So after all the discussion about belonging to an association and the benefits involved, are you still not convinced that it’s a good idea? Before you click away and go back to your busy work or home life, try a few of these suggestions to make absolutely sure joining an association isn’t right for you.
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.
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 desire to attend meetings and events with industry associations probably feels like a dream. The ability to attend during your workday, after your workday ends, or on the weekend is likely compromised in the following ways:
When wanting to get more involved in your organization and industry, consider organizing your participation activities by contributions, engagement, attending and leading.
What story are you telling yourself?
As we’ve discussed, you are being asked to do more, faster, and with too few resources. You feel as though you are doing the jobs of three people. Your Outlook calendar is triple-booked. Recurring acquisitions add new responsibilities with no additional resources. Consolidations and downsizing shift the jobs, previously handled by your colleagues, to you. You wish a magic wand existed to take away all of the urgent email, last minute requests, and unexpected phone calls that are created by your colleagues.
Being accessible benefits everyone. Ram Reddy is the Chief Information Officer at The Rockport Group, offering high-quality dress and casual footwear to customers globally. Despite the daily challenges he faces in his busy workplace, Ram is committed to being accessible to those who reach out to him. “Being accessible is a key part of collaboration. Although many of us have offices that physically separate us from one another, it is important to act as though there are no walls. If a colleague needs me, I want her to be able to get to me. Likewise, I like getting out of my office and, rather than email a colleague a question, ask her my question or follow-up with her in person. This also allows my colleague to access me in ways that help her.”
One other characteristic of effective Introducers is that they are either naturally comfortable introducing themselves to others or they have mastered the ability to diminish any short-term discomfort that arises as they introduce themselves to others.
While I believe you can build your ability to be consistent, attentive, skilled, and invested when introducing yourself, I think it would be presumptuous to tell you to be comfortable when introducing yourself. Whether you are an Avoider, Fumbler or just plain unconsciously competent, some of you will not be comfortable introducing yourself, no matter how many books you read.
Introducers introduce themselves with energy, clarity, and confidence. Why reinvent the wheel? Let’s take a cue from our Introducer colleagues and practice some of the behaviors they weave into their introductions that make Introducers so effective when connecting themselves to others. Recall that, at their best, Introducers are the following: