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Worth a Thousand Words

Connie Boord
Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, USA
From: LEAVEN, Vol. 34 No. 5, October-November 1998, p. 98

The sayings "a picture is worth a thousand words" and "seeing is believing" point out the importance of our visual perception. "Oh, now I see!" says the listener who has grasped the idea. Pictures improve comprehension for adults and children who are predominantly visual rather than auditory learners. It is also known that people learn twice as much when they both see and hear information at the same time.

A visual aid can add another dimension to a meeting discussion and can increase mothers' understanding of a breastfeeding topic. Creative and eye-catching posters not only convey important information but also add variety to a meeting.

Visuals can also be used during a Series Meeting to promote membership. At any time during a meeting, a mother may be busy nursing a baby or tending to younger children and her attention may be distracted from the speaker. Even if she does not hear the information as it is presented, a poster will allow her to focus on it at a later time.

LLL meetings are full of sounds. Leaders ask questions, mothers share their experiences, babies cry and children make playful noises. A mother, especially one attending a meeting for the first time, may feel overwhelmed with the amount of auditory input! A visual aid allows the mother to see the information even if it's hard to focus on what is being said. Visuals and posters can be taped to a wall, displayed while the Leader or Group Treasurer discusses membership or distributed as a handout. Remember, when developing new materials, meeting handouts need to be reviewed by the District Advisor / Coordinator.

You might want to try one of these ideas for promoting membership in your Group:

Use a simple word poster listing the benefits of membership.

Write a word such as membership or breastfeeding vertically. Use each letter to begin a word that describes a benefit of LLL membership. Becky Cook, Carmel, Indiana, USA, used this one at an Indiana Area Conference:

Mother-to-mother support
E ncouragement through rough times
M embers-only discounts
B ooks for sale and loan
E veryone's input and suggestions
R egular monthly meetings
S ubscription to NEW BEGINNINGS
H elpful hints for mothering
I nformation about breastfeeding
P hone help from LLL Leaders

Make a chart to show how membership fees are allocated.

Jeanne Badman, St. Paul, Minnesota, USA, uses a pie chart to illustrate the portions of membership that go to the Group, Area, Division and LLLI. Jeanne's idea illustrates how LLL puts these important dollars to work locally and globally. It gives mothers a better understanding of how membership provides the Group with materials and meeting space, assists the Area in providing education at conferences and seminars and gives LLLI the resources it needs to provide mother-to-mother support for breastfeeding around the world.

A similar idea, by Charlene Jenkins, Matthew, North Carolina, USA, uses a poster with a picture of a mother in the center with lines drawn from her to each of the four corners of the poster. Each corner lists an LLL entity (Group, Area, Division, LLLI), the amount apportioned and how it is used. For example, under "Group" $7.50 (US) for supplies, meeting announcements, postage, library books, LLLI pamphlets, name tags and LLLI Group affiliation dues.

Mothers attending meetings hear about individual membership most often but there are other options as well. Family, Sustaining, and Friends of Breastfeeding memberships are also available. For more information about these membership categories, see LEAVEN Dec-Jan 1997 /1998, page 132. This chart could be reproduced in a larger format for display at meetings.

Adapt poster ideas from other Leaders.

Julie Jedynak, a Leader in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, USA, used a visual aid to enhance a Series Meeting discussion. She used a picture of a nursing mother sitting on a chair supported by many pillows, behind her back, under her arms and legs and beneath the baby. The pillows represent the different kinds of support needed by a breastfeeding mother. The poster idea could be used to promote membership by labeling each pillow with a way in which LLL supports a mother when she pays her membership. Pillows can be labeled "current breastfeeding information," "subscription to NEW BEGINNINGS," "discount on catalogue orders" and "telephone help". A nursing stool under the mother's feet can be added with the sentence "La Leche League supports the breastfeeding mother and baby."

Patsy Brekke, St. Cloud, Minnesota, USA, shared a poster idea that highlights the benefits of membership, including leadership opportunities. Patsy used a picture of a bouquet of flowers in a vase which says, "La Leche League Membership and Commitment, A Bouquet of Benefits!"

Each flower represents a component of an LLL Group and the flower petals state the major benefits. A daisy says "Monthly Series Meetings" in the middle. On the petals are written phrases such as. "accurate breastfeeding information," "parenting confidence," "support," "encouragement," "resources," "empowerment," "friendships."

A bleeding heart blossom says "Membership" and its heart-shaped petals say "discounts," "tax deductible contribution," "term life insurance option," "breastfeeding impact worldwide." Leaders can add other benefits as well.

Tulips, marigolds and other flowers highlight other aspects of LLL membership including special meetings (Enrichment, Toddler, Couples), conferences, telephone help, Group jobs and leadership. The petals of the flowers list the benefits of each of these LLL offerings.

A poster entitled "You Benefit as an LLL Member" uses a small hand mirror affixed to the center of the poster board, benefits written around it. A mother looking at the poster will see her reflection as well as the tangible benefits of membership. Attaching a copy of NEW BEGINNINGS, a conference brochure, a current LLLI Catalogue and other items around the mirror adds interest and dimension.

A Leader doesn't need to create these posters and visuals herself. Ask a mother in the Group or a Leader Applicant if she would be interested in working on such a project. Delegating this task to someone else reduces the Leader's workload and allows an artistic mother to use her talents for the benefit of the Group. Mothers take more ownership of their Group when they are actively involved.

Additional ideas for promoting LLL membership are included in the 1998 edition of the LEADER'S HANDBOOK, pages 164-166 and 295-296. Look for the "Promoting Membership" column in the Nov/Dec/Jan 1995-96 issue of LEAVEN which also includes ideas to enhance the visual comprehension of mothers attending Group meetings. Try a new idea and see if you get results!

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