A few weeks ago I wrote about attending the NSA Annual Convention. I listed 5 key themes that I brought home from the experience. Lesson #5 was to Follow Up. How have I done on my Follow-Up? A- for quality … C for quantity. I still have a thick stack of business cards to complete, hence the merely average grade for quantity. The good grade for quality is based on the genuine effort I am making to really know the people I met; spend a few minutes looking at their website, understand their niche, their specialty, and their thought-leadership platform. The goal is not to amass 100 people’s names in a database that I have no knowledge of – the goal is to have actually connected with at least 25 people.
This past weekend I made one of those special connections. Patricia Fripp and I had lunch at the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co in her hometown of San Francisco. For those of you who don’t recognize her name, Patricia is an All-Star in the world of speaking. She was the first female president of the NSA in 1984-85. She has presented to NSA chapters across the country over 300 times. She’s built a world-class organization where she specializes as a keynote speaker, executive speech coach and business presentation skills expert. Patricia’s Hall of Fame Bio documents her accomplishments as a person and speaker.
Comparing her to Forrest Gump, Patricia just keeps on running! Here’s what I learned during our luncheon.
The first 3 lessons were learned by osmosis while listening to Patricia tell her story. The last 2 were specifically stated as advice.
- Be Fearless. Patricia came to the USA at age 20 without a job, with no place to live, and only knowing one person who just happened to move the week before she arrived. Patricia landed a job, started a business, started a new business 10 years later and hasn’t stopped since. She is fearless.
- Dream Big. As I listened to Patricia describe her career, I realized she always was attempting something bigger than she was supposed to be capable of or was supposed to do. She didn’t take small steps, she made giant leaps. Of course she is smart as a whip, and talented, so she wasn’t taking leaps blindly or foolishly – she was just taking bigger steps than the average person thinks is possible.
- Market Yourself Continuously. Patricia became a speaker because she was out speaking to promote her previous business. I first learned of Patricia 5 years ago when I Googled ‘speaking coach’. She was (and remains) at the leading edge of technology in marketing herself.
- Combine Communities. As a speaker, we have an opportunity to bring various groups of people together. Since we meet so many people with various backgrounds and interests, it is important to make referrals and introductions amongst these people who should know each other but otherwise might never meet. Imagine the value of creating new partnerships and creative networks by a simple introduction. That is the combining of communities. With that goal or service, personal rewards will naturally follow.
- Price Yourself Just Below Your Worth. Patricia always priced herself just below what the market may have paid. This has kept her very busy, presented a good value to her clients, and helped her stay immune to the ebb and flow of changing economic times.
After 30 years as a professional speaker, Patricia Fripp is probably never going to retire. I did get the sense that her priorities will continue to change and evolve in the coming years. She will most likely focus more exclusively on the aspects of the business that she truly loves.
One of the things I believe this dynamic lady loves is mentoring new speakers. To be able to sit and listen to Patricia Fripp, to absorb some of her knowledge, to be electrified by her energy and inspired by her enthusiasm is an honor. I expect Patricia to keep on running. Run Fripp Run!
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Next Blog Date: August 16, 2010