you are totally satisfied.

    I notice the personal touches that each B & B owner adds to the mix.  Sometimes the buildings are especially quaint; sometimes the rooms have a feeling of being in a different country.  There can be spectacular breakfasts, and often the host or hostess can provide lots of information and advice about places to see or where to have an excellent dinner.  It also seems to be part of the package that most B & B owners love what they are doing and have a passion for helping to make your stay especially memorable.

    And, there was something new that I experienced at the two places where we stayed:  The Ambrosia in Yachats gave us a canvass tote bag with their name on it, and the Benjamin Young in Astoria gave us a print of a 9 X 12 drawing of the historic home with a handwritten “Thank you” on the back.

    So, even though I may never stay in Yachats or Astoria again, I’ll certainly be telling people about my experiences and showing off the gifts I received.

    I think there are marketing messages in this that go beyond Bed & Breakfasts.

    I must also add that Rich and I have stayed at several Bed & Breakfasts on Whidbey and had similar experiences.