Make The Most Of That Membership
By Frank Agin
Learn how to maximize the benefits from business organizations. Here are
seven essential actions to ensure you benefit from any group or organization.
If you make your living in business, you ought to get involved with groups or
organizations in your area. This could include a professional or trade
association related to your business. It could also be the chamber of commerce
in your area or region. As well, it could be a service organization, such as a
Rotary, Kiwanis or Lions Club. Or it could be a structured networking
organization such as AmSpirit Business Connections, BNI or Gold Star.
Whatever the case, if you are an entrepreneur, sales representative or
professional, membership in one or more of these groups and organizations is the
perfect venue for exposing your business in the community. In addition, this is
a surefire way to network you amongst others involved in the group or
organization. Most importantly, in time, your membership will result in business
coming your way.
Know this, however, membership alone is not enough. Membership merely gives
you the opportunity. To take advantage of the opportunity and reap the benefits
of membership, you need to undertake seven simple (but essential) actions.
- Consistently Attend: To ensure that
you remain in the minds of your fellow members, plan to be in
attendance as often as possible, if not all the time. While it
is not reasonable to expect perfect attendance, when it comes to
benefiting from your membership the old adage “out of sight; out
of mind” could not be truer.
- Come Early...Stay Late: The most
effective memberships are those where you are known, liked and
trusted. In short, you need to establish a relationship or
rapport. This can be difficult to achieve as organizations roll
through the agenda in a timely manner. Thus, it is the time
before and after the periodic meetings where you have the best
opportunity to develop those one-on-one relationships with
- Associate Between Meetings: Even if your
group or organization gathers on a weekly basis, there is a
relatively vast time between meetings. You benefit most from
your membership when you make productive use of this time. You
can use occasional telephone calls or e-mails, informal
luncheons, and other communication as a great way to solidify
relationships with your fellow members.
- Get Involved: Answer this, “If you do
not attend a meeting, will you be missed?” If your answer is
anything but a resounding “YES,” you are not making the most of
your membership. Get involved. Serve as an officer, a committee
chair or generally just roll up your sleeves and get busy. Not
only does this increase your exposure to other members, it
serves to brand you as one who is committed to the general
welfare of those around you...
- Present Yourselves Well: Right or wrong,
everything you say and do create an impression. Knowing this,
carefully conduct yourself. Act professionally. While you can
employ humor, do so wisely. Choose your words carefully and
tactfully. It is much easier to think before you speak than to
profusely apologize for something that came flying out of your
mouth. Even make sure that what you are wearing is appropriate
for the group and a reasonable representation of the image you
want to project.
- Add Value To Others: People cannot
help but like and support those who are helping them. Knowing
this, you are wise to find ways to help your fellow members. You
should look for opportunities to refer them to customers and
clients. You should introduce them to people that might benefit
them, such as strategic partners or reliable vendors. You should
share with them any beneficial information related to their
competitors or industry. Whatever you give, will ultimately come
back to you.
- Be Patient: You can realize a
plethora of benefits from joining and becoming involved with
groups and organizations. And you will find these benefits
wonderfully worthwhile. Unfortunately, however, these benefits
are seldom immediate. They take time to manifest themselves.
Remember, these benefits are the result of strong, long-term
relationships – the best of which you will forge over months and
years of interaction.
In summary, if you belong to any number of groups or organizations, great.
That is a wonderful means of gaining exposure for your business and networking
yourself. If, however, you want to maximize the benefits associated with
membership, reflect upon your actions and activities and measure them against
the actions listed above. If you note deficiencies, take action ... as that
action will lead to wonderful benefits.
Contact Frank Agin at