Last night I attended a meeting of 19 professional speakers who live in the Austin area. WOW, what a dynamic (and just plain nice) group of people!
The "Austin Speakers Network" was organized to assess the need to have regular meetings to network, share best practices and get to know each other. Many of us are members of the National Speakers Association, but there has not been an active NSA Chapter in Austin for several years (which is a huge bummer, and this group wants to change that!).
Speaking can be a lonely occupation since one can be on the road a lot. Having a local group of colleagues whom can grow to know each other, meet (formally and informally) and help educate each other is vital. I am, obviously, a big believer in the power of relationships and find value in participation in industry groups.
When I first started speaking several years ago there were regular meetings of the NSA's "Heart of Texas" Chapter, which covered Austin, San Antonio and Corpus Christi, but the geography of Texas is so large that it was never easy to attend any meetings that were beyond Austin. Also, as a new comer to the industry and not yet an NSA member, it was not a welcoming atmosphere.
Not so last night. The enthusiasm level of these Austinites was over the top. The experience level ranged from 30-year veterans to those just starting their speaking careers... but all were welcome.
I think the group will continue to meet and grow the local web of friendships.
If you are a professional speaker and live in Texas, join us at our next Austin meeting! (dates TBD... the group decided monthly weekday lunches would be the best, maybe some dinners, too).
A BIG "Thank You" and kudos go to local speaker Sara Canaday for organizing the meeting and facilitating the open discussion. Rock and Roll, Sara!
Have A Great Day.