Last week, I attended a CPD (continuing professional development) session on Action Learning Sets with CiPD. It cost me a couple of hours of my time and £0. I learnt loads and met some really good people.
Over my career, I have joined a number of professional bodies including APM, PMI, CiPD and MoD. Prior to being independent, I was fortunate enough to work for employers who encouraged and financially supported membership. It constantly surprises me that people who work in a profession – such as Project Management, IT, HR, Finance etc – are not members and don’t use (exploit?) the many opportunities and benefits professional bodies provide. As professionals, we have a duty to continue to maintain/ develop our skills and capability. The professional bodies are set up to help us do this and are well worth the fees by providing:
Who wants more email? Not me. But keeping up to date with developments in my profession enables me to keep learning and keep my products and services fit for the current market place. How else do you keep up to date and ensure your organisation is continuing to move forward?
PUBLICATIONS AND WHITE PAPERS
I’m always keen to purchase useful publications (with membership discount of course) and have them on my bookshelf. However, if you’re not that way inclined, and/or want to have access to a wide range of material online, the professional bodies provide it. They are always adding white papers with forward thinking perspectives.
I know. Very few of us have many hours to spare, but getting involved in events, committees, publications etc pays dividends. The work often gives insight into other organisations and greatly broadens our view of the profession. Of course, it also provides the opportunity to reinforce and strengthen our knowledge and experience and raise our profile and credibility.
One of the key activities of professional bodies is to provide events for CPD and networking for their current and prospective members in various locations around the country. The events provide access to experts and information to deepen and widen our knowledge on a diverse range of subjects relating to our profession, often with contacts who will provide additional support and guidance following the event. I have yet to attend any session where I haven’t learnt something new or not made a new contact.
Where there is limited budget for formal training, these are great as most of them are free to members or have a nominal charge (easily recouped in the coffee and snacks on offer if you’re in that mindset).
Many professional bodies would also welcome your contribution! If you’re experienced in a particular topic, offer to speak. It is an learning experience in itself preparing a talk and dealing with the questions after the session.
So, if you’re not part of your professional body – go do it! If you are, use your membership. If I don’t see you there, let me know how you get on.