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Following a benefit auction the other day I joined a few of the staff for dinner and conversation. One such topic involved that evening’s clerk who was currently enrolled in medical school. She remarked that she desired to some day “practice” medicine in the bay area.

Another staff member responded that, “She better do more than practice medicine … she better be good at it before she attempts to help others.” Following a good laugh about her future medical career, she asked me, “Don’t you practice auctioneering?”

Yes we as auctioneers practice — our chant particularly — and our sales pitches, elevator speeches, new technologies and techniques. In this sense, we’re always endeavoring to improve; sharpen the knife so to speak. Yet, “practice” in the sense of occupational practice tends to mean to undertake a job or skill and/or perform acts or procedures in order to provide a service.

I’ve visited many doctors, dentists and other health “specialists” in my lifetime — and have to admit many seem to be practicing in the sense they haven’t quite perfected their craft yet — but they are practicing nonetheless from an occupational standpoint no different than any other vocation.

There is that saying that, “If you are not moving forward, you are moving backwards …” Given that, auctioneers (and other professionals, maybe everyone) should endeavor to sharpen that knife — improve, become better, expand, learn all the time.

Are you a practicing auctioneer? Are you an auctioneer who’s practicing? In a sense it’s the same thing, but a good reminder to practice our craft — whether bid calling, marketing or booking business to continually get better.

Said another way, in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr‘s words …

“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”

Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, CAI, AARE has been an auctioneer and certified appraiser for over 30 years. His company’s auctions are located at: Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, RES Auction Services and Goodwill Columbus Car Auction. He serves as Distinguished Faculty at Hondros College of Business, Executive Director of The Ohio Auction School, an Instructor at the National Auctioneers Association’s Designation Academy and Faculty at the Certified Auctioneers Institute held at Indiana University.