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You're the Monarch . . . Now What?
[02/12/2010] [Okami Cio Cio]

Okay, so you're sitting there going - what should I do now?

First, rewind a second. What got you thinking about doing this in the first place? You wanted to see a really cool reign with all sorts of neat ideas? You wanted to take time to focus on getting people properly rewarded for their efforts? You wanted to increase fund-raising? You wanted to make sure the park was in the top of the ORK stats? You wanted to help out? No one else would step up? Here's the big secret: it doesn't matter why you ran for office. What matters is what you do next.

If you've already got a plan for events to host, things to do, a theme, cool Arts and Sciences contests, and lots of fun - the best thing you can do is make a schedule and stick to it! However here are some tips that can help:

1. Send yourself reminders, set times for when you'll be sending out emails, reports, and other communications.

2. Before each game day, give yourself plenty of time to get to the event. Being prepared with equipment, prizes, swag or other effects in advance can help immensely.

3. Fight the mid-reign burn-out with a planned break. You have the right to miss an event or two, so don't feel guilty for doing so, especially if you come down with an illness or have a real-life emergency.

4. Enlist the help of a friend or family member to be your coach and cheerleader. Give them a copy of your schedule as well to assist you as a backup.

5. Smile as often as you can. It sounds silly, but sometimes you'll run into tense situations, and keeping an upbeat approach will help you handle those so much better.

Now, maybe you're not all that prepared. That's okay. Not everyone has a detailed approach to his or her reign. There's no shame in having a less structured reign. Remember, you have specific responsibilities in the corpora that can help you keep on track. You should already be familiar with your corpora as an officer. Brush up on the section that applies to you.

There are specific duties for each office. However, there are other duties that as an officer you can perform that make a big difference to the club.

1. Cheerleader. Most groups are already full of people who are excited about Amtgard. However, even a young group starts to show signs of apathy and burnout now and then. As an officer, being excited about the game, every player's efforts and successes, and upcoming events can really keep folks pumped up.

2. Contributor. If you show up, stand on the sidelines and hang with your buddies, and go home halfway through the day, your players will notice it. If you show up, talk to a lot of players (not just your best buds), participate, either in the game or helping to get the game underway (reeving, 'o-crating, or other wise assisting,) and be one of the first to arrive and last to leave - it will get noticed as well.

3. Counselor. I don't mean that you're going to have to play amateur psychologist. I'm thinking more like the school counselor who helped you decide which classes to take. When players come to you asking for advice, encourage them, but don't decide for them. Provide them the feedback and sounding board they need. Try to always focus on the positive.

(On a related note, you'll inevitably have someone try to draw you into some personal drama or problems. There's nothing wrong with being a friend, however don't feed negative situations with trying to stir the pot, or "get to the bottom of things." I'd even say that it's best to avoid the job of mediator. Instead, encourage people to play nice, deal with each other directly, and remind them that this is all in good fun. If you do have a player that needs a sympathetic ear constantly, tell them as kindly as possible that you are concerned for them, but can't take sides while you are in office.)

4. Contact. People will need supplies, assistance and information. You'll be one of the first places they'll see to go to get any of these. Familiarize yourself with who in the park can help in different arenas, garbing, weapon making, etc. Keep aware of who's doing well in training others in fighting. Know who's willing and likely to help in service. You'll be able to make sure people know where to go and whom to talk to.

5. Communicator. Keeping your populace updated about what's going on, as well as singing the praises of your park on a national level, can be a boost to the whole group. When you have news, don't be afraid to tell everyone and anyone. Being timely in advising what awards have gone out, what events are happening, and if you're the PM - update the ORK weekly. Keep up with asking the populace for input as well. Communication goes both ways, so remember to listen with open ears and an open mind.

(Side note to PMs: sometimes you'll have trouble getting info from other officers - outside parks and the like. Don't be discouraged. Ask privately, and then if you haven't gotten a response in a reasonable time, a week tops, ask publicly. You might feel like a tattletale, but in the end, your players will know that you're doing everything you can for them. I'd also advise setting a weekly "update time" for you to utilize to work on keeping all your stats entered.)

Finally, it can be hard when you are in the middle of what folks are trying to turn into a crisis to stay relaxed and happy. Remember that even with all the importance that people put on what happens in the game, it is still a game, a hobby and not the only thing that matters in your life. Do your best, stay cool, and keep smiling.

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