I am an incredible advocate for professional societies. What both the National organization (the American Society of Training and Development) and local chapters (Arkansas and Middle Tennessee) did for me professionally is immeasurable. I think the church is finally latching onto this idea. It’s been a crazy process that I believe has been caused by blogs and social media – more to come on this later.
Professional societies are nothing more than networks of professionals in a particular field. It’s a great cycle of networking for consultants, and professional development opportunities for the person – especially new people to a field or for those in transition. The national organizations often have yearly conventions with training and product presentations. These professional societies often lobby on behalf of their members as well. Examples of societies include the International Society for Performance Improvement, the Society for Technical Communication, the Society for Audio Engineering, Society for Human Resource Management etc.
Depending on local activity, local chapters are started. For example, ASTD has a local chapter in Nashville with just over 200 members. The services they offer depend on the size of the chapters. For example, our chapter provides monthly programs with training and networking, networking groups on LinkedIn, access to member’s names and contact information, and provides resources for professional development.