In the course of my career I’ve worked with a variety of industry associations. I love the opportunity to learn about so many interesting and dynamic industries and anytime I begin work with a new association I try to learn as much as I can about the industry being represented. I’ve found that, not only is this an interesting learning opportunity on a personal level, but it actually makes my work with the association easier.
The first thing I did when I began working for AMPED was to attend an industry conference for one of our clients. It was an incredibly valuable experience and looking back I’m so glad I was able to take part. Not only was I able to meet many of the industry leaders I would be working with, but I gained first-hand knowledge of many of the issues important to the industry. Any opportunity to interact with the industry on a face-to-face basis is a worthwhile one!
Another great way to learn about an industry is to read. Working for an association I often find industry publications at my fingertips and I make it a point to at least skim them. This gives me a good idea of what’s going on and what is important to industry members at any given time. There are often great resources online as well. Familiarity with industry websites is incredibly helpful. Many of our associations host online discussion forums and it can be worthwhile to pay attention to questions and discussions that are posted.
So, how does all this education make the job of association management easier? In general, my experience has shown me that knowing something about the project I’m working on or the client I’m working with is a good thing. As an association management professional I am constantly aware that I am representing the industry I’m working with, so familiarity with that industry can only be beneficial. I’ve also found that members really do appreciate working with someone who is interested in their industry and the work they do.
Learning more about the industries I’m working with has always proved helpful on a number levels. It’s an activity that I find incredibly worthwhile and one that I will definitely continue in the future!