The Importance of Continuous Learning for Appraisers
Friday, September 15, 2017 in Member Insights
Whether you’ve been an appraiser for 20 years or two years, acquiring new knowledge is important not only to your business but also to your own well-being. We often conveniently put this notion out of mind, but what truly and deeply motivates us isn’t money. It’s knowledge.
As a qualified appraiser, I am required to stay current with USPAP and ISA’s membership criteria, thus ensuring a high standard of appraisal service to the public. So, I am continuing to learn. But is being required to learn enough to keep me motivated and engaged? Not for me. I’m guessing it’s not enough for you either.
Why Keep Learning New Skills?
Many of you who know me as an appraiser likely don’t know that I am an expert in adult learning. For corporations and higher educational institutions throughout North America, I have designed courses and tools to increase performance and motivation in the workplace. I also have helped many arts organizations design programming to engage audiences and expand their purposes.
From a professional viewpoint, I would like to share three key factors that motivate students of all ages to continuously learn and acquire new skills.
- Mastery: By building your competencies and skills, you can more easily establish credibility and trust with your clients, two critical components of the appraisal business. By gaining a deeper understanding within your current specialty or expanding your specialties, you will challenge and reward yourself with new knowledge and increased confidence.
- Purpose: Acquiring new knowledge will help you solve problems for your clients and colleagues. By providing solutions, you will be heard and recognized for what you know. It will provide opportunities for new business and it will keep you relevant.
- Enjoyment and Engagement: As an appraiser, you have a high degree of independence that most people in their work do not have. You have the control to direct your own learning in areas that interest you. You have choice. Create an environment for yourself that is rich, rewarding, and highly satisfying while running a successful appraisal business.
Realizing successes focused on these three motivating factors starts with a commitment to continuing to learn and acquire new knowledge.
Five Ways to Continue Learning Right Now
Here are five ways to continue your learning in a meaningful way that you can do anytime as a member of ISA:
- Volunteer with your local chapter, present at the ISA annual conference, or become an ISA Ambassador. By donating time and expertise in the appraisal community, you will learn from other appraisers. Together, you will solve a problem or create a quality event, workshop or working group and, in return, help to increase the overall expertise of all ISA members. (Purpose)
- Add or expand your area of specialty. ISA offers many opportunities to expand your knowledge into other appraisal specialties. If you appraise art, you can take courses to learn more about prints or Asian art, or expand into antiques and modern furniture. I know that I prefer online and self-study courses so that I don’t incur travel expenses and don’t have to leave my office. The Foundation for Appraisal Education also offers annual scholarships for courses; don't hesitate to apply.
Remember, everything works in cycles. Although some specialty areas seem to be shrinking, and though there may be objects you don’t currently receive many calls about, you’ll always have the chance to use your new knowledge. The cycle will change, market demand will increase for items, and you’ll be confident, armed with your new knowledge, and ready to apply it in your appraisal practice when those calls do come in. (Mastery)
- Join a community board, advisory group or committee for an organization focused on your area(s) of specialty. We often think that we will be the ones providing the benefits by sharing our knowledge sitting as an expert, but, in fact, it works both ways. Getting involved will help you notice trends in the market, consumer interests and tastes, and also expand your list of contacts. It will also lead you to new business. You will find that you will learn and receive more than you give. (Enjoyment and Engagement)
- Attend Chapter meetings and presentations. With the help of colleagues, for example, the Canadian Chapter of ISA features invited guest speakers as opportunities for new learning. And even more rewarding, fellow appraisers prepare detailed presentations based on their areas of expertise for other Chapter members. These presentations create a bridge between ISA members from across the country and from various specialties, and provide an opportunity to learn together and get to know each other better. There is nothing more challenging than presenting to a highly skilled and knowledgeable group like our appraiser colleagues. (Mastery and Engagement)
- Increase your business skills. Find courses and programs directly tied to small business management, marketing and finance (such as calculating blockage discount equations). You will be able to focus your time on tasks that matter and learn when to bring in outside expertise that isn't your core strength. Also, check out the ISA Means Business! Toolbox for resources that can help you increase your business acumen. You will reduce your stress and enjoy running a business better. (Mastery and Enjoyment)
As an appraiser, you may feel like you are on your own, but with ISA, you are never alone.
Kelly Juhasz is an Accredited Member of the International Society of Appraisers, President of the Canadian Chapter, and a certified expert in adult learning. Her work in professional development has improved the performance of thousands of adults across North America and her appraisal knowledge is recognized by government agencies and cultural institutions nation-wide. She holds a Masters in Archival Science from Canada’s highest ranked university and a degree in Art History. She has worked on a range of artwork from Dutch Masters such as Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn and Gerard Dou to contemporary works by William Kentridge and Peter Doig. Kelly was the winner of the 2017 ISA Rising Leader Award.
Pink, Daniel. (2009). Drive. Riverhead Books.
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