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Why join a professional organisation like the BIID?

Do you belong to a professional organisation? Why? Why not? If you don’t, have you considered it but just not got round to filling in the paperwork? Or do you genuinely think membership is of no benefit to you (despite the clear 10-point, legible font, bullet-point list on their website).

Are you resistant or keen to join in?

This week I became a member of the BIID (of course, acronyms are a necessity in the professional organisation world, in this case, British Institute of Interior Design).

As I am often asked to join associations, groups and networks, I assess why, how, what and even who I will gain from joining.


  1. Joining is a simple box ticking exercise – if you join, you get a logo and a stamp of approval. This in itself is reason enough for most, the power of association through a logo is proof in an instant that you know what you are doing.

Screen shot 2014-07-11 at 13.28.33

  1. You get a link back to your website. Their shop door is likely to be bigger than your shop door and you’ll get your brand in front of more potential customers. It’s also good for SEO.
  2. You can show images of your work.

Screen shot 2014-07-11 at 13.46.47

4. Sharing – jobs are advertised, forums have detailed and relevant discussions, a community is built when people share their problems, solutions, ideas and jokes (and motivational quotes… don’t get me started…)

Why not?

  1. You don’t meet the criteria or you don’t like being assessed as to whether you do meet the criteria.
  2. You dislike the people in your industry.
  3. You think you’ll be badgered into attending AGMs, social gatherings and charity events.


I won’t start my rant on the number of competitions and awards out there at the moment that have no criteria or selection process and are purely self promotion…

A professional body, by the very nature of its name means there are professional standards, which have to be met for you to join. This should be celebrated: only those who have accomplished, worked hard, studied or endured will get in.

In the case of the BIID, becoming an associate is a relatively easy process of showing projects and being able to talk through the process. On the other hand, full membership requires a checklist of 32 responsibilities (for those interested this includes various technical drawings, models, correspondence with authorities, proposals, quotes, CDM, health & safety, planning, site meeting reports and much more).

How not?

I was also asked about the BIID code of conduct and was almost offended at having to be lectured on how we should treat others, what levels of respect we show to our fellow tradesmen and women. But, rules are written for a reason. Some people need it spelling out, it seems…

(Please be kind to the people you work with!)


I think the most important aspect of being a member of the BIID, or any other professional body, is my fellow members. I can learn from those with more experience, share my passion with those a little longer in the tooth than I, build strategic alliances with relevant members or friendship and support if that is more appropriate.

Who not?

Before you leap into joining any organisation, be it a professional body or not, do look at the people you’ll be spending time with. Are they your type of people, and do you want to become more like them? The power of proximity means you will absorb their ways, you’ll start to speak, act and work like them and if this is a good thing, then join but if this is not who you want to become then STOP… and slowly back away from the acronym!


If you are interested in learning more about the BIID please contact

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