I spent the weekend at the National Speakers Association Winter Conference ("The Un-Conference") in Atlanta.
One word: WOW!
I have been active in this organization for several years, and have always enjoyed my experience, but this event was the one people will be talking about for a long time.
Part of my reason for this great meeting is that my three years of participation has lead me to establish real and ongoing friendships with others who were in attendance. The first time you go to an industry convention you are alone, but over time the events become reunions with people whom you cherish.
Two of my friends, Gina Schreck and Neen James were the co-chairs of the event... and they did a great job of putting together the program and orchestrating high level learning and a lot of fun! 318 professional speakers, staff and vendors were present at the Loews Hotel in Atlanta for this winter conference (making it the highest attended winter gathering ever!)
The opening session was dual keynoted by presentations from Scott Ginsberg and Matt Church. Both of these professional speakers are internationally successful, and they brought their "A-Games" to the table on Friday night. Speaking in front of speakers can be a tough assignment.... as we are extra critical of our peers messages and speaking styles.
Scott Ginsberg is "That Nametag Guy", but it is not just a gimmick that he wears a nametag 24 hours a day (yes, "Hello, My Name is Scott" is tattooed on his chest). Scott lives and breaths the importance of approachability and he is genuinely committed to his message. Additionally, Scott is someone who has also become my friend over the last few years, and it was great fun to watch him deliver they keynote!
***Scott Ginsberg will be speaking in Austin on March 1, 2011 from 11:30 - 1:30 at the NSA Austin Monthly Meeting. The topic will be about writing and branding to build your business. This is open to anyone (not just speakers), and a unique chance to meet this nice guy!
Matt Church is famous in Australia and is one of the top ten convention speakers "down under". I had never heard of him before this weekend, but I an not likely to forget him after his presentations. In addition the powerful thought leadership message, he also goosed me on stage (long story!). He had the whole room on their feet singing along to Bono in the end, and to get speakers to sing is quite the accomplishment.
Matt also lead a full day workshop at the conference as part of the "Thought Leader Track" at the conference. I attended most of the program, and was impacted by the curriculum. His new book, Thought Leaders, is a must read!
The rest of the weekend was filled with breakout sessions that delivered on the organizers efforts to create a conference that would provide more value than the money invested to attend. I have already made changes to my own business plan, and am excited about how to follow through on the 41 action items I listed on the flight-flight home. Attending educational events is important, but execution is the key!
Have A Great Day.