As an association professional, you’re expected to keep up with the latest industry trends and techniques. After all, education is part of the value that your association provides.
But hey, you’re only human! You can only keep up with so many trends. So how can you make sure that you stay on the cutting edge of your association’s industry? Here are four tips:
1. Read...all the time
I can’t tell you how important this one is. If you want to stay on the cutting edge of your industry, you must read, read, read - and then read some more. Read the news, industry-related blog posts, LinkedIn articles, social media snippets, etc.
Now I know, as an association professional, you’re incredibly busy. You barely have time to read your emails, much less every page of the Wall Street Journal. But it can be done. You just have to prioritize your reading. Set up Google alerts, Twitter lists, and RSS feeds to easily curate industry-related content. Then, carve out a little time every day to scroll through those lists and feeds. (Tip: If you do this at the same time every day, it’s much more likely to become a habit.)
2. Attend conferences/workshops
Conferences and workshops are another great way to stay on top of new trends, techniques, and laws. Plus, they’re a great way to meet other industry leaders. So not only can you soak up information during those conference sessions, but you can then follow those industry leaders on social media, where they’re likely to share more valuable, thought-provoking content.
Now sure, some conferences and workshops can be pretty pricey. But if you look carefully, you may be able to find a few cost-effective options, or better yet, a few scholarship applications. It never hurts to check.
3. Keep track of what other associations/industry leaders are doing
This is somewhat an extension of point #2, but still worth mentioning. Whether or not you attend conferences and/or workshops, you need to make it a point to follow other associations and industry leaders on social media. Whether you’ve met these people or not - you NEED to make that connection. Industry leaders are great about sharing their expertise with others, so the closer you are to them, the closer you’ll be to cutting-edge information.
4. Stay true to your mission
Keeping up with the latest trends is important if you want to stay relevant in your particular industry. That being said, you don’t need to mold your association into something that it’s not just to keep up with what’s “hot” at the time. Sure, evolving with the times is important, but what’s more important is knowing what your association is good at and sticking to that. Trust us, your true value proposition is what will carry you far.
What other tips do you have for staying on the cutting edge of your industry? Let us know in the comments below!