As the summer of 2013 draws to a close (I’m not sure it ever really started in southern Ontario), busloads of kids have begun the making the daily trek back to school. Not only is this a great time to refresh your memory about all of the driving safety issues related to the influx of school crossing guards, meandering children and frazzled parents rushing to make it to work after dropping off their kids, it’s also a good time to reflect on the fact that we should all think about going back to school on a daily basis.
Naturally, I don’t mean a full-time degree or diploma program but the sort of ongoing lifelong learning that can be achieved by listening to snippets of conversation, picking up a newspaper or magazine (such as our own Corporate Meetings and Events) or dropping in on social media sites. Continuing education doesn’t have to be expensive, time-consuming or intimidating. But its value should never be underestimated.
For meeting and event planners, there are plenty of good reasons for keeping up with the educational Joneses. From improving our communication or leadership skills to helping keep our sales funnel full, education can take dozens of forms and is more readily available, at a cheaper price, than ever before. Just think about all of the areas where we might be able to hone our skills and enhance our creativity:
- Sales and marketing
- Green meetings and sustainability
- Communications skills such as speaking, presenting, listening and networking
- Personal development – resilience, emotional intelligence, self-improvement
- Business or project management
- Food and beverage trends
- Social media and technology
- Industry best practices
- Legal and ethical issues
While I am sure you can come up with many others, here are a few suggestions for how you can keep learning and improving your skills, ultimately improving your business and sphere of influence:
- Attend a seminar or workshop, either in person or online
- Read…books, newspapers, magazines, e-books, websites, blogs……anything!
- Connect – talk with people during your daily routine or join social media groups on Facebook or LinkedIn.
- Find a mentor or be one yourself
- Join a club such as Toastmasters International to boost your speaking and leadership skills
- Watch TED Talks on your iPad while travelling instead of bad in-flight movies
- Check out free online education sites such as Coursera.com, udemy.com or iTunes University
- Learn a new language
Try a few of these and enjoy the benefits of lifelong learning. And if you have any ideas you’d like to share, don’t forget to send us your feedback below.