Friday, January 16, 2009

What To Look For In A Professional, Trade, or Service Organization

From the ABA's Law Practice Management Section, Bob Weiss gives his thoughts on joining profession, trade, or service groups as a method of practice development.

After attending a meeting, if you can’t answer “yes” to at least eight of these questions, the group is not a good investment of your time.

1. Frequency – Does the group meet at least monthly?
2. Philosophy – Is your networking philosophy compatible with both the members and the organization’s?
3. Size – Is the group large enough, or sufficiently segmented, to offer a diverse base of contacts?
4. Prominence – Are the members prominent, can they influence others and become key contacts for you?
5. Redundancy – Is the group diverse enough so that the members lead you to different resources and other groups of contacts?
6. Dimension – Are the interests of the membership diversified? Can they offer information or access to resources you cannot otherwise obtain?
7. Accessibility – Are the members accessible outside of regular meetings once a relationship is built?
8. Reciprocity – Does the group understand the concept of interpersonal debt?
9. Compatibility – Do you and the members have a high degree of similarity, especially age, occupational prestige, socio-economic status?
10. Continuity – You will be investing your time over time to build key relationships. Is membership turnover low?
11. Structure – What types of leadership opportunities are available for you to build prominence within the group, such as serving on the board, on a working committee?
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