We may live in a time where information is coming at us all day long from so many sources in so many forms that it can make your head spin. I know I spend a part of every day looking over reports and statistics, while trying to determine which parts of them I need, should need or could need. We are all pressed to make many decisions every day that require careful consideration and good sources of intelligence. Often times we allow ourselves to be pulled into the fast paced action. But then we get to go to a conference or a convention. Conferences and conventions are often packed full of sessions and seminars, but they force us to be unavailable to the normal pace of business and force us to sit and listen.
I love attending conferences and seminars from the National Speakers Association. As a member of the National Speakers Association, I get a chance to hear my peers talk about how they get their messages out, how they manage the distribution of their content and how they relate to audiences. Even though much of my day is spent as an executive managing, leading, planning and helping to implement plans, I am always in speaking/teaching mode. When I am at a conference or convention, I am in student/ observer mode, which is a wonderful change of pace and an excellent change of perspective. When I am sitting and listening to another speaker, I am allowing my imagination to go with the presentation. I am relating what I hear to my current concerns and my hopes and dream which always run just below the surface of the wants and needs of the day to day demands of running businesses.
I am interested in just about any topic that has to do with business, society and people. So I enjoy every conference I attend. Although many conferences do not have the quality of speakers you get to hear at a National Speakers Association conference. (That just makes sense, I guess). When the content is interesting, I still am able to wrap my imagination around what a speaker has to offer. I am usually jotting down little notes, taking in things that come to me, or reminding myself of things I do not want to forget. These may be things I have been thinking about for a long time, that I haven’t allowed myself time to think about for a while.
I recently attended a National Speakers Association working session to help speakers develop resource materials to help them get their messaged across to audiences. It took place in New Orleans, which is always a great place to go. It is such a funky and lovely place. It is so full of contradictions that it is attractive. And the food is actually good. So no complaints from me when a conference is in New Orleans. I enjoyed how the different presenters found methods to get their messages out that really suited their presentation styles. This conference helped me take another look at our businesses create and go to market with resource materials and in particular our training products. It also gave me a chance to talk with other members from all over the country who use speaking in different ways in their work lives. I visited with a few folks from the Louisiana department of economic development, who are busy trying to help people reestablish old business and create new ones in an attempt to get revenue back to pre-Katrina levels. They use what they learn from public speaking to help educate and motivate small business people to make good business decisions.
If you are not familiar with the National Speakers Association, you should do some research on the association. If you are looking to hire someone to speak at an event, lead sessions, do training or handle coaching, using a National Speakers Association member gives you some assurance that this person is practiced and is committed to creating a quality experience for audiences and clients. If you are a speaker, trainer, coach or writer, you should look at the national Speakers Association as a valuable peer group and as a great place to get the continuing education that you need. We are often busy giving clients the information and education they need and neglect our own personal and professional development. The National Speakers Association has several special interest networking groups for people to gather on-line and off-line to discuss things like coaching, writing, sales training and a host of other topics. The regional training sessions like the one I attended in New Orleans happen several times a year and focus on different skill sets such as presentation skills, using technology to promote your business and so on. The main conferences every year are held in the winter and in the summer to give speakers a chance to get together in larger numbers and share experiences and learn new skills.
I hope to continue to attend National Speakers Association events and continue to hone my speaking skills. I know I use these skills every day. Yesterday I was negotiating an agreement with a lawyer who represented a potential client. He was rather dry and matter of fact in his approach. I needed to adjust my speaking style to the situation and to his temperament. Today I had to work out an arrangement with a client who was having a billing dispute with us. This took yet another approach. I am getting ready to go into a planning meeting with one of our sales staffers who is working on a special project which develops internet leads from our many informational web sites. That will take still another approach. Attending National Speakers Association events has helped me understand how one can and must customize your posture, voice, choice of words and speaking style to suit every audience, whether that is an audience of one of many.