NSA Influence ’11 Convention – 50 Key Take Aways

20 members of the Northern California Chapter of the National Speakers Association met on Saturday to debrief on the #nsa11 National Convention held July 30 – August 2 in Anaheim and share their key take-aways. We have held these meetings for a number of years, with the understanding that since only 12% of people act on what they learn conferences, the more key take-aways we can capture, the more likely we are to implement what we heard. Here’s my notes on the discussion.

  1. Ken Dychtwald began his presentation by peppering us with key questions to draw us in on a personal level. These rapid-fire questions were a brilliant way to open a speech.
  2. Dychtwald’s break-out session on the last day shared valuable rules to grow your speaking business:
    1. Use world-class promotional materials.
    2. Know the value of adding products like books, DVDs and seminar systems to your offerings.
    3. Understand the value of good PR and media coverage. Being featured in a magazine is priceless. Testimonials from a high-level person are worth their weight in gold.
  3. Dychtwald also shared his fees (he’s not an NSA member so I guess he could do this):
    1. $50k for a talk on the West Coast.
    2. $62K elsewhere in the USA.
    3. $90K out of the country.
    Want to know what you should charge? Talk to bureaus and meeting planners about other speakers in your area with the same level of expertise.
  4. The conference gave me a chance to stop comparing myself to people with 25 years experience in the industry. I let myself off the hook and realized I am now beginning to build my career to a point where I can be as spectacular as they are.
  5. Terry Sjodin listed the reasons why people buy: time, money, security, fun and ease-of-use. Build your presentation around those and they’ll buy from you.
  6. Sjodin explained the importance of having a courtroom style presentation. Start with an opening argument that lists the 10 most persuasive arguments or reasons they should work with you. Then give proof as evidence for that in the form of statistics and stories. Close with a compelling argument that meets the needs of your client. Then use the same arguments to create your brochures and website that are part of your brand.
  7. Julie Morgenstern encouraged us to own our niche by researching the books and articles others are writing on your topic, see what’s missing and then address that. Speak to what’s not being said, then develop a unique point of view. Become the expert.
  8. Morgenstern recommended we go to physical watering holes to meet CEOs to drum up business.
  9. Glenna Salsbury said “No one can get ahead of you, only you can be you. So let go of who you should be, to be who you are.”
  10. After 27 years in NSA, this conference made me realize that the world has changed. So I went to the conference to embrace and learn and have a great time, which I did. The best part was seeing all my old friends grandchildren’s pictures on the iPhone! I learned from Glenna that “if someone else can give your presentation, then you are not telling your story.” On the other hand, to be a little contrarian, there are people who tell our stories … and we must sue them!
  11. I learned that I need to go deep in my area and own it.
  12. This was my first conference and it was a learning and discovery process. I have just realized that people get paid for public speaking, now I realize they also get paid for coaching and consulting. One valuable tip I heard from somebody in the corridor was to ask potential clients “what’s keeping you up at night?”. Listen for things that are in your area of expertise then tell them “I just happen to have the program that can solve those problems.”
  13. Concepts from speeches I heard that encouraged me:
    1. Content is overrated.
    2. Give the audience an experience.
    3. What do I have to offer that they can’t get from everybody else?
    4. Think big, start small.
    5. Delivery doesn’t have to be perfect to work.
  14. Lessons learned:
    1. Be brief, clear and concise when messaging in today’s market.
    2. Be persuasive, creative and authentic.
    3. Be there to help people navigate the path to successful and healthy longevity.
  15. Suggestions I plan to implement:
    1. Use humor in my stories.
    2. Use social media especially YouTube.
  16. Kyle Maynard taught me that it’s important to get people to feel and then hone your story so the message is heard on different levels.
  17. When I saw the keynote speaker lose her way in the speech on the main stage it reminded me of the importance of being able to just keep talking. This speaker ran into trouble because she memorized the speech and her actions. It was an unfortunate example of somebody who might be able to coach, but she can’t speak. Even professional speakers can benefit from attending Toastmasters regularly which trains against this very thing.
  18. Ford Saeks encouraged us to break down what we do into speaking, coaching, products and know what percentage of revenue is generated from each.
  19. Ford Saeks: “Common sense is a superpower.”
  20. Larry Winget encouraged us to take a stand to establish credibility and show our expertise and share our opinion and frame of reference. It seems that some speakers at NSA are jealous of Larry. Certainly working with a Speakers Bureau was one of the secrets to him moving from $7,500 speeches up to the $30,000 level.
  21. The biggest take away was that I should own my position on the web and especially make use of YouTube videos for viral marketing. It’s the second largest search engine that is now owned by Google.
  22. This was by far the best NSA meeting I attended. I am encouraged to make my keynote more personal for the audience and use the term “we” more often. This is a shift from me just telling a story to thinking of things from the audience’s point of view. It was reinforced by Larry Winget who said we should give audiences an experience.
  23. This was my first NSA conference in 15 years, and people asked me what it changed. Back then during the breaks, instead of reaching for their smart phones, people used to rush for the payphones!
  24. Authenticity from the platform was key. This was my first conference and I found people were for the most part authentic and welcoming.
  25. Speakers need to be in tune with the younger generation and not live on speeches they’ve been giving for the last 10 years. If you do that, you’re finished. We have to give the younger generation context that shows we know what’s going on.
  26. Follow Patricia Fripp on Twitter (@PFripp) for excellent tips. Example: “Public speaking: Your stories will be more memorable when you tell them using more dialogue.”
  27. It resonated for me when Kyle spoke about how he experienced hate and that Larry Winget gets death threats. I wonder how many others are afraid of speaking on minds and do what is politically correct out of fear? It’s so easy to be influenced by a lone audience member who takes pride in “being offended”. I don’t think we should let that intimidate us. The conference gave me the strength to be myself.
  28. When I saw those excellent speakers on the main stage I thought that “One day I wanna be like them.” Just like young musicians listen to top bands to fuel their dreams, listening to top speakers at the conference fueled my dream.
  29. People’s perception of your presentation style, business cards, social media presence and website should all be congruent. Just because a certain perception works for one group doesn’t mean you can adopt it.
  30. A million-dollar speakers’ secret: Get into large corporations; leverage yourself; never leave.
  31. Jeffrey Gitomer said don’t just lead by example, set the standard. Go an inch wide and a mile deep. Push the envelope and set the standard and you are no longer derivative. That’s where the gold is. It doesn’t happen overnight, but now I’ve got something to shoot for.
  32. Jeffrey Gitomer told us to write every day. He said writing is wealth. If you’re not a writer, you’re not a speaker.
  33. Brian Tracy said we cannot achieve unless we “resolve to pay the price”. That resonated with me. It takes a lot of work and a lot of practice. So beware of NSA members who glom onto and prey on the new speaker. Anyone who promises to shorten the route to success should be treated with the utmost suspicion. I really would like national to do something to alert us to these people.
  34. I enjoyed the fact that Randy Gage who was so controversial in his own keynote a few years ago was the chair of this conference. He put on a confrontational conference and it was the better for it.
  35. The chapter leadership session was great with a good depth of knowledge being shared. People should know about http://nsachapterone.org which is a great resource. Likewise if you Google ‘softconference nsa’ you will find a link to the recordings of past conferences.
  36. Speaking can be a lonely business and the value for the conference for me was the interesting conversations I held throughout. It’s the people you meet at the bar, in the lobby and at the health club who make these conferences worthwhile.
  37. NSA members should not be dismissive of people who are newbies and might not have the initials CSP after their name. You never know who a new person at the conference is and what their background is.
  38. The buddy program for VIPs was a real winner. I’ve never been embraced by an organization and the individuals in it to the extent I have at this NSA conference.
  39. The humor session with Mark Mayfield helped me understand that adults remember very little of our talks and humor makes them more memorable.
  40. Seeing Fripp’s computer die at the Cavett Institute was a valuable lesson in how to handle equipment failure. She’s a real pro and did not let the lack of PowerPoint phase her.
  41. My blog was clogged before the conference but now I understand I can be a curator and an interpreter of information.
  42. Simon Mainwaring from Australia spoke about social media and storytelling. He had three lessons:
    1. Get the right mindset.
    2. Be a chief celebrant and don’t try to be a celebrity. The former has enthusiasm and engagement around the topic.
    3. Get Fan Action versus fan acquisition.
    4. Always have “How-manship” vs. “Show-manship”. Always show how.
  43. I loved the Monday night music jam session in the lobby. Sitting in and playing with strangers was great. Who knew that Max Dixon played such a great keyboard?
  44. Karpowitz said “The audience pays you for what you’ve survived, all your experiences in life .”
  45. Lisa Sasevich shared valuable information on how to go from a free-speech to monetizing it. She showed us how to sell from the platform without appearing to. Give a free speech but structure it in such a way that they buy into the transformation offered by your system. Give them a whole piece of your program and then reference the rest of it. She is a classic information marketer. Like Ford Saeks who also has a price point for everyone in the audience. She also handled a power outage with her projector very well.
  46. Lisa Jimenez said that “boldness gets rewarded.”
  47. Les Brown: “courage is the willingness to act in spite of fear”.
  48. Lou Heckler: “always ask who is speaking before you.” In fact it’s best practice to arrive a day earlier to conference so that you can listen to presentations preceding yours and do callbacks to them. Meeting planners respect speakers who arrive early.
  49. Lois Creamer spoke at the Consultants PEG and recommended setting up committees of people who can review and comment on your blog.
  50. Brendan Burchard stimulated me to think differently about social media. I have already written 52 tweets to send out on a weekly basis for the next year.

7 Comments so far
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Hi Ian, As always you have given us valuable information. Thank you so much for the tips! I especially like what you said in #7. Researching what your competitors are writing about.
I spend a lot time in the bookstores, mainly in the career sections, doing research for my book.
It’s refreshing to know that we all have something different to offer and some things just aren’t being communicated that need to be.

The great thing is that their are millions of people in the world and a lot of business to go around for all of us coaches.

Great work and good luck. You should be selling this content! I hope you are charging a lot of money for your public speaking gigs. Are you coaching public speakers yet? This information is so valuable. Thanks, Rebecca

Hi Rebecca: Thanks for the kind words. A key to NSA is “the spirit of Cavett” (the Association founder) who encouraged us to share our expertise to make the pie larger. The content in this posting was from my 20 colleagues, I was just the scribe.

I’m not so much a speaker coach, more a speechwriter who creates content for technology companies in Silicon Valley.

Thanks, Ian. I got to number 17 and will get back again to read to the end. Nice little jewels here!

Wonderful job, Ian. Thanks to you and all your NSA-NCa colleagues for compiling this. As always, you do a first-class job!

Thanks, Ian, for more consistent high quality information! You were recognized by our local chapter as Member of the Year this year, and this post (again) confirms your valuable contributions to our group, and beyond. This is an excellent summary of our meeting. Thanks for sharing.

From this write-up Ian, I feel as if I’d been there! You do indeed embody the spirit of Cavett with your generous sharing.

Once again, we’re all much better off because of you.

Thanks, Ian
Since I could not be at the conference, this was a nice summary of what I missed.
Allen Klein, MA, CSP

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