As an active member of the Seattle community of Product Managers, I’ve been fortunate enough to find many opportunities to engage with fellow Product Managers as well as those looking to make a break into the role. Between my work with General Assembly as a part-time instructor, my volunteer efforts as a board member of our local Pacific Northwest Product Management Community, or my presentations at ProductCamp every year, I enjoy sharing my knowledge and experience with those who seek different perspectives on old problems or just want to hear a good old war story. The fact is, we all have something to impart on those around us, and we should take any opportunity we can to share with those around us.
Share With Your Co-Workers!
One of the most obvious, and perhaps easiest, way to share what you know with others lies right inside the four walls of your company office. Whether there are other people there who are interested in being Product Managers, or there are people who just want to get better at the soft skills that everyone should use on a daily basis, or even just people who want to improve their daily jobs as a matter of continuous improvement — we’re in a unique position to help them with all of those things. It can start as something as simple as one-on-one conversations, or maybe your company does regular brown-bag sessions (and if they don’t, maybe they should!). And if you’re really feeling adventurous, you could propose a whole formal series of training sessions! I don’t know of many organizations that would turn down the opportunity for some free training, especially if the resource is already in-house and understands the culture and objectives of the organization. Poke around your office and see where you can help out, what you can offer, how you can help expand the roles and experience of others — you won’t regret it!
Share With Your Community!
Outside the four walls of your office, there’s almost certainly things that you can do with your community — whether that’s a community of Product Managers or your community at large. Here in Seattle, we’ve got a growing Product Management community — there are meetups, socials, networking events, and more all happening on a regular basis. Some of it is centrally organized by groups like the Product Management Community, but many of those events are loosely organized by people who are just interested in stretching their skills. It doesn’t take much time or effort to put together a Meetup session at a restaurant or bar, a library or hotel, or maybe even at your own office. All it takes it the will and the interest in meeting like-minded people and helping each other to be better at what it is that they do. But it doesn’t just have to be Product Management focused — look for meetups set up for local entrepreneurs, developers, operations and database administrators — while you might not have immediate interests in common, almost all of these people will be working with a Product Manager at some point, and this is your opportunity to establish relationships with new people and to make an impression on them for their future Product Management interactions.
Lastly, if you’re not able to find a good time or place to share in person, there are tons of ways to participate online. There are so many LinkedIn Product Management groups out there that you could barely throw a virtual rock into the Groups list without hitting one. Or you could participate in a Slack offering like the Product Coalition. Or Reddit, Facebook, Twitter…you name it, and there are outlets for you to meet with and share thoughts with your fellow Product Managers. There are so very many ways that you can expand your own horizons and those of others, there’s little excuse not to do so!