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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”







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

contact only.


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.


JV tips:


·           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

autoresponders  so it can be

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,

inexpensive company subscriptions to a monthly ebook club  and the jvAlert Perpetual

Learning Series   help

to catch up with the latest scoop -- what works and what doesn’t

work from top-level marketers & industry leaders.






By Diana Barnum, president of  and CEO of  . For more help with marketing, public

relations and writing, email  or call:

(614) 529-9459.


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