Professional Development-it’s up to you

professional development for business startups

Let’s face it, your employer is only going to pay for professional development and training that keeps you in your place, is cheap and doesn’t take too long. They want to get the most out of you before the project or contract ends. Leaving your growth up to an employer is like letting your Aunty to set you up with her neighbour’s cousin; the only thing you have in common is that you are both available. Work in the 21st century is a holiday romance no one expects to last, if it survives summer it’s because there is nothing better on offer.

Take your professional development and learning to the next level by moving out of your comfort zone, spending some money on it and partnering with the best.

Get fit
Research aspects of your industry that take you further than you usually go. Get out of familiar territory, observe and experiment. Look for what’s coming then challenge yourself to make predictions of what will happen if policy or government changes, write it down and think it through like a CEO. Seeking out new areas will be like going two stops further on the bus; do it, then walk back quickly without mentioning it.

Be promiscuous
Finding the right learning journey will take time. Look for something that people in your network or organisation aren’t into or are not yet aware of. There is likely to be a heady ‘swipe right’ phase where you kiss a few frogs before you find the right niche. After editing the uglies out start ranking the TOP 3 – Technical, Organisational and Personal. Be systematic, each aspect can benefit from a bit of education and automation. High-quality industry-specific information and reports are given away free as lead magnets – all you need to do is provide an address. Put yourself out there and see what’s around, if it turns out to be a dud, then unsubscribe. The more you search the higher the likelihood of relevant information landing in your inbox. Good matches will increase in the same way pheromones attract suitors when you’ve met someone after a drought.

Get a stylist
The professional development you do for yourself could be in the form of webinars, forums, seminars, workshops, online, face to face, a six week or a six month course. When you find something worth your time it ought to be slightly out of your league. You probably don’t need an MBA if you can play the game by implementing a strategic marketing plan, but as my Dad says, it will be no weight to carry if you do. When you commit to something, spend on quality, turn up to every session and do the homework. Just like lovers tend to mirror each other’s voice and language in the early stages of a romance, you might need to mimic the thought leaders until you find your style. You can start by buying a suit and getting it altered to fit you. Later, when you know exactly what you want but can’t find it, get a tailor or a professional development specialist to design it specifically for you.

Go on dates
When you’ve found your ‘bit on the side’ it is important to test boundaries and practice being in public situations together. If you are going to broadcast there are a few codes of conduct to be aware of.

LinkedIn – is like going to a ball, black ties and long fancy gowns; keep yourself nice, stay professional and remember there are speeches followed by dancing.

Twitter – is a cocktail party, you can be a bit sexier; use witty one liners,leave a trail of intrigue, get in and out then off to something else more interesting.

Facebook – it’s a barbeque with friends and family, turn up wearing smart casual anyway; you never know who lives next door and might be looking over the fence. Invite them back to your place (linkedIn or website) next time

Instagram – proves that you were there – right place right time, it is outdoorsy like a concert; use a filter to make it look better than it really was.

Webinars – act as if you are hosting a dinner party, dress up and get your hair done; send formal invitations, make everyone feel welcome, comfortable and special, feed them and book their Uber ride home.

Snapchat – it’s a trip to the deli for an icy pole, wear thongs; its fun but forgettable, unless you know how to work it to your advantage and spend time planning what seems impromptu.

WeChat – Are you on it? Always be mindful of who may be watching, keep your politics to yourself here.

Pinterest – it’s the inspirational photo on the fridge; magnets are the text links you have anchored to make you more find-able. Name your photos after your products. Instead of ‘bike boy’, file it as ‘bike business boy on a bike’.

YouTube – it’s a dance party, wear the most on trend thing you have; show off your funkiest moves, you will be scrutinised, stalked and copied later.

What are you doing now to keep yourself professionally fit in three months time?
Leave comments I’d love to know. Thanks for reading my post. Kristin

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