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How to Get Value From Trade Memberships in a Digital World

How to Get Value From Trade Memberships in a Digital World
28 April 2022
 

As the business world makes a return to face-to-face events, it’s important to make the most out of every networking opportunity, says Julie Hulme from Expeditious Services.

Julie is the Commercial Director at Expeditious Services and has worked for the company since 2015. Julie began working in the Facilities Management and Security industry in 1990 and has experience in a range of senior roles within security and FM. Julie is a member of ASIS and is a committee member on the IWFM Northern board and Customer Experience group. At Expeditious Services, Julie is responsible for all commercial development and relationship management, particularly within the FM sector and with end-users. 

 

Image

Picture: a photograph of Julie Hulme. Image Credit: Expeditious Services

 

Online Networking and Events

 

Following the arrival and restrictions of COVID, most things moved to the digital world – including networking and events.

For those who have annual trade or industry memberships, events and networking opportunities are a significant part of the value of these memberships. Personally, I have ASIS, Security Institute and IWFM and amongst the trials and tribulations of working from home with 3 kids, I’ve managed to keep on top of the online events available.

Trade memberships can be expensive and certainly add up if you have a few. They’re likely to be a cost first in line to be cut from spending budgets. As not all memberships are created equally, and of course, you want to make sure you’re getting the best value for money, in terms of connections, knowledge and potential business opportunities.

How do you ensure you can still get value, even when moved online?

 

"The danger of online events is that it’s all too easy to be distracted by something else happening in your immediate world, whereas with real-life events you’re committed to attending and focused when in the room." 

 

Set a Target and Show Up

 

Won’t get value if you don’t attend any events. The number of online events has been significantly higher than the real-life calendar which was planned. Of course, you can’t attend them all, but setting myself a target of one a week really helped keep me on top of industry news and connecting with people in the security and FM community.

It’s been wonderful seeing more diverse groups of people and talks being facilitated over the internet, instead of relying on people being in the same country or region at the same time. I’ve particularly enjoyed the events and webinars put on by IWFM, ASIS, and Perpetuity Research.

 

Be Committed to Attending

 

The danger of online events is that it’s all too easy to be distracted by something else happening in your immediate world, whereas with real-life events you’re committed to attending and focused when in the room. 

It is difficult, especially if there are temptations for something more exciting or pressing. I’ve found if I cannot attend an online event I’ve signed up for, to diarise time to catch up on the catch-up recording so I do not miss out.

 

Get Connected

 

I must admit, the thing I miss most with online events is the opportunity to chat with industry connections and meet new people. This is a little harder in a digital world but not impossible. Some events like the Workplace Futures Conference have had fantastic break-out rooms, forums and spaces to connect with familiar faces and new ones.

 

Follow Up

 

Just like real-life events, the real benefit comes from following-up with the connections you’ve made afterwards and strengthening the relationships – not just a simple LinkedIn connection. It’s always good to send the hosts and keynote speakers a message of thanks.

 

Seek Opportunities for Extras

 

I always like to spend time seeking other opportunities to connect with an industry organisation in-between events. Signing up for their newsletters helps me stay current with their news, announcements and content, sharing blogs and articles, looking for opportunities for the Expeditious Services marketing team to get involved too.

Fortunately, real-life events seem to be reopening and I’m keen to see what 2022 has in store for us, get back out there networking face-to-face again.

Of course, if there’s one thing coronavirus has taught us, it’s you never know what could happen next.

Picture: a graphic showing several small plastic figurines with smiling faces. Image Credit: PX Fuel

Article written by Julie Hulme | Published 28 April 2022

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