In late July, future doctors gathered to elect new leadership at the National Conference of Family Medicine Residents and Medical Students. The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) organized the conference and also has plans for a larger convention of its membership in mid-September.
Unless you’re a family physician (or medical resident), these facts don’t mean much. But for thousands of people, what happens in the world of family medicine does matter. And that’s why these doctors are members of the AAFP. They want to be connected to their field of study and fellow practitioners.
It’s tough to grow a business in a silo. By that I mean operating without dialogue, networking and information exchange with other people in your industry.
I believe 100% in joining associations relevant to your business. They can open doors, lead to new relationships and give you access unavailable to non-members.
As I grow my own platform as an author and speaker on communication skills, I have become a member of various associations in the career development space. Why? Let me count the ways…
- E-newsletter and printed magazine: Most of my memberships provide an e-newsletter and printed magazine (monthly or bi-monthly) full of useful content. Both publications continue to teach me more about the career development space and introduce me to thought leaders and people I may even want to partner with on certain projects.
- Cheaper rates at conferences: Association gatherings and conferences are ideal places to network and learn new skills. Usually, members receive discounted rates to attend. At the AAFP conference in September, for instance, members can save about $200 on admission compared non-members.
- Speaking opportunities: If you want to find places to speak, it’s often easier to approach an association where you’re already a member. You’re “one of us” rather than an outsider. Also, some associations have a “speakers bureau” where you can be featured as someone others can book for upcoming events. But to add your name to the list, you must be a member.
- Access to webinars: Most associations have a library of webinars on critical industry topics and, as a member, you can watch for free or at a reduced cost.
- Discounts on products/services: Membership often grants you exclusive deals on products/services integral to your business. Why not save on the stuff you have to buy anyway?
- Inexpensive: The associations I joined have reasonable annual dues for individuals (under $100). Yes, the cost could reach into the hundreds of dollars if you join at the company/corporate level, but it’s well worth the investment for the other reasons I enumerate in this list.
- Community of like-minded people: Once you become a member, you’re connected with people across the state, country or globe who love the same work you do. And that commonality can lead to interesting conversations, relationships, partnerships and whatever else.
- Support system: No one finds success alone. You will develop faster as a professional and go further as a team if you’re attuned to your industry and its changes, trends and latest news.
If you need a place to start, google “[name of your industry] association.” The right group should pop up. Then, you’re only a few clicks away from being “in.”
Membership, as they say, does have its privileges.
What groups have you joined? And how have they helped your career?
Featured photo: Cydcor (Flickr)