In order to advance in my career, I’ve had to seek opportunities to get better at what I do. My philosophy is that it’s up to me to find ways to improve my skills and gain new knowledge that will help me achieve my goals.
I’ve found that this mindset is also effective for preneed professionals: The ones who are driven to get better and learn new techniques are the ones who see results. That’s why it’s so important to participate in valuable opportunities to develop the skills you have and learn from others who share your passion for the profession. Here are a few key considerations that will help you make the most out of your chances to grow.
Seek relevant opportunities to learn.
When evaluating a training or continuing education event, your first consideration should be the needs of the people you work for. They are the ones who count on you to perform at a high level, so developing your skills to match their needs is an excellent starting point.
A second point to consider is the reputation of the organization that is sponsoring the training. For example, I’ve always been a huge supporter of the national and state conventions and the insights you can gain from those events. Through my involvement in association events and training offered by Homesteaders, I’ve learned just how much planning is involved to ensure the session topics are relevant for everyone who participates.
Become immersed in funeral service.
If you’re a new preneed professional, it is critical to develop a strong understanding of the funeral planning process. This process is different for every firm, and those who are just starting in the profession may not realize just how much it can vary. You need to know every detail of the process at your firm so you’re prepared to answer families’ questions in a sensitive way.
Before attending a formal training class, it’s important for new preneed professionals to take advantage of opportunities for observation. When you’ve had a chance to see the process for yourself first, the training can help you put all of the pieces together.
Get back to basics.
For experienced preneed professionals, I’ve found that improving your skillset often means returning to the basics. If you’ve been in the profession for a long time, it’s common to default to doing the same things in the same way every time. You never have the chance to enhance your process if you don’t have exposure to what is possible.
I encourage preneed professionals to attend training events with people of many different levels of experience so they can gain fresh perspectives and ideas. You’ll receive motivation by sharing best practices for overcoming your biggest challenges. It’s also a good reminder that, no matter how long you’ve done this, you have to constantly change your goals to improve your performance.
Implement what you’ve learned.
After you attend a training class, identify the skills or ideas you’ve learned that you want to begin using right away. The adage, “If you don’t use it, you lose it,” certainly applies to these opportunities – it is critical to make an action plan for how you want to implement what you’ve gained from training.
Then share what you’ve learned – and your next steps – with the entire funeral home staff. In addition to helping you be accountable for improvement, this will ensure understanding of what you want to accomplish and how it is beneficial for everyone at the funeral home. Communicate the specific ways they can help you, and show appreciation for their efforts to help you serve families.
Taking advantage of opportunities to develop your skills – no matter how long you have been in the profession – is critical for anyone who wants to be successful. By making the most of your chances to learn (whether through formal training or connecting with peers), you’ll continue to achieve results.