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Paraplanner’s view: Conferences, networking and learning

As a paraplanner, it is important to be aware that no one can know everything and I am fully aware that there are many people in our industry who know much more about a subject than I do.

I always keep in mind the famous quote from Dr Johnson: “Knowledge is of two kinds. We know a subject ourselves, or we know where we can find information on it.”

I have also found during my working life that the majority of individuals are happy to share the knowledge that they have and to help others.

This is one of the reasons why attending industry events is so important. Apart from the fact that you have the opportunity to listen to a speaker talk about a specific subject (even better if the subject is something you either find interesting or of use in a technical capacity) it is the opportunity to talk to and network with your peers which I find the most illuminating and beneficial.

Discussing a current issue with individuals who you know will have gone through or have experience of a similar process often helps to bring clarity to a situation. Talking something through with someone else may offer some insight or highlight another way of looking at the problem that you had not considered before.

Alternatively, it may provide a solution which had not been considered or a way of achieving the outcome you want in a different way.

On a technical level, discussing an issue directly with someone where you have the ability to ask specific questions about a specific case not only allows you to obtain an answer to the particular case but also increase your knowledge in that subject area.

Attendance at events where your peers will be present provides a great opportunity to speak to other people and get to know them. Understand their expertise and get to know what their strong point is and what they enjoy.

The conference season will soon be upon us and even though it is always difficult for the organisers to create sessions which suit all the people all the time, it is the time spent out of the sessions which can be of as much use as those spent in the sessions. Networking and sharing knowledge and best practice can be extremely useful and it is important to make the most of it.

Martin Vaughan is director of Paragon Paraplanning

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