Megaphone industry advocate

Contributed by The Ashkin Group

The professional cleaning industry is attracting a new workforce. Steve Ashkin, a leading advocate for Green Cleaning and sustainability in the industry, says he has witnessed this before, but this time it is different.

"It’s different because so many of these young people have chosen the professional cleaning industry for their careers; they plan to stay in the industry, and even become advocates for industry-related issues.”

For those young people that want to become advocates, Ashkin suggests they understand the following ten steps required to become a successful advocate:

1. Knowledge. You must know the industry inside/out. Further, advocates must be well informed about all aspects of what they are advocating.

2. Enthusiasm. An advocate must be enthusiastic about what they are advocating. Your enthusiasm will help you succeed and convince people what you are advocating is important.

3. Tenacity. Expect to be criticized or hear negative responses to what you are advocating. This happens to all advocates. When it happens to you, start looking for a new speaking engagement or draft a new article. Just keep going.

4. Presentation Skills. Develop your communication and presentation skills to effectively convey your message and persuade others to understand and adopt what you are advocating for.

5. Network. Meet as many people in the industry as you can. Listen and learn from their experiences and insights.

6. Partner. To succeed as an advocate, you must partner with others in your industry. Partnering adds credibility for you and your cause and helps ensure your success. 

7. Participate. Involve yourself in industry events, conferences, webinars, and workshops to expand your knowledge and visibility.

8. Long-term. View industries and businesses as ships in the ocean—they sail slowly. Being an advocate means realizing it can be a slow, long-term process.

9. Shyness. Many young people today tend to be shy. Just believe in yourself, what you are advocating, and what you are trying to accomplish. That's how you overcome shyness.

10. Promote. Some advocates spend too much time promoting themselves. Eventually, those people get left behind. Instead, stay focused on educating, helping, and teaching others. This is all you need to do to promote yourself.

“And one more suggestion is to stay ethical, honest, and respectful in all your dealings,” adds Ashkin. “The jan/san industry is very respected. Your job is to make sure the high reputation of our industry continues.”