A Professional Association is defined as a body of persons engaged in the same profession, formed usually to control entry into the profession, maintain standards, and represent the profession in discussions with other bodies. Or in simple language, it’s a bunch of people who work in the same profession who get together and share ideas that will help them become more competent in their jobs.
One week ago, I had pleasure of attending my 1st National Speaker’s Association (NSA) meeting. It was the Fall Conference held in Phoenix. Wow! I was overwhelmed by the sharing and love and genuine encouragement I received from many of the 400 other attendees and exhibitors and sponsors. Of course, since I walked in wearing a white suit, blue-plaid shirt, Nike sneakers, sporting a bad haircut while carrying an old suitcase and box of chocolates – I sorta had a unique way of capturing the attention of the crowd. So what did I learn?
As anyone attending their first NSA event would attest, there is a lot to learn! Here are the top 3 things I took from the meeting.
- Validation of my ‘act’ or brand and the approach that I have generally taken to date. My uniqueness is a great opportunity.
- Need to narrow my focus – Don’t try to be all things to all people. The ‘masters’ are the masters because they have mastered one thing.
- Continue to perfect my keynote/act/stage presence. If I am always in top form and delivering the very best in value and performance, I will succeed beyond my wildest dreams. This is what will keep my material fresh and relevant, keep the repeat clients coming back, and keep people talking about the experience they had with Steve Weber.
Additionally, I have a laundry list of things to help me in marketing, storytelling, keynote anatomy, social networking, branding, working with bureaus, calendaring, using specialized technology to streamline communication and information, etc., etc. These improvements will not only help me, but will benefit my clients!
To avoid information overload, I tried to instantly categorize everything I heard into one of three separate categories:
- Things already doing well or adequately: I choose to not worry about them. Forget about nit picking. I gave myself a pat on the back and moved on.
- Things that are non-applicable: I filed them for future reference. Don’t get caught up in worrying about them today … there will be time in the future to add services and products and the books.
- Things that can be done today (and in the next 6 months) that will make a difference in my career and in the ‘product’ I am delivering: Focus all my energy on these things. My clients will reap the benefits of a value-packed performance, and I will be demonstrating many of the Gump-driven principles I teach, such as personal responsibility, choosing powerfully and positive thinking!
During the first session held on Friday morning, another attendee described the group of speakers as isolated extroverts. That description struck a nerve. A week later it still rings true and I realize it describes me perfectly. I love working independently promoting my business, designing and enriching my presentation, and doing all the behind the scene details of an entrepreneurial adventure. And yet when I walk into a conference as an attendee or onto the platform as a speaker, the extrovert takes over – it’s show-time. I say thank you to all my new friends at NSA. The family of isolated extroverts welcomed me into their home and I’m graciously appreciative.
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