Membership Has Its Benefits (But You Need To Appreciate Them)

Membership has its benefits; being a member of a networking group, or a professional association, definitely has its benefits:

  • you can network with like-minded people, who have your same interests and experience
  • you can get educated on the latest and greatest that is happening in your field that will enhance your professional development
  • you can volunteer to serve in a leadership capacity of some type; this raises your profile and you become memorable to others
  • you can speak, or serve on a panel, so that others can see your expertise
  • you can find a job, not just through networking but these types of groups have job boards that list postings
  • you can find a mentor, either formally or informally, who can help you in your career path or can connect you to the ‘right’ people’
  • you can find potential clients, or referrals to them

But, while membership has its benefits, it also means you have to show up to meetings and participate. If not, why join (and to put it on your resume doesn’t count). Associations and groups rely on your participation in their meetings and offerings; these are for your benefit, as mentioned above. But you also have to see the benefit and truly be a member – an active member; if not, these will fail.

Recognizing that there can be some challenges from actively participating. i.e. work schedules, time of day, location, time of year, etc. that do get in the way. Another factor is balancing time for business activities, such as client meetings or working with them.  So adding your professional meetings into your calendar will become another appointment to fulfill.

Many connections and friendships can also ensure from going to meetings, which is what these are all about. How you capitalize on these opportunities is yours for the taking; but, from personal experience, they have led to:

  • speaking opportunities
  •  being a published author
  • leading a mentoring program
  • business leads that turned into clients
  • referral partners
  • friends

“Membership has its privileges,” as the saying goes, so take advantage of a great way to enhance your career by becoming a member of a group in your industry. Be committed to the group and the benefits you receive will come back to you in ways you cannot imagine. Most allow you to visit before joining, so go to several and see what they’re about to ensure a good ‘fit.’ Focus on the benefits you’ll receive and the decision will be an easy one to make.

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