New Year’s Resolution: What Organization Should I Join?

Make an Attainable Resolution by Ensuring It Fits Your Lifestyle

Every year most people make the same resolutions which are often not too different than the year before: be healthier, travel more, go for that new job or promotion, etc.  It’s the time of year when we focus on working on what we each think can make us a better version of ourselves.  As an event planner, I encourage you to do this by joining the right organization.

What determines the right organization for you?

Ask yourself these questions:

  1. What do I want to learn or gain this year as a professional?
  2. What type of people am I trying to meet?  Vendors, clients, event planners, others?
  3. How much time will I honestly have to commit to an organization?  A few hours a week, twice a month, once a month?
  4. What is my budget?  Some organizations, trade shows and networking events are costlier than others.  What will your company pay for?  What is in your personal budget?  Be sure to assess the value of the organizations you may be interested in.  Do they focus on personal or professional growth?  Both?   If you plan to expense any fees to your company, be sure that they will cover it first.

These questions will help you focus your time and efforts towards joining an organization that suits your goals, budget and availability. Many event planners feel they have to be a part of as many event, industry and networking groups as possible while juggling tough schedules and personal life.  Diversify how you go about networking and always aim to be learning.  Regardless of how long (or short) you’ve been in the field, you need to build and maintain relationships while staying on top of trends and technology.

How Do You Diversify Networking?

Online Groups

If time is an issue, considering joining online organizations where you can easily interact on posts or forums during a lunch break,  in transit to a client meeting or mornings or evenings before or after work.  LinkedIn is a great resource for this and is an easy way to connect with valuable individuals who may not be in your area or the same circles as in-person meet up groups.

Join a Group or Go to Events Outside Your Field

Going back to four questions from the beginning, sort out who are the people you want to meet and what you want to learn.  I once attended an alumni women in business dinner.  I would never have gone if a friend hadn’t suggested it, but I was glad I did!  I was the only event planner – this event was geared towards women in or with an interest in finance.  It was also technically an alumni group for a University I had never attended.  Believe it or not, many of those types of events are open to non-alumni members, thus I was surrounded by about two hundred women (and a few men) who were ideal potential clients and who I never would have met at “typical” event planning networking events or industry organizations.  The result was me learning a little about a field outside my background in addition to what is important to people in that field.  Having that kind of knowledge makes it easier for me to come up with ideas that would make for an appealing event in the future for financial clients.  Event Planners often work with clients in a variety of fields.  Being relate-able and having insight is how you stay ahead.  Attending the events they go to makes it easier to understand what staying ahead in their industries actually means.

Narrow Your Industry Groups

Everyone wants a list of accolades to show off how good they are at their job.  A great way to do that is to join organizations and hop on their committees.  The problem, sometimes, is a desire to change the world but a time frame that barely allows you to change your shoes.  It’s easy to be idealistic and over commit.  However, high school projects have taught us  all that there’s nothing worse than a team member who never shows up or does their work.  So prioritize.  What organizations do you enjoy?  What can work best with your schedule?  For example, I work with Choose Chicago as one of about 80 Choose Chicago Ambassadors.  Being a large group, I opt in and out of volunteer opportunities, as they are available.  If something doesn’t work with my schedule, it’s not the end of the world.  This is important to me because I have flexibility while still committing to an organization I really love.  I’m currently on no other committees or boards, but I go to as many networking events as possible.  For where I am right now, that works for my schedule.  There are other groups I intend to join down the road, but I don’t beat myself up about it.  My primary commitment is to my clients.  They are my true priority.  Everything else is just gravy.

A Resolution that Resonates

The primary goal of this article is to help you make your resolutions attainable by allowing it to overlap multiple goals (i.e. learning for personal and professional development plus acquiring more professional accolades).  Then figure out how you can realistically implement this into your schedule.  You will see the results when you are honest with yourself and what you can handle.  Managing your own expectations will make it more exciting when you’ve managed to yield benefits with an easily-integrated process that is not too overwhelming to continue.  Meeting new people, learning new things and acquiring new business are all great reasons to keep it going all year!


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