In the fast moving and every changing world of business, continuing to develop yourself is extremely important. For many people it is way down the priority order. Lack of time is often one of the key reasons for not making the investment that we all know we should. Cost, particularly in financially stretched public sector organisations, is another factor.
Yet in truth, with progress in technology, it is now possible to continually develop yourself without the need to take 3 days out of the office. This article highlights 10 potential opportunities for developing yourself that are both time efficient and cost effective.
Podcasts are basically short audio clips that you can access, listen to or down load. Most offer the option to subscribe so that you are notified when a new one is added. Many are free or low cost. When I first explored podcasts, I was amazed at the range of topics being covered. A good starting point is Podcasting News where you can access a directory of podcasts.
2. Google Alerts
Google Alerts are another simple way of accessing articles, announcements, etc about areas that you are interested in. Imagine for example you were interested in developing your influencing skills. You could set up a Google Alert “Influencing Skills” specify how regularly you want to receive them and have relevant content sent to your e-mail.
3. Professional Journals and Magazines
You can buy a subscription to your industry magazine on your own or share the cost with a few colleagues interested in the same subject matter. Many professional magazines now deliver content on-line with links to articles. Two examples are Accountancy Age and Health Service Journal.
4. Subscribe to Newsletters and E-Zines
Until about 2 years ago, I was not even aware of newsletters and e-zines. Now I subscribe to a host of them and pick up great tips every day. No matter what area you are trying to develop, the chances are that there will be a free newsletter or e-zine out there to get access to great content.
A teleclass is essentially training over the phone. You sign-up and dial into a conference line at the specified time. The great thing is that they are packed with great content but typically last no longer than 90 minutes. Most last about 60 minutes.
Even if you cannot attend because of time zone differences, you generally get access to a recording and sometimes a PDF file of what was discussed.
6. Audio Books
More and more of the best self development books are becoming available in audio format. What this means is that you can be developing yourself when you are stuck in traffic, driving to meetings or sitting relaxing at home.
7. Read a book
Another cost effective way of developing yourself is to buy books on leadership, management, marketing, etc and commit to reading a chapter a day. This is excellent for increasing your knowledge. It is also very easy to get new and second hand books through Amazon very cheaply.
8. Go to a seminar or workshop
There are more and more free or low cost seminars out there that you can attend. If you are a member of a professional body, chances are that they have free events happening at least monthly where you get to network and broaden your knowledge.
9. Go to a conference
Most industries and professions have some sort of conference. Typically, once a year, they give you the opportunity to keep up to date and learn about leading edge thinking. While at the higher end of the spectrum cost wise, they do tend to attract high profile speakers.
10. Get a mentor or coach
A mentor or coach can help you to get into action and start achieving results quicker than you imagined possible. What makes this different to other forms of development is that it is tailored around your specific needs.
As you can see, developing your self need not be a major commitment in time or money. What it can do is ensure that you continually strive to reach your true potential. So what’s stopping you?
Since 2006 I’ve worked with in excess of 8,000 accountants and professionals in workshops, seminars and one to one helping them land their next jobs and become better leaders, presenters and business partners. Before that I spent 25 years in accountancy climbing the career ladder from Payments Clerk to FD. I’m a CIMA Fellow, Certified Professional Coach and Team Coach Facilitator.