I have the honor, and pleasure, and duty, of serving on the Board of Governors for the trade association for my industry category. Yes, Virginia, there is an association for everything.
So among my duties as a Governor (how often will I get to be called Governor, in my life? Probably never again. So I have to enjoy it while it lasts.) I contribute an article for the Association's newsletter.
Our annual convention is coming up soon, so this newsletter's article was about our event theme, centered on not getting left behind in our changing business world. Here, with some minor changes, is the article I wrote. I'm sharing it with you in the meetings industry, because it is an argument for the value of trade associations everywhere. Here we go:
A while ago, a speakers bureau owner in Europe told me she'd never been interested in attending the Association convention. "It won't increase my bookings. No one at the convention will be bringing me business. I spend money to attend conventions where my company gets exposure to clients, not competitors."
Obviously, I see things a bit differently. Why attend the convention? Why be a member of a trade association at all?
Because we're professionals, working in a demanding, competitive field, and in order for our businesses to succeed, we need to stay competitive. We need to keep our standards high, our ethics impeccable, and our practices up-to-date.
And that's what a professional association does for its members. It allows us each to glimpse what our peers are doing, and how our competitors are handling the changing business environment. It allows us to learn about new business practices, about how to solve knotty problems, and about how to make sure we don't get left behind.
The meetings industry is in a state of change right now. We must learn to embrace and adapt to new technology and new tools. We must learn new ways to express the value of our services to our clients and to our speakers. We know how important our jobs are, but we have to continue to educate new generations of event planners, so that they continue to understand our value.
Attending the convention is an investment in your business. In those three days, you will have an opportunity to learn more that will help your company than you can do on your own in months. Consider it hours and days of your own research, condensed and handed to you on a silver platter, should you choose to accept it.
That's what your trade association can do for you. Don't get left behind.