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How to Really Benefit from Associations (Part II)
This is Part II in a 3-part series. For your convenience, the
entire series is online here:
· Part I: “How to Develop Industry Contacts”
· Part II: “Tips For Improved Networking in Associations”
· Part III: “Researching Associations in Your Industries”
Part II: TIPS FOR IMPROVED NETWORKING IN ASSOCIATIONS
1. Give people a break - - as much as possible! Association folks
are just as busy or more so than any other business people. Many
are doing double-duty with volunteer work on top of their
regularly paid work everyday. So, for example, if someone said
they’d call & didn’t, open your next call to that person with
something like, “You’ve probably been super busy, so I just
wanted to touch base for a sec….”
2. Membership Directory – Two words: USE IT. Call people from it,
email them, send them postcards. Jot notes in the margins. Write
notes from meetings & other group events in the margins to help
describe members; like: “the gent with the cowboy hat who sat
next to me.”
3. Participate – join in discussions, introduce yourself at
meetings, ask questions, etc. Don’t leave all the “thinking and
planning” up to the Board members. Share any resources,
suggestions and ideas that you have that may help group members.
4. Reach Out - Not only volunteer, but reach out to fellow group
members. Everyone goes through job stress, family situations,
“bad hair” days, etc. Don’t just be a “good time” friend or
5. Lemons into Lemonade – Reach out; make lemonade out of lemons.
For example, don’t be a gossip. It’s easy in a group situation to
get caught up in an issue and be opposed to another member.
Remember to be fair and allow others to voice their opinions. You
don’t always have to agree with everyone. And you won’t. But
disagree in an agreeable manner. For example, if someone else’s
idea is voted in instead of yours, don’t cop an attitude & drop
out or quit the group. Give the other person’s idea a try and
maybe write up a report on it for a future presentation and
include your suggestions for improvements.
Note: If you did happen to mess up and inadvertently cop an
attitude and insult someone or something, take a time out. Pick
yourself up, dust yourself off, apologize / make amends and move
on. No one is perfect. And no one expects you to be. Kindness and
apologies are always welcome. That “Do Unto Others” Golden Rule
works wonders and is appreciated in groups worldwide, regardless
of the industry.
6. Grow / Joint Ventures (JVs) – Generally groups have a Nationwide
affiliation and affiliations with other states / regions. Get
involved (slow and steady) with their overall concerns. And stay
abreast of their issues when possible. Reach out to the other
affiliations and network, too. They often offer educational and
other industry opportunities, and often with an outlook that can
enhance your own, coming from another point of view. When
possible, seek joint venture (JV) opportunities.
· Don’t be afraid to ask.
· Put your request in writing (for the general public, unless
you’re in a hi-tech field).
· Treat your request like a proposal & include past work you’ve
done in this field, samples, references, additional resources,
your credentials, etc. with your request. Prepackage info into
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sent upon request.
· Be flexible. For example, others may have already asked
similarly, so you might be offered a “group” project instead. Or
maybe a Board member has a totally different idea but with your
same guidelines, so maybe you could slant your proposal a little
· Have patience & follow up in a professional manner. Reaching a
“Board-approved” decision can take awhile to get through
channels. So sit tight and touch base every once in awhile.
· “No” doesn’t mean forever. Maybe your idea could work next
quarter or next year. Or maybe your proposal could be altered and
resubmitted. No’s are not personal in nature. So treat them like
regular business proposals and follow up for feedback and
suggestions. Maybe there is something else you could do that
would be a much better fit.
· Refer to "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People," by
Stephen R. Covey. And focus on Habit #5, “Seek First to
Understand, then to be Understood.”
· Keep up. Keep educating yourself and your helpers. For example,
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Learning Series www.jvAlert.com/LearningSeries.aspx?id=1805 help
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work from top-level marketers & industry leaders.
By Diana Barnum, president of
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For a 30-day no-cost trial of ProfitAuto, sign up online at
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