I can’t believe the summer is nearly half-way over. Retail stores barely let you get in the door without shouting “Back to School” with bright colored signage, and #2 pencils. However, it’s that time again, time to get the kids their items for the new year, so that in a few months we can send them to school, into a new grade. As adult’s we no longer have to worry about school or who’s throwing a spitball across the room. We do however need to be mindful that we continue to mold and shape ourselves into the best version of “us”.

Sounds like rather intricate crafty work huh? Not really. As meeting and event planners we should always want to continue to strive to become better than what we are, and that process is very simple. Children and young adults have a system for them, it propels them from grade to grade. As adult meeting and event planners, we need to ensure we are continuing our education through lifelong learning.

“We now accept the fact that learning is a lifelong process of keeping abreast of change. And the most pressing task is to teach people how to learn.”

– Peter Drucker

Lifelong learning occurs in many ways. This blog can be an example of lifelong learning. We get our information in many ways, the test is what we do with that information once it is received. What I love about this industry is that there is always something different and new on the horizon. There is always a new way of “meeting”, or  quicker way to get results. Without education, meeting and event planners will grow stale. And no one like to be apart of anything stale.

So we have to make it a personal obligation to continue to lifelong learning. We are leaders. We show our clients the way a meeting should be, and new trends that would bring impact for their meetings. We should take ownership in our accounts, our meetings & events, and our personal reputations. We should learn from each others war stories’, and use them as lessons so that we can improve our own games. This type of ownership will help transform what we do.

Lifelong learning is a gift that we all have right in front of us every day. It is up to us to grab hold of the opportunities that will allow us to progress ourselves forward as professionals. It is up to us to be able to take the risk and try something new based on the new information that we have learned. Our industry benefits tremendously from our risks, failures, successes, and opportunities. I urge you to continue to learn more, do more, and risk more, so that we can continue to learn from each other, If we do that we will advance our purpose and value that we provide for our clients.

Here are 5 key to life-long learning:

  1. Be actively involved in an industry organization. Make sure it is dedicated to bringing you the best education, resources, and contacts. Attend at least one major conference each year.
  2. Become a mentor for a meeting professional that would benefit from your wealth of experience.
  3. Read 3 books a year that can help you become a better meeting professional. Actively choose one key point in each book to apply to your work, and do it (or start) within 3 weeks of reading the book.
  4. Find someone that you view as a mentor, someone with more experience perhaps, that can help mentor you and answer your tough questions.
  5. Obtain a meeting professional certification (CMP), certified meeting management certification (CMM), or take a course at a participating college. Have these already or not interested? Why not speak or start teaching at industry events and colleges.

 Do any of these resonate with you? Do you have any other keys to add to this list? Would love to hear from you in the comments below.

 

Photo credit: Classroom in the Afternoon by Thomas Favre-Bulle via Flickr