Tammy Graham
Ft. Worth

With Texas School on our doorstep and Summerfest just waiting in the wings, I thought this would be a good time to talk about one of the unwritten benefits of your TPPA membership, “Networking”.

Networking: NOUN

  1. a supportive system of sharing information and services among individuals and groups having a common interest:

It is impossible to put a price on the value of making connections within TPPA.  When you participate in a TPPA event, you not only get education from speakers and instructors, but you also have the opportunity to learn from other TPPA members.  At any given event, there are those in attendance who share the same struggles as you, have been where you are and have overcome difficult situations or hold a solution that will change the course of your business.

There is also a good chance that you might be the voice that a fellow member needs to hear.  You can be the voice of encouragement, provide sound advice, or simply share how you work around common obstacles.

How many of you look forward to seeing great friends at an event? Chances are you first met those friends at a TPPA event and become lifelong friends.  This still happens at every TPPA Event.

Now, you might be skeptical at how this would happen among competitors at an event. You may wonder why anyone would share their business insights with someone they do not know.  You may even feel a bit protective of your own “trade secrets”.  These are common feelings with those who are new to the association world.  The trick is to move past those fears and get plugged in.  Members who embrace the message of sharing soon realize that we are all better when all photographers are strong.

The hard part of all of this is that networking is not intuitive.  It requires deliberate action to take place.  Whether you are new to TPPA or you are a long-time member, networking begins with you!  For example, you are attending an event for the first time, you should make a point to introduce yourself to people and let them know you are new to TPPA.  Make sure you carry some business cards with you to exchange with people you meet and follow up with a simple e-mail letting them know you enjoyed meeting them.  Ask for advice on making the most of the event.  “Where is a good place for lunch?” or “Which speakers are you looking forward to hearing?” are great questions to start a conversation.

If you are a seasoned TPPA member, make sure to reach out to those you do not know.  Don’t pass by individuals sitting or standing by themselves to do so without saying hello or asking them if they have any questions.  Try to invite someone new to lunch or to sit with you in a program.  Go out of your way to make everyone feel welcome.

We are all part of the TPPA family who are working to improve our craft, grow our business and to find new solutions to becoming more efficient.  The fact that TPPA members are willing to share ideas and build each other up is one of the things that makes TPPA such a special organization.  I am thrilled you are part of our growing association.