May 25, 2011 – Miami Today
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May 25, 2011 – Miami Today
It is no secret that today’s business environment has become increasingly relationship-driven, with people seeking to do business with those they know and trust. Now, as the economy begins its slow recovery, making sure your network is strong should be priority number one.
For many professionals, the first move toward achieving that goal is joining a professional association.
But while getting involved is key, simply showing up at a cocktail event or luncheon is not enough for those wanting to make lasting connections that can in turn, translate into business opportunities.
It is true that attending events with peers helps maintain visibility in the business community and stay up to date on industry trends, but active participation within an organization — for instance, volunteering or joining a committee — can deliver enormous potential to build new relationships and open the door to a new business or new job prospect.
Exchanging a business card and sharing a cocktail are, of course, important entrées to a new business relationship, but I’ve found there’s no substitute for rolling up your sleeves and working together with your peers to achieve a common goal.
In that regard, taking on a leadership role in an organization is an excellent venue for showcasing your talents, abilities and business prowess to your peers.
Whether you head up a committee, manage vendor and sponsor relationships, plan the organization’s budget or help recruit new members, getting involved puts your appetite for involvement, initiative and leadership in the spotlight among potential prospects and employers.
It is important that you do your homework to identify the organizations you’ll get the most value from.
Find an organization that provides professional development resources. Find one reflective of the diversity in your industry. Most importantly, find one whose members reflect the types of businesses and individuals with which you want to do business.
As you research, you’ll find that many associations offer membership drives, perks for new members, or programs to help new members become engaged within the organization.
For instance, at CREW-Miami, we offer ongoing programs aimed at connecting new members with more established colleagues in our organization to bring them into the fold, as well as a membership drive currently offering added benefits to new applicants.
The bottom line is this: the economy is beginning the slow recovery process, and there is no time to waste.
Engage your fellow industry professionals, get involved in the business community and associations, and focus on cultivating and building your relationships to be ready to roll when business bounces back.
Lyan Fernandez is executive vice president and chief operating officer of TotalBank. She also serves as president of professional association Commercial Real Estate Women Miami.
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