The proliferation of professional transparency is creating new ways for individuals to develop an opinion about you. Information sharing and your reputation are now inextricably combined. You can share information about yourself in endless ways (e.g., Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, blogging). Most of these do not even require you to be physically present. Individuals that you have never met and may never meet can find information about you faster than ever.
Do you have the time or the desire to make more of a commitment to membership in an association? If so, then the Board of Directors is the place for you. Being a board member in an association requires the highest degree of commitment, and represents the highest degree of complexity. Board roles typically include President, President-Elect, and Vice-President. Being on a board can be very rewarding, as it provides you the greatest opportunity to impact member experience.
As you’ve seen, there are so many reasons to get involved with an organization in your industry. Once you convince your boss of the importance, and get her buy in, the benefits are many for both you and the company. Often times your boss will even see the benefit, so much so that she is willing to pay the membership fee, if there is one. Once a member, you need to decide what role you’d like to play – some requiring more of a commitment than others.
There are a number of reasons to attend industry association events
And identifying talent is just one of them, as Chief Executive Officer of the Northeast Human Resources Association, Tracy Burns, knows firsthand.
“It is very clear to me that the key differentiator for professional success today is building relationships with colleagues you meet through industry associations,” says Tracy. “I have seen dozens of highly-qualified human resources professionals who don’t know what is going on in the industry, don’t stay current on best practices, and, quite frankly, don’t know their colleagues.
Your professional success rests with the degree to which you raise your visibility in your organization AND your industry.
You could spend all of your time being visible within your organization at the expense of industry visibility. However, when you’re only visible in your organization, you miss opportunities for professional development and opportunities to build richer relationships with industry colleagues.
Your ego and inner critic play a big role in how you participate at work.
You may not realize it, but you tell yourself hundreds of stories every day. I don’t mean stories that you share with others about what happened to you when you were a toddler, in college, or at the mall last week. I’m referring to the dozens of stories that you tell yourself every day to explain why something bad happened or why another person is behaving poorly. These stories come from your ego and inner critic.
Participating with a Purpose
“Interacting with others” is comprised of ways in which you can raise your visibility “one-to-one” with others. Unlike interaction, “participating with a purpose” is focused on “one-to-many” experiences with colleagues. Participating is comprised of activities where you raise your visibility when many of your colleagues are present.
Participating and Overwhelm
The most dramatic symptom of our newly christened PTSD (professional traumatic stress disorder) is the belief that “I can’t afford to be out of the office!” If you believe that this statement is true, “I can’t afford to be out of the office!” is at risk of becoming a mindset that hinders your ability to raise your visibility. You may hate Bruce Willis and scowl anytime you see one of his movies advertised. You might hate conflict and do everything you can to avoid a confrontation. Whatever your mindset might be, it is at risk of pre-determining how you interpret and respond to a situation.
Mindset is a habitual mental attitude that determines how you will interpret and respond to a situation.
Carl wants to participate – honestly he does
“Oh, no,” Carl says to himself as an email from his boss slowly unfolds before his eyes. “Not another team building offsite!” Like a hungry ant craving a watermelon for lunch, Carl wonders how to digest this news. Blink. Blink. Blink. He stares at the light on his office phone, silently reminding himself that he has messages waiting. Buzz. Buzz. Buzz.