When wanting to get more involved in your organization and industry, consider organizing your participation activities by contributions, engagement, attending and leading.
Presence is the tangible ways in which you connect with others. This is the place where activities and behaviors that help you be seen in your organization and industry exist. When you work to build your presence, you are seeking physical ways to connect with others as well as contribute to your organization and industry. You cannot be visible if you are not seen by others!
Now more than ever, being visible is critical to your long-term success in your fast-moving, ever-changing organization. When you think about being visible, consider that there are three levels of visibility: low, medium, and high. The two levels that typically impact your visibility are your personal visibility and the visibility of the work that you do.
Networking is, and will continue to be, an important professional activity for business professionals. I previously stated that 60 – 70% of employed individuals located their most recent job opportunity through networking. In a poll I conducted on LinkedIn, these numbers were corroborated when 59% of 1,339 respondents chose the category “by networking with friends and colleagues” as the strategy that led them to their most recent job. Therefore, networking seems to be three times more effective than using an on-line job board and almost three times more effective than using a recruiter.
Raise Your Visibility & Value highlights seven visibility accelerators. Our sixth visibility accelerator is “Engage with Industry Associations.” Learn how to interact and participate with colleagues outside of your organization.
A common question from folks who have read my new book Raise Your Visibility & Value: Uncover the Lost Art of Connecting on the Job has to do with ways to be visible.
While I provide dozens of ideas on how to be more visible in your organization and industry through the seven visibility accelerators, the ways you can be more visible in your own organization and industry varies dramatically.
Ed speaks and hosts workshops on how to help your organization achieve its mission, goals, and strategies by helping your employees raise their visibility and value in your organization.
The types of industry associations that exist are endless. In an effort to create camaraderie among industry professionals, share best practices, provide education, and create opportunity, every industry is represented by numerous associations. Here are just a couple examples of professions and corresponding associations:
If you are a… Take some time to explore… At this website
Nurse The American Nurses Association nursingworld.org
HR Manager The Society for Human Resources Management shrm.org
Looking for associations that represent a specific category rather than a specific job title or industry? Simply Google your role, profession, or category followed by the word “association.” You are bound to find either a local, national, or international association that will provide you an opportunity to engage with individuals who share your interests.
Last, we learned about the various roles you can play when engaging with industry associations. Each role has varying degrees of commitment and complexity. Here are a few details for each:
- Guest. Also known affectionately as a “non-member,” most association meetings and events are open to everyone. Attending an industry association event before you join the association is a great way to “kick the tires” to assess if this is the group for you.
- Member. Once you join the association, you become eligible for the benefits that come with membership, including reduced registration prices for events and access to industry resources that are not open to non-members.
- Writer/blogger. Most industry associations have a website, a newsletter, and a blog. If attending a meeting is not possible for you, perhaps providing content for an industry publication is an alternative. Even if you cannot attend every meeting, you can identify a topic of interest to the membership for publication. Industry associations are always seeking content for their newsletters, and your submission will be welcomed.
- Committee volunteer. Most associations have a number of committees that allow you to help the association including finance, marketing, membership, programming, professional development, public relations, and sponsorship. As a volunteer on a committee, you can bring your professional expertise (i.e., your talent with numbers or your love of the sales process) to the association during the year. Many individuals join a committee before moving on to more complex roles, such as serving on the Board.
- Special project volunteer. If participating on a committee for a year feels like too much of a commitment, your industry association may host a special event (e.g., a regional conference) during the year. These special events are like a project – they have a start and end date – and once the event is over, so is your commitment.
- Workshop/webinar/teleclass facilitator, speaker, or panelist. Whether you join your industry association or not, presenting or participating on a panel is a good way to engage with your industry. Associations are always looking for speakers who will elevate the education level of their members.
- Board of Directors member. When you are ready to maximize your visibility within your industry, the Board of Directors is the place for you. Being on an association Board requires the highest degree of commitment, and represents the highest degree of complexity. Board roles typically include President, President-Elect, and Vice-President for the committee roles listed earlier. Being on a Board can be a very rewarding experience as it provides you the greatest opportunity to impact member experience.
You can engage with an industry association in several ways. In most associations, there is something for everyone, and each of these roles vary in their degree of commitment and complexity.
You can actively engage with an industry association as a:
- Committee volunteer
- Special project volunteer
- Workshop/webinar/teleclass facilitator, speaker, or panelist
- Board of Directors member
Next we’ll discuss a few more specifics for each.