A best selling author, an international journalist, a CEO from a digital media company, representatives from corporate America, attendees as far as the west coast and England, a packed room of 225 people networking, learning, discussing their business ideas and exploring an untapped market. All of this converged on Oct. 30, 2009 under a unique platform, the American Muslim Consumer Conference (AMCC).

As individuals we can advance our causes, promote our businesses or build our own personal profiles while learning and meeting great people. The way we do that is by attaching ourselves to a particular platform. The AMCC is just one example of a platform that showcases the tremendous impact that Muslim communities have had on global business.

A platform, as defined by the Websters dictionary, is a body of principles on which a person or group takes a stand in appealing to the public. Platforms are very beneficial for those who want to advance themselves in entrepreneurship, charity, or community affairs to get involved with some organization or association which can help them broaden their horizons. Having a platform can help bring together others who share your ideas and passion.

Platforms can take the form of an organization, blog, website, business, cause or idea. They are only limited by your imagination. Platforms enable you to reach a larger number of individuals by having the backing of an entire organization at your disposal. Digitally, you can make your mark through social media, by writing or discussing your interests online. Being an organizer, officer, founder, writer, publisher, or author, you can gain visibility and credibility in a relatively short amount of time. So whether it is sports, politics, non-profits or business, platforms give you access to individuals you may not have been able to engage otherwise. They also serve well as talking points when meeting new people.

Platforms are also excellent learning opportunities. You can educate yourself on the business or cause you are working for, learn from others who may be more seasoned in that particular area, and meet many like-minded individuals. As many experts have stated, power or real wealth is dictated by the caliber of your network. Who is part of your network? How influential is it?

By having a platform, you can also build your own brand identity. Maybe you are a good speaker, organizer, or leader. Maybe you have a talent(s) that you are unaware of or waiting to unleash. That is why it is important to attach or associate yourself with a platform or platforms of your choice. There can be more than one. You can take a lead role in one and play an active participant in another. You can be “out there” meeting people at events or engaging them online through your blog. Look to the power of platforms to advance your ideas, objectives and causes. The world is always in need of good ideas, perspectives, thoughts and insights. Why not share yours? A best selling author, and an authority on networking wrote:

“Ben Franklin believed every person should be part of a social group, if not three. He believed a group of like-minded, achievement-oriented individuals could dramatically leverage each other’s success to do things otherwise impossible.”

— Keith Ferrazzi, Never Eat Alone

Please be advised to effectively research the platform you are interested in and make sure it aligns with your passions. Otherwise you may lose interest or you may associate with something that does more harm than good to your personal brand. So choose wisely. The last thing you want is to be labeled with something that elicits a negative reaction.

So with that mind, get out there, follow your passions, find the platform(s) of your choice, engage others around you online or off, and make this world a better place for all of us.