Ian is a 3D printing and digital design entrepreneur with over five years of professional experience. After six years of aircrew service in the Air Force, he earned his MBA from the University of Phoenix following a BS from the University of Maryland. He is also a real estate investor, board gamer and homebrewer.
Michelle is a real estate investor who holds a real estate license and is looking to expand her professional skills. She would also like to meet new people and build more work relationships in her field. A professional organization can help her meet these goals. Let's take a look at some of the ways these groups can help members increase their skills and build professional relationships.
Professional organizations are groups made up of people in the same industry or occupation. For example, Michelle could join a real estate investment group whose membership includes agents, flippers, lenders, and contractors who work together and educate each other about the business. Or she could join a group that is exclusively made up of real estate agents. The group can be uniquely local or a national organization with local chapters.
Education & Networking
A major benefit of professional organizations is the opportunity for education. Michelle benefits from learning about techniques, methods, and strategies from industry veterans and less experienced peers with new ideas. She can share her experiences with others informally through mentoring or even deliver formal lectures and presentations to the group. Teaching makes someone become familiar with the material and present themselves as a subject matter expert. There is an opportunity to find a mentor or become one to a less experienced group member. Organizations may also bring in outside presenters for information of interest or have access to online resources for professional development.
Networking helps Michelle develop contacts and exchange information. Unfortunately, it's easy in real life for networking to be watered down to exchanging business cards or social media contacts. To be effective, there must be relationship building. The professional organization provides these opportunities. Members educate each other and may team up to work on business ideas or projects.
The activities that occur at these meetings allow professionals to meet for reasons other than just exchanging contact information. By having a purpose other than just exchanging business cards, people can build a rapport without the pressure or influence of trying to sell a product or service. It can be less awkward to reach out to a professional contact when Michelle is already comfortable with them from past meaningful experiences.
A side effect of participating in professional organizations is confidence. Speaking in public can be intimidating to many people, including Michelle. Delivering presentations and gradually becoming a better speaker can help Michelle become more confident in her public speaking skills as well as abilities as an investor and agent. There is also potential for gained confidence knowing that, as a participating member of the group, Michelle has a number of subject matter experts she can refer to if she has a problem or need. That confidence can translate into being more comfortable working with clients and fellow professionals.
Professional organizations are groups of people in the same industry or occupation who come together to meet others and share education and resources. The members of these groups can take an active role in teaching and mentoring as a way of relationship building and networking. Instead of just building contact lists, these members establish a rapport based on shared learning and working together. The shared experience reduces the awkwardness of reaching out to peers later for assistance with a business matter. Aside from the industry or job-specific knowledge gained, members can also improve their self-confidence.
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