AUTHOR: Julia Pluff is Director of Business Development at BRiC Partnerships. She is the current Membership Director.
As a marketing or business development professional in the AEC world, you have numerous opportunities to join industry organizations or attend events. Too many opportunities actually. It’s tempting to just join all over the place and call it good, but that probably isn’t the most efficient or
effective approach. As a member of various SMPS committees, I’ve had the opportunity to see all sorts of approaches to membership. There’s a distinction between becoming a member of an organization and being a member of that organization.
Below are a few tips for making your membership work for you.
The more you invest, the more you get back—seriously
You’ve invested the membership fee now start earning a return on that investment! Attend every meeting and event you can. Aside from the excellent and useful content, your networking opportunities expand each time you go. You meet one person who introduces you to someone else who knows someone else. SMPS people are connected all OVER the place. And are, by and large, very willing to share those connections.
Don’t just sit there
You’re in the door. Now what? Well, don’t just zoom over to your friends—tempting as it is. Walk up to a stranger and start a conversation. Ask a question. Introduce yourself. Or walk up to someone you sort of know and ask them to introduce you to someone you don’t. If you are uncomfortable going it alone, ask someone at the registration table to find a Membership Committee person to introduce you around. We’ll be happy to do so!
Ask for help
One of the absolute best perks of SMPS membership is being around people in the same industry who are willing to share their hard-earned expertise with you. I can just about guarantee someone in the room has faced, and conquered, the same issue causing you so much trouble. AND THEY ARE WILLING TO TALK ABOUT IT! When you are talking to that newly introduced person, feel free to start a discussion about some challenge and ask for advice.
Join a committee. Man a table. Volunteer at an event. Again—networking and connections. An excellent way to warm up a cold call to a potential client is to start out by calling on behalf of SMPS with an offer of a speaking engagement, place on a panel of experts, or a chance to give their input to the monthly newsletter or blog. Working the registration table literally gives you the chance to meet everyone who walks in the door.
Now attend the SMPS Membership Drive Happy Hour on March 20th and get networking!