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The Competitive Advantage




Written by Sasha Sook, Sales and Marketing Manager at Summit Executive Centre and a member of the Emerging Trends Committee with IACC.

I’ve always believed no matter what you do you should be the best at it. As a Sales Manager at Summit Executive Centre I work with meeting planners to ensure they have the proper learning environment. Everyday I see people from various industries coming from all over the world to grow and prosper in their field.  This inspires me to continue to learn.  With the advancement of technology and ideas being shared at a rapid rate innovation comes into fruition on a daily basis.  To stay current and relevant in your position you must continue to learn.  The way I learn best is to combine different methods of studying.
Read online and print magazines, newspapers and blogs but not just ones that pertain to your industry.  One way to receive articles you’re interested in learning about is to use Google Alerts. They’ll send you articles written regarding a subject or word.  There are many social opportunities to network and gain valuable education through your local associations.  IACC, MPI, ASTD, Women in Hospitality, PCMA, Greater North Michigan Avenue Association, and Concierge Preferred are a few that I am actively involved in.
Becoming certified in your profession can gain you recognition, give you a competitive advantage, peer acceptance, personal achievement and possibly a salary increase.  There are professional certifications in every industry.  I’ve been accepted to become a Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) and I will be taking my test in January.  Many people have asked me about getting certified, as well as tips on studying.  I think repetition is the best way to retain information.  For the CMP there are four recommended books, I read them all and completed the chapter questions.  It’s a proven fact that if you write something down you’re more likely to retain it.  PCMA and MPI periodically offer study groups that have great success, but since they are not offering those this test period I emailed a few people who have recently taken the test to get their insight.  PCMA also offers an online study course.

There are many ways people are learning, for example, Webinars, Videoconferences, Reading and the traditional face to face meetings.  A lot of Conference Centers are adopting more unique methods with soft-set room setups or offering graphic facilitation for their groups.
Find a way of learning that best suits you whether it is social or personal and dive in.  You’ll be surprised what you can learn and how much you’ll enjoy it.
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