I spent this week at the National Speakers Association Convention. This annual four day conference has been a "must do" meeting for my schedule ever since I became a full-time speaker and "The Conference Catalyst". (There are two conferences I attend every year that always provide HUGE value... NSA and SXSW). I like participating in this event and find my business grows each year from the action items that bring home.
I was amazed the other day when a speaker asked me "why would you go to a conference of speakers, they don't refer you business... I only go conferences where I can meet potential clients". This is a dumb statement. (Yes, you know who you are, I know you read this blog, and yes, you sounded DUMB). First, I have gotten several referrals from other speakers. Second, how can you grow in a business as complex as the speaking industry without studying how others succeed (and fail) in their process? Besides, if I was a locksmith I would be an active member of the National Locksmiths Association.
Larry Winget (The Pitbull of Personal Development.... oh yes, he "owns" that phrase!) was one of the keynote speakers. While not everyone likes Larry's style, you cannot argue that he has created a very admirable career. His success did not happen by accident. He was not lucky. He set out to accomplish exactly what he did in the speaking business. He talked about the early days when he always attended NSA to watch, listen and learn. He avoided common mistakes, and looked for openings to create his own unique brand. He and I agree that we do not know how people expect to "wing it" (no pun intended) in this business without the clear understanding that comes from paying close attention to what others are doing. You cannot just fly by the seat of your pants and try to copy others.
Besides Mr. Winget, this year's NSA Convention was packed with speakers who provided practical learning, ideas, actionable tid-bits, and buckets of inspiration. I was not able to jump back into my work immediately after the conference, as my family did a little vacation trip tacked onto the end of NSA (Can you say "Hollywood".... yes, I know,... the trip to Italy should have been enough vacation for anyone). However, I did clearly start to ponder the ways to extend my own brand to the world.
Brian Tracy and Harvey Mackay were also in attendance. These two were my inspiration to become a speaker. Early in my career I read their books and attended their training programs. They encouraged me to go for my dream, and now I get to live it. Even thought I have met both of these men several times, I am still taken by how gracious they are when people come and talk with them. I want to be them when I grow up!
Some might complain about "information overload", but I see this massive swirling of thoughts in my mind as a cosmic blender. My "smoothie of learning". I thrive on being exposed to a constant supply of new concepts. Not very thing needs to go into mix, but if I did not have all the ingredients at my finger tips then I could never expand my business.
Have A Great Day
**** Follow up:
I got the following note from a friend:
"Calling someone DUMB sure doesn’t sound like you.
Have always considered you one of those eternally nice people – it’s a really great brand that I admittedly do not achieve"
I found the statement to be very short-sighted and "dumb" came out when I wrote the story.
In review "DUMB" was a strong choice of words. I think I meant this world more like using "DUH". Certainly not a compliment, but I did not mean it in as harsh of a manner as my friend interpreted it, but I always admire and appreciate this friend's wise counsel -- thus I wanted to point out my reconsideration of my choice in calling anyone "Dumb".