All Articles Leadership Careers How can leaders get the most out of a professional business organization?

How can leaders get the most out of a professional business organization?

4 min read


The Young Entrepreneur Council is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses. Read previous SmartBlogs posts by YEC.

1. Share your knowledge

Knowledge and experience are powerful, and you can empower others by sharing what you know to help others. Helping doesn’t always take a great deal of time. Take the time to listen to others and share potential solutions that can help them. This will contribute to the collective impact of your group, and others will, in turn, share with you and others by the example you set. — Andrew Thomas, SkyBell Technologies Inc.

2. Don’t just show up

In Keith Ferrazzi’s classic sales and marketing bible “Never Eat Alone,” he makes the distinction between those people who simply show up at events versus those who come with a clear plan. The same is true for getting the most out of a professional business organization. If you join an organization, identify your membership goals, be a pro-active member, participate and make real connections. — David Ehrenberg, Early Growth Financial Services

3. Help out

These organizations run everything through volunteers, and they are usually short on solid, responsible people. Sign up to help organize events, run fundraisers and liaise with other organizations. You’ll get more out of your membership, deepen your relationships, learn new skills and possibly generate additional business. — Alexandra Levit, Inspiration at Work

4. Listen to learn
It’s always tempting to use these organizations for networking when much of their real value is in listening attentively to other members about what is and isn’t working for their businesses. Listening to learn rather than listening to wait and speak is critical for leaders who want to maximize their exposure to best practices and establish their credibility among fellow leaders. — Xenios Thrasyvoulou, PeoplePerHour

5. Give, give, give

Be engaged. Be involved. Get into the leadership committee. Participate. Offer your space. And, most importantly, give to get. Remember: You won’t get referrals or leads for your business if you just show up. Help others, and they’ll be glad to help you. — Joe Apfelbaum, Ajax Union

6. Give the most

As with any organization, you get out of it what you put into it. The best way to get the most from a professional business organization is to give the most. The time and effort will not go unrewarded. — Joseph P. DeWoody, Clear Fork Royalty

7. Think long-term

Some CEOs approach professional organizations as transactional marketplaces. Instead of thinking about what someone can do for you (or you for them) in the next month or year, brainstorm ways to interact and check up. From considering PEOs to hiring new employees, interacting over time as your businesses grow can be instrumental in learning from other CEOs. — Kim Kaupe, ZinePak

8. Be open

One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is to be open and honest about myself and my business when attending professional business organization events. This helps me to connect with others in a way that’s different from just giving an elevator pitch about what we do. When you connect on a deeper level, it is easier to share and learn from each other. — Sarah Schupp, UniversityParent

9. Stay one step ahead

As a leader, you have to stay ahead of everyone in the organization in terms of your understanding of the market, visibility into future challenges and anticipation of future opportunities. Spend time looking to the future. You have to balance your tactical work with strategic direction setting, and it requires you to stay one step ahead. — Ashish Rangnekar, BenchPrep

10. Set clear goals

Set goals for yourself. Clearly identify what you want to get out of a professional business organization. For example, are there gaps in your network that a professional organization could potentially help fill? Once you set goals for yourself, devote the time to it and be proactive about making sure you’re getting the most out of your experience. — Katrina Lake, Stitch Fix

11. Network

Network. Network. Network. Being able to build truly genuine relationships with professional business organizations is key. As people spread out across the country, your network will be invaluable to future opportunities. — Michael Matousek, Flashnotes Inc.

12. Try before joining

There are so many business organizations out there it’s often hard to tell which can deliver you and your business the most value. I’ve found one of the best things you can do is to ask to come to a couple events or be given access to the member directory to see if the group is right for you. They should be willing to permit this to win a long-term customer. — Michael Costigan, Youth Leadership Specialist