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a p r i l 2011

Use Neuroscience

t o G e t I n s i d e Yo u r

Audience’s Brain Brain Busters

Debunking common myths

Speak More

Your bookings will snowball!

High-Risk Travel Tips Page 30

Stroke of Insight

After a stroke, Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor rebuilt her brain—from the inside out T h e O f f i c i a l M a g a z i n e o f t h e N at i o n a l S p e a k e r s Asso c i at i o n • w w w. n s a s p e a k e r . o r g

Make it easy to work with your office Reason #137 to use eSpeakers

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BEING AVAILABLE 24/7 = EASY TO WORK WITH Add the amazing Online Assistant to your website and make it easy for clients to work with you. Laura Stack, MBA, CSP eSpeakers Online Assistant: Add to your website with a simple easy copy-and-paste plugin. Customers can check your availability in real-time and place holds on your calendar through your website. Eliminate double entry—when your customers place holds, you are notified instantly via email; the data flows directly into your calendar. Customers can complete your customized pre-event questionnaire and digitally sign contracts. Let eSpeakers make you easy to work with, 24/7! Upgrade now to eSpeakers PLUS for only $199 USD the first year. (normally $439 - you save 45%!) Use promo code yea “EASY” during the upgrade to receive discount pricing.

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a p r i l 2011


Stroke of Insight

For Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor, a medical emergency became a gift. By Stephanie R. Conner

FE ATURES Neuroscience Secrets for Working with Your Audience’s Brain


How to compete for space inside the minds of your attendees. By Scott Halford, CSP

Busters 20 Brain John B. Molidor, PhD, debunks some common myths about the body’s most complex organ. By Barbara Parus

Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor, stroke survivor

to Speak More? Then, Speak More! 26 Want Increasing your visibility as a speaker can result in more bookings. By Bruce Turkel

CO LU M N S 6 Reality Check Putting a fine point on the speaking industry

8 Welcome to My World A snapshot into the lives of people who hire speakers

10 It’s Your Business Advice for enterprising speakers

D EPARTMEN TS 30 Relevant Resources Time-saving tools and technologies

32 Beyond Borders Exploring cultures, countries and comfort zones

34 What Would You Do? Casting a reality check on real-world conundrums

35 Turning Point

4 News from Headquarters

A career-changing moment or experience

36 Advertising Index 37 Calendar of Events

38 Humor Me Finding the funny in a speaker’s life Departments

National Speakers Association is a member of the Society of National Association Publications (SNAP). Speaker magazine has been honored with a bronze award in the prestigious 2009 SNAP Excel Awards in the Magazines: General Excellence Category for best writing, content, graphic design and overall packaging. April 2011 | SPEAKER | 3

news from headquarters

National Speakers Association Officers Kristin Arnold, MBA, CPF, CMC, CSP, President Laura Stack, MBA, CSP, President-Elect Ronald P. Culberson, MSW, CSP, Vice President Marjorie Brody, PCC, CMC, CSP, CPAE, Secretary Scott Halford, CSP, Treasurer Phillip Van Hooser, CSP, CPAE, Immediate Past President Stacy Tetschner, CAE, Executive Vice President/CEO

Reported by Stacy Tetschner, CAE NSA Executive Vice President/CEO

Paid to Speak – Order Now!

Founder Cavett Robert, CSP, CPAE

Thirty-three members who are working speakers contributed their knowledge and expertise to NSA’s first book, Paid to Speak, which will be in bookstores in June. To order at the special $15.95 member price (regularly $22.95), go to or call (480) 968-2552. This price is good through June 1.

Board of Directors Kristin Arnold, MBA, CPF, CMC, CSP Marjorie Brody, PCC, CMC, CSP, CPAE Kirstin Carey, CSP Ronald P. Culberson, MSW, CSP Ed Gerety, CSP Scott Halford, CSP Shep Hyken, CSP, CPAE Ron Karr, CSP Linda Keith, CPA, CSP Scott McKain, CSP, CPAE John B. Molidor, PhD Ruby Newell-Legner, CSP Ed Robinson, CSP Ford Saeks Laura Stack, MBA, CSP Brian Tracy, CPAE Francine Ward, JD Liz Weber, CMC, MBA Phillip Van Hooser, CSP, CPAE

NSA All-PEG Pass – Only $100

Are you interested in joining multiple Professional Expert Groups (PEGs)? Buy an annual PEG Pass for only $100, and you will have access to teleseminars and Webinars for all 13 PEGS. You also will receive all PEG e-newsletters. Register now at (480) 968-2552.

In Memoriam

NSA Foundation Scholarships

John Alston, CSP, CPAE, passed away Jan. 28 after battling a brain tumor and related health problems for nearly 18 months. Alston, an internationally known keynote speaker and award-winning author, inspired millions of people with his message of extraordinary performance. He delivered up to 150 presentations per year to corporations worldwide, including many Fortune 500 companies. Alston requested that the John Alston Character Scholarship be established. In lieu of flowers, send contributions to: The Achievement Trust c/o Norma Harris, President Angel City Links Chapter, Inc. 5424 Sherbourne Drive Los Angeles, CA 90056

The NSA Foundation awards four $5,000 scholarships annually to juniors, seniors and graduate students who want to pursue a speaking career. To download an application, visit Application deadline: June 1.

2011 Convention Registration Grants Available NSA’s grant program assists members who cannot afford the full cost of professional development and continuing education through NSA’s educational meetings. Ten registration grants are available for the 2011 NSA Convention. The applicant must have been a member of NSA for a minimum of one year as of the date of application. To complete an application, visit Application deadline: June 17.

This Month on V o i c e s o f E x p e r i e n c e ® NSA’s monthly audio magazine

Welcome: Bill Cates, CSP, CPAE Selling to Large Corporations: Jill Konrath  Managing Your Staff:  Zemira Jones Leading-Edge Tech Tips:  Terry Brock, CSP, CPAE NSA Convention Update:  Theo Androus Feature Interview: Bill Cates, CSP, CPAE, with Dan Sullivan   Youth Leadership Conference:  Manny Diotte 4 | SPEAKER | April 2011

Million-Dollar Consulting: Nancy MacKay, PhD

Creating Work-Life Balance: Jeff Davidson, MBA, CMC Million-Dollar Idea: Bill Bachrach, CSP, CPAE President’s Message: Kristin Arnold, MBA, CPF, CMC, CSP

NSA Foundation This Foundation serves NSA members and the public through: • Financial help for NSA members and their families • Grants to NSA members who need help with their dues or meeting registration fees • Scholarships for students and professors • Oversight and funding for speaking-related research • Grants to help charitable organizations communicate through technology Founder and Chairman Emeritus Nido R. Qubein, CSP, CPAE Chair Stephen Tweed, CSP Immediate Past Chair Randy Pennington, CSP, CPAE NSA Foundation Board of Trustees Kristin Arnold, MBA, CPF, CMC, Ron Karr, CSP CSP, President John B. Molidor, PhD Francis Bologna, CPA Terry Paulson, PhD, CSP, CPAE Lenora Billings-Harris, CSP Sam Silverstein, CSP Ronald P. Culberson, MSW, CSP Laura Stack, MBA, CSP Jane Jenkins Herlong, CSP Phillip Van Hooser, CSP, CPAE Don Hutson, CSP, CPAE Al Walker, CSP, CPAE Speaker Editorial Advisory Board Pamela Jett, CSP, Chair Mary LoVerde, CPAE Don Cooper Mandi Stanley, CSP Kelli Vrla, CSP June Cline, CSP Janelle Barlow, CSP

Editor in Chief Design Barbara Parus Editorial Office and Subscriptions National Speakers Association 1500 S. Priest Drive, Tempe, AZ 85281 Tel: (480) 968-2552 Fax: (480) 968-0911 Advertising Sales Steve Camac Tel: (718) 710-4929 Email: Speaker (ISSN 1934-9076) (USPS 012-886). Volume 5, Number 7, Published monthly except February and August by the National Speakers Association, 1500 S. Priest Drive, Tempe, AZ 85281. Periodicals postage paid at Tempe, Arizona, and at additional mailing offices. Contents Copyright 2009 National Speakers Association, all rights reserved. Subscription rate for NSA members is $35 of $425 annual dues allocated to Speaker; non-member sub­scription rate is $49 for 10 issues. Add $10 for Canadian or international postage. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Speaker, National Speakers Association, 1500 S. Priest Drive, Tempe, AZ 85281.

The highly acclaimed, groundbreaking Million Dollar Consulting ... has been continually selling for 20 years, through four editions! Now, as only Professional Speakers Hall of Fame® Member Alan Weiss can do in that same innovative and distinctive style, two new works to accelerate your success! “Great Coaching is priceless. If you want to be a million dollar coach, read this book! In this fascinating work, master coach Alan Weiss puts forth his expansive knowledge and expertise to teach us what it takes to be great in this economy.” Marshall Goldsmith, World-Renowned, Executive Coach and author of the New York Times best-sellers Mojo and What Got You Here Won’t Get You There.

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Alan Weiss has authored 40 books with 8 publishers in 9 languages. His credits include the Professional Speaker Hall of Fame and Fellow of the Institute of Management Consultants.

And for everyone in Professional Speaking at any level • How to earn 7 figures in the speaking business • How to succeed without staff, without bureaus, and without stress • Developing a “star” reputation • Diversifying your business • Staying off airplanes • Leveraging technology • How to choose your markets and find buyers

Coming Soon: Million Dollar Referrals — All from McGraw-Hill

realit y check Putting a fine point on the speaking industry

NSA Foundation Helps Members in Need


t any moment, you could become the victim of an accident or suffer from an illness. It happened to these NSA members, as these real-life examples illustrate: • A woman was riding her bicycle through a quiet neighborhood on a Saturday afternoon when a large tree limb fell and crushed her spine. • A man fell from a rooftop while helping a neighbor with repairs. • An NSA member was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer and was unable to work for more than a year. • A woman went home to visit her mother, who was in declining health and needed assistance with the activities of daily living. The member moved back home to a rural area to care for her mother, and could not travel for speaking engagements for several years. • Hurricane Katrina destroyed the homes and businesses of dozens of NSA members. These people are the “The Faces of the Foundation.”

Providing Hope and Financial Assistance In 1983, Founder and Chairman Emeritus Nido Qubein, CSP, CPAE, established the NSA Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the National Speakers Association, which is governed by the NSA Foundation Board 6 | SPEAKER | April 2011

of Trustees. It serves NSA members by providing financial assistance to victims of health crises or natural disaster emergencies. Your tax-deductible donation gives fellow members hope and financial stability, and enables them to continue their speaking careers during tough times. Through the generous support of our donors, the NSA Foundation was able to provide the following in 2009-10: • Financial assistance to 12 members, totaling $70,938 • Event registration or meeting grants to 10 members • Funds for a program that benefits at-risk kindergartners • Oversight and funding for speaking-related research • Grants to help charitable organizations communicate through technology

NSA Scholarship Fund The Foundation also supports the future of the speaking profession by awarding scholarships to deserving college students and grants to charitable organizations that are making a big difference. The NSA Foundation Scholarship Fund was established for full-time junior, senior and graduate students enrolled in four-year accredited colleges and universities who are majoring in speech or directly related fields. In the past 18 years, over $280,000 in scholarships has been awarded to students and professors. For more information, visit www.

Save the Date! NSA Foundation Event Anaheim Marriott Hotel Anaheim, California Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Giving Is Easy In the coming months, the NSA Foundation will ask you to support these worthy causes by making a donation—any amount is deeply appreciated. You can do that by participating in the Foundation’s online auction, or attending the Foundation Benefit Seminar or picnic at NSA’s 2011 Annual Convention—Influence ’11— in Anaheim this summer. You’ll get the best in education and entertainment, along with the satisfaction of knowing that you’re supporting a worthy cause. Here are three more ways you can make your tax-deductible donation: Online: Visit By phone: Contact the NSA staff at (480) 968-2552 By mail: Send your donation to: 1500 S. Priest Drive, Tempe, AZ 85281 Stephen Tweed, CSP Chairman, NSA Foundation Board of Trustees

Jimm RobeRts / oRlando

welcome to my world A snapshot into the lives of people who hire speakers

Finding the Right Fit


hile many people in the meetings industry have been adversely impacted by the economic tsunami, some people continue to grow their businesses with impressive results. One individual who has seen incredible growth in her business is Shari Barth, owner of Optimal Training Solutions, a full-service speaking, training, coaching and consulting “brokerage.” Neil Dempster, MBA, CSP, spent a few minutes with Barth to discuss brokerage and current trends.

Second, when I send you an RFP, don’t send me your “tired” old materials or a link to your website. Speakers and trainers who customize their proposals to my clients’ needs get the business! Speakers need to be cooperative and flexible. Divas have little place in my business model or in today’s economy. Speakers also need to perform consistently well regardless of the fee arrangement. Speakers who always deliver their best efforts communicate volumes about who they are and the values they uphold.

Neil Dempster: How is a broker different from a speakers’ bureau?

How do speakers agitate or upset you or your clients?

Shari Barth: As a broker, I represent the client’s needs by scouting, pre-qualifying and negotiating to help my client find the right resource in the right city at the right price point. My long-term relationships with clients have helped me become familiar with their culture and “ouch” points. My background is in performance improvement and I am a trainer myself, so I act as a consultative resource. I broker options and choices, based on the client’s current need. For example, I determine the exact issue that needs to be addressed and the best way to approach it. Then, I invite qualified speakers to submit proposals. The client can review several proposals and determine which speaker(s) to interview and hire.

A real turnoff is when speakers don’t treat me as they would a client. The common courtesies they naturally extend to prospective clients are frequently forgotten, such as prompt replies to calls or emails. When a deal depends on communication, I can’t afford to work with someone who doesn’t respond quickly. It also peeves me when a speaker requests the same information that’s already in the documentation I’ve sent. This leaves the impression that the speaker isn’t organized.  

What should speakers do (or be) to have you present them to your clients? First, it’s critical for speakers to honor their commitments. When you say you’re going to do something, do it! 8 | SPEAKER | April 2011

? Another big shift is the renewed focus on application–whether it’s a training workshop or a keynote, my clients desire solutions to help their people perform better at work. Few have the luxury or budget for pure entertainment. Shari Barth is the founder and president of Optimal Training Solutions, a full-service training, brokering and consulting company, focused on providing practical training, consulting, assessments, and tools to improve on-the-job performance and business effectiveness. Barth has more than 16 years of experience in training, consulting, coaching and large- and small-scale project management. Visit Neil Dempster, MBA, CSP,

What trends should speakers/ trainers/coaches/consultants be aware of?

speaks from a lifetime of

Many clients are interested in using local talent to reduce travel expenses. If they don’t hire someone local, then they request flat-rate pricing that includes travel costs. They also want more-for-less pricing that includes books or other value-adds, and more targeted solutions for their people—not solutions for the masses.

boardroom. He brings

experiences in the trenches and within the corporate high-impact methods, practical recommendations and personal commitment to every human performance challenge. His education includes mechanical engineering, and he is currently in the dissertation phase for a PhD in Organizational Psychology. Visit

If You Are a Speaker, Trainer, Author, Coach, Consultant or Other Leader that Influences the World— You Need to Be at:

2011 NSA Convention • July 30–August 2, 2011 Anaheim Marriott • Anaheim, California • 4 Days and 5 Nights to Help You: • Increase Bookings • Get New Clients • Write Better • Mesmerize Audiences • Build Your Brand • Clarify Your Message • Define Your Market • Connect with Your Tribe • Explode Your Creativity • Challenge Your Thinking • Create Cash Flow • Manage Your Biz • Make a Difference! Keynotes from some of the world’s best speakers

Glenna Salsbury, CSP, CPAE

Lou Heckler, CSP, CPAE

Kyle Maynard

Ken Dychtwald

Terri Sjodin, CSP

Nido Qubein, CSP, CPAE

Master Classes from Experts

Les Brown, CPAE

Larry Winget, CPAE

Powerful Topic-Specific Sessions from: Tony Hsieh, Scott Stratten, Jim Rhode, CSP, Jeffrey Gitomer, CSP, CPAE, Rebecca Morgan, CMC, CSP, Ford Saeks, Lisa Jimenez, and many, many more! • Contrarian Café • Running Your Trap game show • Social Media Marketing panel

• So You Think You Can Speak • NSA Tonight! • CSP/Bureau Speed Dating! Brought to you by:

INFLUENCE ’11 is like no other event you have ever attended! Rad. Relevant. Fresh. Practical. Fun. Thought-Provoking. Register through May 31 to take advantage of early bird savings!

It’s your business Advice for enterprising speakers

Engaging Younger Audiences


t’s no secret that the key to a spectacular presentation is a speaker’s ability to engage an audience. Young people, however, pose different challenges than adult audiences. They are your toughest critics, and don’t hide behind nodding, note taking or smiles. Their body language expresses everything you need to know to tailor every sentence you utter. Here are some myth busters about engaging young people:

Myth: You have to be young to engage youth. Fact: You don’t have to dress like a gangster or talk like you’re one of them. Be genuine and speak from the heart and, instead of trying to fit in, make the audience tune to your way of thinking, your life and your story.

Myth: You need to be cool. Fact: You’re trying to deliver your message to young people, not get on their good side. In many cases, your audience will have an open mind. You can make or break your first impression, but don’t stray from your message or image because you think it will make them more engaged.

Myth: Adults think young people need to hear funny stories about their lives. Fact: Young people want to hear stories with morals, based on lessons that adults have learned during their lives. Young people may have a different view of what’s funny, so something you think is hilarious may not be to young people. Age jokes are a no-no because young people don’t always “get” them.

Myth: Textbook content is good.

Myth: You must be inspiring and positive.

Fact: Young people like to interact with others or do an activity. When you’re delivering a presentation, add a couple of extra exercises to get them to talk to each other or move around; for example, ask them to turn to the person to their left and share their thoughts about what the speaker just said.

Fact: Share the good with the bad. Many speakers at my high school painted a beautiful picture about their lives, but they never described the hard work that was necessary to achieve their goals. Young people need to be aware that life is not easy. Situations will arise that will force them to deal with barriers and conflicts.

10 | SPEAKER | April 2011

The worst speaker who came to my high school told the student body that life was “piss easy.” Apart from the inappropriateness, it was easy for him to say that because he owns properties around the world. However, he did not reveal that he worked hard to achieve his success. So, before you walk on stage to present to a younger audience, think back to your youth and ask: What did I want to hear when I was that age? What engaged me when I was young? Russian-born Eva-Maria is a 20-year-old family coach, international speaker, TV personality and author of the best-selling book, You Shut Up! She lives in New Zealand and is on a full-on mission to help improve 1 million adult-teenager relationships around the world. For more information, go to

CO “This powerful, practical book is loaded with vital ideas and insights that help you become an outstanding speaker and presenter on any subject. Having given 5,000 talks, I am delighted to see how much I still have to learn.”





• BRIAN TRACY, speaker, writer, business advisor


SPEAK Best Practices for Building a Successful Speaking Business

In bookstores June 2011, but NSA members can visit or call NSA at (480) 968-2552 to order advance copies at the special member rate of $15.95, regularly $22.95. This rate is available only to NSA members through June 1, 2011.

Take your speaking and preparing business to levels you’ve only anddreamed marketing about.

and product develop

Thirty-three working professional developm NSA members have contributed their t expertise and rich content knowledge to NSA’s first-ever book, making Paid to Speak and essential humor to any speaker’s list of reference and body language materials.

Of course, at that moment, I had no question that I was going to be fine. I didn’t question that I would survive. —Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor

By Stephanie R. Conner

12 | SPEAKER | April 2011

S t r o k e

o f


r. Jill Bolte Taylor spent her career striving to understand the brain. A Harvard-trained and published neuroanatomist and PhD, Taylor specialized in the postmortem investigation of the human brain in an effort to better understand schizophrenia and other severe mental illnesses. On December 10, 1996, something happened — something that changed Taylor’s understanding of the brain forever. When she awoke that morning, she felt a throbbing in the left side of her head. While it was an unusual pain, the then-37-year-old hopped onto her cardio glider to begin her morning exercise routine. But something didn’t feel right. Then, before Taylor stepped into the shower, she lost her balance. “It was clear something weird was going on, but I didn’t have a name for it. If I had been a medical doctor, I probably would’ve known what it was,” Taylor says. “All I knew was that strange things were happening.” When her right arm became paralyzed, she realized she was staring down

a stroke. A blood vessel had exploded in the left side of her brain. At a moment when many of us might have panicked or have been unable to understand what was happening, Taylor had a different reaction. Her natural response, she says, was: “This is so cool.”

The Value of Experience For Taylor, having a stroke was a gift of sorts. Even in the moments immediately following the hemorrhage, she knew that. “It helped me place an experience on an understanding I had acquired through language and through books. I was aware that it would give me an insider’s perspective on decades of academic learning — to have that experience and ultimately be able to communicate the experience of a stroke,” she says. “Of course, at that moment, I had no question that I was going to be fine. I didn’t question that I would survive.” But later in the day, that confidence waned and those assumptions of survival vanished. Stroke is the third-leading cause of death in the United States and a major cause of disability. And in the hours after the stroke, the severity of Taylor’s own circumstances became real as she could not walk, talk, read, write or recall any of her life. Just two-and-ahalf weeks later, Taylor underwent major brain surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital to remove a golf-ball-size blood clot from the left hemisphere of her brain.

April 2011 SPEAKER | 13

But for survivors of stroke, surgery is never the end of the story. In fact, it’s really the beginning of a long and challenging road to recovery. “For me, it was a decision,” she explains. “Once I made the decision I was going to recover, then I was on the road.” Taylor spent the next eight years working to recover what she had lost — some of which never returned. “I never went back and did higher statistics or probabilities,” she says, although she believes she has the capacity to re-learn it. “It’s just not where I’m choosing to put my time,” she says. Instead, she spends her time talking to audiences about her experience, what she learned from it and how others can apply her lessons to their own lives.

Dr. Taylor, The Speaker Prior to her stroke, Taylor addressed specialized audiences on topics related to mental illness as a part of her job. Today, her topics and audiences are much broader. In 2008, she delivered an 18-minute presentation at the TED Conference. Afterward, the video of her talk was shared worldwide via the Internet. She was named one of TIME magazine’s "100 Most Influential People in the World" that year and 14 | SPEAKER | April 2011

became a highly sought-after speaker. After experiencing a stroke, she approaches the podium in a new way. “When I presented before, it was more of a me-to-them experience,” she says. “Post-stroke, I view speaking as an opportunity to go on a journey together.” She is also less intimidated. “The most important thing is that I have no fear,” she says. “I see my poststroke life as a tremendous gift. I call this ‘gravy time’ because I almost didn’t get this time. I’m aware that I have a limited amount of time in this body with this voice.” Instead of worrying about attendee numbers, Taylor says her focus is squarely on honoring her guests by giving them the very best of herself. “I show up for them 1,000 percent,” Taylor says. “I don’t waste anybody’s time. When I treat their time as precious, they respond to that.”

A Message of Insight Taylor writes about the experience of her stroke — and its impact — in her book, My Stroke of Insight. Her left hemisphere had been dominant, but when the stroke suppressed those functions, she found that her right hemisphere flourished. She developed artistic talents, for example. But even more significant: Taylor's consciousness shifted when she lost her left brain’s categorizing, organizing, describing and judging skills — along with her language and ego centers. Without the left

brain’s “circuitry,” she shifted into present-moment thinking and found peace. “The insight boils down to the fact that deep inside my brain's right hemisphere, which is which are always turned on and always running, there is the experience of a universal peace that connects me to my fellow human beings,” she explains. “The insight was I am eternal peace. I am universal peace. And this is a circuitry I can choose to run at any time, at any moment, and so can you.”

The insight boils down to the fact that deep inside my right hemisphere, which is always turned on and always running, there is the experience of a universal peace that connects me to my fellow human beings. She helps her audiences explore how they think and feel, and how they react to life’s circumstances. She reminds us all that we have power over our own minds. Consider the emotions of sadness, grief or even fear. These are intense human emotions that are beautiful experiences, Taylor says. “Because I look at myself as a collection of circuits that are performing these types of processes, I respect them,” she explains. “I may just not want to experience them at the moment they come online. I might allow them to envelop me, and then I allow them to pass beyond me. And I go back to being joyful.” Everyone can make this choice. “I try to help people realize they have that power,” she says. “When people are willing to take that control,

it changes how you interact with others. But you have to be willing to watch what’s going on in your brain. You have to observe instead of engage with your emotional circuitry.” To help her audiences understand, Taylor shares scenarios that are germane to a particular audience; for example, a boss walking into your office, a child entering the room, or a conversation with your spouse. “I give very basic information,” she says. “And I relate it to the brain in a way that’s relevant to my audience.”

Different Messages for Different Audiences Taylor presents to a variety of audiences, customizing her talk for each. For example, when a government organization invites her to talk about stroke, they want to hear her personal story. But a group of medical school students or members of a neurological rehabilitation organization are more interested in the topic of compassion in medicine. When preparing to present to a group of neonatal specialists, she saw an incredible opportunity. “I get to tell them what it’s like to be born in a world where nothing makes any sense,” she explains. “They get to hear it through the voice of someone who has been there. They get to hear what I needed in order to make sense of the world.” And because Taylor is known for her work in exploring the right side of the brain and finding control and inner peace, this is a frequently requested presentation.

“The beauty of what I do is: I’m about the brain,” she says. “It’s not about my brain. It’s about our brain. Everybody has a brain, and they all want to get theirs to work better.” Taylor loves the topics she speaks about, and her audiences notice. “It’s fascinating. I have a great time,” she says. “And if I’m having a great time, they’re having a great time.” And how do they thank her? With hugs and love, she says. “It turns into a big love-fest,” she says with a smile. “People are willing to open their hearts, which is really their right brains.”

What’s Next? While the year following her TED talk was consumed with speaking events, Taylor now makes sure she has downtime. Her board of directors helps limit her speaking engagements in consideration for her health and well-being. “Every decision we make on the board is not based on money. It’s about how my message gets translated and how can I make a shift in the people who are there to receive it,” she says. “When that happens, I feel like I did my job. And they feel fulfilled.” When she’s not speaking, Taylor is writing and working on a brain-centered research project. Plus, she’s working with director Ron Howard on creating a film about her life. She’s optimistic he’ll help communicate her message to an even wider audience in a beautiful, artistic way. “When you really embrace the wonder of what you are as a living being, there’s a beautiful lightness … it’s love,” she says. “That, I think, is the best part for me.” Stephanie R. Conner is a writer and editor who finds hope, inspiration and insight in Dr. Taylor’s story. She can be reached at Stephanie@ April 2011 SPEAKER | 15

agnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), you would see they are looking at ying attention to what you’re saying. That may see cynical, but the r s have to work harder and more deliberately as speakers to engage mi nd truly shift their audiences, because the world is filled with distr or their attention. Her are some tips based on neuroscience that wil or space in their minds: People don’t learn when you talk. They learn w oncepts to their lives and practice them over and over. They’re certa uring your session. Many keynote speakers say they speak to chang de. According to neuroscience, neither is happening, at least not per eak, your audience gathers information and stores it for later use. T r anything you said. Gathering happens when there is density of atten ou give the audience 15 different things to remember, their brains will our new things to attend to, and you don’t get to choose which on lated points to increase density. Build your speech for density instea our disparate points in your topic area. If brain science means anythin a single symphony with various movements and not a greatest hits al tired, most bounce off of it. Glucose levels (brain fuel) are usually nd late evening. If you’re speaking at those times, your talk will be ab lk is shorter, sweeter and/or more tactical in nature. If you’re a hum ou get by because you’re probably short and sweet. If you’re a high-con eces of information are critical for the tired brain, regardless of ory is. For example, ask the audience to try a couple of things in the em how they make things better by illustrating the points via your ecific deeds to carry out in the next week that are related to your st dience what you want them to DO a bit more when they’re tired. For a ere is nothing like feeling like “I can do that, too” and then getting ou, the credible source, on how to do it. The lazy brain wants to b nonymous said that and couldn’t be more accurate. Creating memorie a really good goal if you want to be asked back. Here’s how the brain e which avenue you use the most when you speak. Shallow memory reated in the brain when you try to memorize new words or data. It tak mount of glucose to learn and remember new things. It’s exhaustin ards a good deal of shallow memory if it’s not repeatedly reinforced ewing a lot of data or new ideas without anchoring the memories ain, the memories won’t get much further than the exit door of the an anchor information with phonological memory and semantic mem emory. That’s a big word for how words sound and are associated eakers should use rhyming words; alliteration (two or more words me sound; e.g., “learnable lesson” or “if you live with love, you learn o great.” Acronyms can be cheesy, but they work, too: BRAIN=Build Retent ow TEAM=Together By Scott Halford, CSPEveryone Achieves More). Retention increases w rbs to inanimate ideas. Get people to think about doing what you’re ta f saying, “Kindness is important in the workplace,” use the active verb ea: “Do kind things and people almost always return the favor.”Sema e cash cow for memory creation. People remember what has meaning reated by feelings, which are generated by emotions. Tell stories th omething; for example, NSA member Chad Hymas’s story about ending ark Sanborn’s Fred Factor, Jeannie Robertson’s baton story, or Tim Ga e’ve all seen speakers whose funny, sad, quirky, moody story “hit a ner mbic system (the brain’s emotional center), which turns words into a m ave positive and negative emotional content and teach a lesson are an the brain, and can begin the process of changing the brain. When th onal state, it is primed for learning and creating thicker memory tra ory for the sake of making people laugh or cry and then fail to driv g, you’ve missed an enormous opportunity. The point of the story is t ccept the lesson and remember it for later use. It’s always flatterin formeets working with youraaudience’s brain ember you again few months later and says he remembers yo e point that was connect to it. The brain learns better through co hen I 16say Paris, the content P-A-R-I-S goes into your left brain, and jump | SPEAKER | April 2011 here a picture is formed. It would be the rare person who sees each eak. What comes to mind when you hear “Paris”? The Eiffel Tower? Ro

Neuro science Secrets

t you but not really reality is that speakinds, impact learning ractions competing ll help you compete when they apply your ainly not doing that ge attitude, not aptirmanently. When you That is, if they rememntion. For example, if select a maximum of nes. Give them a few ad of using three or ng, your talk should lbum. When the brain y low mid-afternoon bsorbed better if the morist after dinner, ntent speaker, usable f how amazing your next week and show story; then give the tory. Spoon-feed the an audience member, g a suggestion from be fed the answers. es for your audience n handles memories; y. Memory trails are kes an extraordinary ng and the brain disd over time. If you’re s more heavily in the e meeting room. You mory.. Phonological d with other words. s beginning with the n to love,” or “good tion And Intelligence when you add active alking about. Instead b to strengthen the antic memory. This is g to them. Meaning is hat make people feel g up in a wheelchair, ard’s fat, sweaty guy. rve.” This nerve is the memory. Stories that nchored very deeply he brain is in an emoails. When you tell a ve home some learnto prime the brain to ng when an audience our great story, and ontext than content. ps to the right brain h letter or word as I omance? Wine? Notre


oes your audience pay attention to you? If you hooked up audience members to functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), you would see they are looking at you but not really paying attention to what you’re saying.

That may seem cynical, but the reality is that speakers have to work harder and more deliberately to engage minds, impact learning and truly shift their audiences, because the world is filled with distractions competing for their attention. Her are some tips based on neuroscience that will help you compete for space in their minds:

1 Gather vs. Learn.

People don’t learn when you talk. They learn when they apply your concepts to their lives and practice them consistently. They’re certainly not doing that during your session. Many keynote speakers say they speak to change attitude, not aptitude. According to neuroscience, neither is happening, at least not permanently. When you speak, your audience gathers information and stores it for later use. That is, if they remember anything you said. Gathering happens when there is density of attention. For example, if you give the audience 15

different things to remember, their brains will select a maximum of four new things to attend to, and you don’t get to choose which ones. Give them a few related points to increase density. Build your speech for density instead of using three or four disparate points in your topic area. If brain science means anything, your talk should be a single symphony with various movements and not a greatest hits album. When the brain is tired, most information bounces off of it. Glucose levels (brain fuel) are usually low midafternoon and late evening. If you’re speaking at those times, your talk will be absorbed better if the talk is shorter, sweeter and/or more tactical in nature. If you’re a humorist after dinner, you get by because you’re probably short and sweet. If you’re a high-content speaker, usable pieces of information are critical for the tired brain, regardless of how amazing your story is. For example, ask the audience to try a couple of things in the next week and show them how they make things better

April 2011 SPEAKER | 17

by illustrating the points via your story; then give the specific deeds to carry out in the next week that are related to your story. Spoon-feed the audience what you want them to do a bit more when they’re tired. For an audience member, there is nothing like feeling like “I can do that, too” and then getting a suggestion from you, the credible source, on how to do it. The lazy brain wants to be fed the answers.

2 “Good memories are

like gathering roses in the winter.” Anonymous said that and couldn’t be more accurate. Creating memories for your audience is a really good goal if you want to be asked back. Here’s how the brain handles memories. Which avenue do you use the most when you speak? Shallow memory. Memory trails are created in the brain when you try to memorize

new words or data. It takes an extraordinary amount of glucose to learn and remember new things. It’s exhausting and the brain discards a good deal of shallow memory if it’s not repeatedly reinforced over time. If you’re spewing a lot of data or new ideas without anchoring the memories more heavily in the brain, the memories won’t get much further than the exit door of the meeting room. You can anchor information with phonological memory and semantic memory. Phonological memory. That’s a big word for how words sound and are associated with other words. Speakers should use rhyming words; alliteration, which is two or more words beginning with the same sound; e.g., “learnable lesson” or “if you live with love, you learn to love,” or “good to great.” Acronyms can be cheesy, but they work, too: • BRAIN=Build Retention And Intelligence Now • TEAM=Together Everyone Achieves More Retention increases when you add active verbs to inanimate ideas. Get people to think about doing what you’re talking about. Instead of saying, “Kindness is important in the workplace,” use the active verb to strengthen the idea: “Do kind things and people almost always return the favor.” Semantic memory. This is the cash cow for memory creation. People remember what has meaning to them. Meaning is created by feelings, which are generated by emotions. Tell stories that make people feel something; for example, NSA member Chad Hymas’s story about ending up in a wheelchair, Mark Sanborn’s Fred Factor, Jeannie Robertson’s baton story, or Tim Gard’s fat, sweaty guy. We’ve all seen speakers whose funny, sad, quirky, moody story “hit a nerve.” This nerve is the limbic system (the brain’s emotional center), which turns

18 | SPEAKER | April 2011

words into a memory. Stories that have positive and negative emotional content and teach a lesson are anchored very deeply in the brain, and can begin the process of changing the brain. When the brain is in an emotional state, it is primed for learning and creating thicker memory trails. When you tell a story for the sake of making people laugh or cry and then fail to drive home some learning, you’ve missed an enormous opportunity. The point of the story is to prime the brain to accept the lesson and remember it for later use. It’s always flattering when an audience member meets you again a few months later and says he remembers your great story, and the point that was connected to it.

3 Content vs. Context.

The brain learns better through context than content. When I say Paris, the content P-A-R-I-S goes into your left brain, and jumps to the right brain where a picture is formed. It would be the rare person who sees each letter or word as I speak. What comes to mind when you hear “Paris”? The Eiffel Tower? Romance? Wine? Notre Dame? It depends on your experience with the concept. But what if I want you to think about the Paris landmark Champ d’Elysees? If I haven’t been clear in expressing the specific context or I’ve relied on the assumption that you would get what I mean by inference, then the speech falls flat. It’s like flashing a cartoon on a screen and letting your audience read it on their own. You get a smattering of laughter as people read it and understand it at their own pace. But, when you read it to them, the audience gets it all at once and the laughter is simultaneous and more explosive. That’s how you want your audience to come upon your concepts—together and powerfully. Individual contexts most likely will change once people leave the room, but it’s immensely powerful when everyone

Retention increases when you add active verbs to inanimate ideas. Get people to think about doing what you’re talking about. Instead of saying, “Kindness is important in the workplace,” use the active verb to strengthen the idea: “Do kind things and people almost always return the favor.” is experiencing what you want them to experience clearly and concisely. This means that you have to understand your audience’s experience with your material. Do your homework before the speech. Sometimes, all it takes is a slight tweak or an extra explanation to get them all in the same context with learning. You would not give the same speech to a group of sixth graders that you do to a corporate audience. You can get at the same content, but you have to massage the context differently because of experience levels. For example, if I talk to a group of kids about an abstract emotional intelligence concept like empathy, I ask them how they think it feels to be the person who they ignore on the playground. “It feels really bad and makes him sad,” they say. Then, I ask them what they would do to make that kid feel better. They almost always come up with the simple answer of asking him to play, too, and then being his friend. When I talk to adults, it’s different. They have more experiences with feeling bad. They hate to admit that they are just big kids playing on an adult playground with the same feelings of being ostracized, so I get them to relate to empathy and feelings by talking about when the boss shuts them down or what it feels like to lose out on a job they really wanted. Some speakers fall down here because they think that their content is universal and they don’t consider the audience’s experience with their information.

4 Maximize vs. Minimize.

All day long, the brain’s activity is set up around the idea of maximizing reward and minimizing danger. It’s true for everyone in your audience. They want information that feels like a reward to them, helps them gain something, or minimizes the hassles (danger) of their lives. If you’re busy telling your story of how you climbed 10 of the world’s highest peaks and what you learned from that, that may be rewarding for you, but it’s not for your audience. The framing of your talk will be more powerful when you think in terms of what it means for the audience. In the past, we’ve talked a lot about WIIFM (what’s in it for me) incorporated into speeches, and now we have the science to back it up and add a slight twist. It’s imperative that audience members hear ways to minimize the threats they face, such as losing jobs, income freezes, more hours, less resources and so on.

The brain is a lazy, and needs to be coddled, coaxed and coached into consciousness. When you do that, your audience goes from thinking how brilliant you are to imagining how brilliant they can be, and that will stick with them longer than your final bow. Scott Halford, CSP, is president of Complete Intelligence™, LLC. He helps individuals and organizations become more successful through emotional intelligence and neuro-behavioral science. He is a postgraduate student in the neuroscience of leadership through the Neuroleadership Institute and the University of Middlesex in London. He is the Brainy Business columnist each month for Entrepreneur Magazine online. He sits on the NSA Board of Directors and serves as Treasurer. He can be reached at

Does your audience pay attention members to Getfunctional magnetic Spaced Out! see they are Learning looking at you and retention increase whenbut not you’re saying. That may see cynical, information gathering is spaced. to work harder and more deliberately Research shows that if you teach one learning andgrouptruly shift for 3 hours and then teach their audiwith distractions competing another group the same information for their neuroscience1.5that will you compete hours today and 1.5help hours tomorlearn when you talk. learn when they apply row, both groupsThey will have the same tice them over and over. They’re certainly not recall after 24 hours. But after one keynote speakers say they speak to change attiweek, the spaced group will retain up roscience, neither is information. happening, at least not to 70 percent more Find audience gathers information and stores it ways to space what you convey. It ber anythingdoesn’t you said. Gathering happens have to be in one speech! For example, if you give the audience 15 difbrains will select a maximum of four new April 2011 SPEAKER | 19

By Barbara Parus

S John B. Molidor, PhD, dispels some popular myths about the human brain.


he human brain is a very complex organ, composed of approximately 100 billion neurons—and each one of those neurons communicates with up to 10,000 other neurons. It is so complicated that several fields of medicine and science are dedicated to treating and studying it, including neurology, which treats physical disorders of the brain; psychology, which includes the study of behavior and mental processes; neuroradiology, which takes an actual look inside the brain; and psychiatry, which treats mental illnesses and disorders.

20 | SPEAKER | April 2011

The brain continues to remain a mystery and is the subject of many myths, some of which are perpetuated by speakers who spout them freely from the platform. John B. Molidor, PhD, CEO and president of MSU/FAME and assistant dean and professor of psychiatry, Michigan State University College of Human Medicine, sat down with Speaker magazine to debunk some of the most common myths.


you use only

2 o f y o u r b r a in . This is the most widely circulated myth about the brain. In the early 1900s, William James, the father of modern psychology, said that “the average person rarely achieves but a small portion of his or her potential.” Somehow, his words were misinterpreted into people using only 10 percent of their brain. Famous people, including Nobel Prize-winning scientist Albert Einstein and anthropologist Margaret Mead, also have been quoted as stating variations of it. Researchers have discovered that only 10 percent of neurons are firing in the brain at any point in time, but this does not mean that the brain is operating on partial power. Functional magnetic resonance imagery (fMRI) of the brain shows that 100 per cent of the brain is active and aglow, even when you are asleep or anesthetized. So, a more accurate statement is that some people operate at only 10 percent of their ability. “This story is a nice metaphor to encourage and motivate people to do more,” Molidor said. “If we only use 10 percent, our brains would be the size of a sheep’s brain. And if you think—or worse, tell your audiences—that you use only 10 percent of your brain, then you probably are.”

Brain Bites 3 = Weight of your brain in pounds 4 to 6 = Number of minutes your brain can survive without oxygen before it starts to die 8 to 10 = Number of seconds you have before losing consciousness due to blood loss 10 to 23 = Number of watts of power your brain generates when you’re awake. (It’s enough to turn on a light bulb!) 100,000 = Number of miles of blood vessels in your brain 1,000 to 10,000 = Number of synapses for each neuron in your brain 100 billion = Number of neurons in your brain Source:

Dr inking a lc o h o l kil l s b r a in c el l s This myth conjures up images of frat boys chugging beers and head-butting each other at a keg party. Everyone is aware that alcohol consumption produces slurred speech, inappropriate behavior, impaired motor skills and judgment, with the resulting hangover marked by headaches, nausea and general malaise. But are a few nights of partying enough to kill brain cells? No, but excessive drinking can damage the ends of neurons, which are called dendrites. This results in problems conveying messages between the neurons. The cell itself isn’t damaged, but the way that it communicates with others is altered. According to researchers, this damage is mostly reversible. Alcoholics, however, can develop Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, a neurological disorder that can result in a loss of neurons in some parts of the brain. It causes memory problems, confusion, paralysis of the eyes, lack of muscle coordination and amnesia. The disorder is the result of a thiamine deficiency—and extreme alcohol consumption can interfere with the body’s absorption of this essential B vitamin. “Drinking red wine occasionally is good for the heart and soul,” Molidor says, “But as Oscar Wilde said, ‘Everything in moderation, including moderation.” April 2011 SPEAKER | 21


When brain cells die, you lose them forever. The synapses, or the connections between neurons, and the blood cells that support neurons grow and increase in number when you learn. This phenomenon is called brain plasticity. You can grow your brain cells by doing new tasks. The brain throws out a network to figure out how to do the task. Then, the network is trimmed down and can be accessed more rapidly. “If you want to get better at something, go learn something new to create new connections,” Molidor said. Molidor suggests learning a new skill or software package that relates directly to your speaking business, such as PowerPoint®. Otherwise, your brain will adjust to your routine the same way your body adapts to an exercise program. That is why fitness instructors encourage people to do a variety of exercises, including aerobics, resistance training and yoga. “It’s important to move your body. When you exercise your body, you exercise your brain with increased oxygen flow,” Molidor said.


You are either right-brained or left-brained. This myth holds that a left-brain thinker is more logical, analytical and rational, while a right-brain thinker is more creative, emotional and intuitive. Although some people display more left-brain or right-brain traits in their behavior, it doesn’t mean they are only using the right or the left side of the brain. The brain has two hemispheres, joined by a band of nerve tissue called the corpus collosum. For a few tasks, one side of the brain may dominate, but both sides must work together for any important tasks. MRIs show that neither side of the brain can work independently. “Be a full-brain presenter to appeal to both sides of the brain,” Molidor says.

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5 Your brain is like a computer.

A human brain is often compared to a computer because they both can perform math calculations and process and file information. However, they are two different systems that process information differently. A computer can do math instantly, but does not have the human brain’s capability of face and voice recognition. Here are some more comparisons: Power: Both use electricity. A brain relies on sodium and potassium to transmit electrical signals, while a computer needs the right wiring. Memory: Computers can organize and store an unlimited amount of information, but a brain can make errors in organizing and filing information. Information access: Unlike filing information in folders and on the desktop of your PC, the brain files pieces of information in different areas. This information needs to be continually accessed to be retained. Processing: A computer calculates faster than a brain, but a brain adapts to circumstances more easily, interprets information faster, and has the ability to imagine and create. Repairs: A computer can be fixed easily with new parts, but a human brain needs time to heal. Upgrades: A computer can be upgraded with new technology. A human brain can be strengthened with good nutrition, adequate sleep and brain exercises. “When you want to retain information, you have to repeat it,” Molidor says. “Some fun and easy ways to do this are with acronyms, rhymes and songs.”


What’s Your Brain IQ? True or False >>Using drugs puts holes in your brain. False: Only physical trauma can put a hole in your brain. >>Alcohol does not kill brain cells. True: Alcohol use doesn’t damage the actual brain cells, but it does damage the ends of neurons, which are called dendrites. This results in problems conveying messages between the neurons. >>The brain is called “gray matter” because it’s gray. False: The brain is gray, white, black and red. Brains in specimen jars appear gray because of formaldehyde used in the preservation process. >>Humans have the biggest brains of all animals. False. The average human brain weighs about 3 pounds, which is a body-to-weight ratio of 1:50. In most other mammals, the ratio is 1:180. >>Listening to classical musical before a test will improve your grade or increase your unborn baby’s IQ, according to the Mozart effect. False: Classical music does not increase brainpower.

Male and female brains are different.

“There are biological differences between male and female brains, but be careful about generalizing behavior,” says Molidor. Research confirms that there are some subtle differences between a male and female brain: Cell numbers: Men have 4 percent more brain cells than women, and about 100 grams more brain tissue. Corpus collosum size: A woman’s brain has a larger corpus collosum, which means women can transfer data between the right and left hemispheres faster than men. Language: For men, language is most often in the dominant hemisphere (usually the left side), but women are able to use both sides for language. This enables women to recover more fully from a stroke. Limbic size: The brain’s limbic system houses bonding and nesting instincts. Females have larger and deeper limbic systems than males and can connect to others more rapidly, as a rule. April 2011 SPEAKER | 23

Other 7 Brainrelated the bigger your brain, Myths 9 it takes 21 days

the smarter you are. There is no real evidence that a larger brain equates to higher intelligence. Men have slightly larger brains than women and this has led to the myth that they are smarter. The average brain weight in men is about 11 to 12 percent more than average brain weight in women. Men’s heads also are 2 percent larger than women’s. This is due to a male’s larger body size and greater muscle mass, which require more neurons to control a larger and heavier physique. “Speakers’ egos are related sometimes to brain size, but brain size is not related to IQ,” Molidor says.

When you grow old, you will lose your memory. It’s a misconception that memory loss is inevitable as you age. Many factors can affect your ability to absorb, store and recall information, such as genetics, disease, drugs and overall health. Some elderly people appear to have a poor memory, but memory loss isn’t inevitable. To keep your brain active and in good condition, it is important to exercise regularly and eat plenty of fish, fresh fruit, berries, vegetables, whole grains and nuts. “Berries are the best thing you can eat. They contain polyphenols, which are powerful antioxidants that give them their rich color and are good for brain health.” The brain loves movement. Exercise improves blood flow to the brain and your diet provides the necessary fuel to keep moving.


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Plastic surgeon Maxwell Maltz, MD, FICS, wrote the best-seller, PsychoCybernetics: A New Way to Get More Living Out of Life, in 1960. He discovered how people’s inner scars affected how they viewed themselves. In working with amputees, he noticed that it took 21 days for them to stop feeling phantom sensations of their missing limbs. From further observations, he found that it takes 21 days to create a new habit. This became known as the

10 In the original “Starfish Story,” the starfish thrower says he is making a difference to the starfish he tosses back into the sea. NSA’s widely popular “Starfish Story” has been adapted and retold by speakers on the platform and at NSA events. It is based on a story called “The Star


It takes 20 hugs a day to remain healthy. There’s a lot of research information on the Internet that supports the myth of daily hugs to stay healthy. Hugging increases oxytocin, reduces stress, and lowers blood pressure and heart rate. There are also research studies about infants in orphanages benefiting from frequent human touch. “Where does the ‘20’ hugs comes from?” Molidor asked. “When you state a number, make sure you have research to support it.”

to break a habit

“21-Day Habit Theory.” New research by Phillipa Lally and her colleagues from the Cancer Research UK Health Behavior Research Centre contradicts Dr. Maltz’s theory. They found that it takes an average of 66 days to form a new habit. “Could the length of time it takes to form a habit depend on the person, the habit, their motivation and desire for change, and their willingness to be conscious of it?” Molidor asked. Thrower” by Loren Eiseley. In the original version, the narrator walks along a beach and comes across a man throwing starfish back into the sea. When the star thrower asks the narrator if he collects starfish, the narrator responds uncomfortably, “I do not collect neither the living nor the dead. I gave it up a long time ago. Death is the only successful collector.” Luckily, after some soul-searching and reflection on humans’ relationship to other animals and the universe, the narrator finds the star thrower on the beach and tells him, “I understand. Call me another thrower.” The narrator has become a believer.

Communication 12 is 7 percent words, 38 percent voice inflection, and 55 percent nonverbal. This myth is a misinterpretation of research by Albert Mehrabian, PhD, professor emeritus of psychology, UCLA, who is a pioneer in the field of nonverbal communication. It is based on Mehrabian’s equation, which measures likeability, not communication: Total Liking = 7% Verbal Liking + 38% Vocal Liking + 55% Facial Liking The “7%-38%-55% rule” has been “This is quite a different story from what NSA members typically hear, in which the focus is on the starfish, not the thrower,” Molidor observed. “The lesson here is that a good story is not good research.” When you hear general statements, don’t take them at face value. Check out their validity. You also should not incorporate information into your presentations without doing your homework. Audiences are becoming more sophisticated so it’s important to do your research before repeating any sweeping generalizations. Be sure you can back up your statements with facts and research. Be skeptical and use your brain.

overly interpreted to apply to any communication situation, but it applies only to communications of feelings and attitudes. If a communicator is not discussing his/her feelings or attitudes, this equation is not applicable. “It’s a nice story that makes people think about how they use their voice and gestures,” Molidor said. “But don’t over generalize research.” John B. Molidor, PhD, was born in Iowa, raised in Illinois, schooled in Minnesota and educated in Michigan. He comes from a family of 10 children, 23 nieces and nephews, and 14 great nieces and nephews, and knows first-hand how to connect with other brains. Contact him at Speaker editor-in-chief Barbara Parus picked John B. Molidor’s brain for this article. She exercises her own brain by doing crossword puzzles and Sudoku. Contact her at barbara@nsaspeaker. org or (480) 968-2552. April 2011 SPEAKER | 25



26 | SPEAKER | April 2011

to speak more? speak more!


peaking more by speaking more is the strategy that can help build your speaking business beyond anything you’ve imagined. But when I started speaking professionally, I didn’t know this. Because I’ve run an awardwinning advertising agency for the past 25 years, I thought I knew how to market myself just as well as I had marketed my clients. What kind of marketing materials do you wish you had? A compelling capabilities brochure, beautiful one-sheets, and clever giveaways, perhaps? An interactive website, interesting blog, and a professionally shot video? That’s what I thought, too. I sent out materials, wrote articles, negotiated online links, and did

everything else I learned at NSA marketing workshops. I listened to Joe Calloway, CSP, CPAE, and “let it go.” I channeled Seth Godin and “became remarkable.” I followed Tom Peters and built the brand called “me.” But none of those things got me gigs. Lots of activity added up to nothing. Then, one day I was eating breakfast with Michael Gehrish, the president of Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI), and he invited me to keynote at his organization’s annual meeting. We agreed on a fee, set the date, and I blocked out the time on my schedule. Turning Point for Success The DMAI keynote was my tipping point. My speech was for the industry in which my firm does most of its work (travel, tourism and entertainment), so I

decided to attend the conference, figuring the networking opportunities would be beneficial for my ad agency. This strategy led to invitations for other travel-related events and state Governor’s conferences. I chatted with the executive director of a western state tourism organization that had invited me to speak, and she told me her association prided itself on the quality of its speakers. Many of its members were small companies that couldn’t afford to attend expensive national conferences, so she would attend those events and then invite the speakers she liked to her state. In other words, my paid speech at the national event served as a showcase for her state event. Since that time, I have tried to attend every event that invites me to speak because most good events generate three more.

April 2011 | SPEAKER | 27

To Speak More, Speak More »» Ask your bureaus to arrange conference calls with their clients. »» Try to book the opening keynote for an association organization, so you can network with potential customers who heard you on the first day. »» Take advantage of your speech by offering to stay for the whole conference and benefit from networking opportunities. Most organizations will happily cover your expenses. »» If you stay at the conference, position yourself outside the door to smaller meetings and workshops so you can meet potential clients entering and exiting the room. »» Create an attention-grabbing business card. I’m in the travel business, and my card looks like an airplane ticket. People request it so they can show it to others. »» Focus your efforts on an industry or business category in which you can be a proven guru and can solve problems in your audiences’ day-to-day businesses. »» When you reach out to potential clients, take the professional high road and send a letter than requires a postage stamp, not an email. »» It’s more important to speak more than to charge more, so adjust your rate card to get more gigs. »» Look for opportunities to turn one speech into many; for example, offer to speak to your clients’ chapters, regional offices, field offices, etc.

28 | SPEAKER | April 2011

Strength in Numbers How can you speak more by speaking more? It’s simple—speak more. A great speech is your best marketing tool and the cost-of-entry in this business. But just having a good stage act is not enough. What matters is how many people see your speech. We all know that word of mouth is the best marketing tool. You never know who’s sitting in the audience and when they’ll need a speaker or be asked to recommend a great speaker. By speaking more, you increase the chances that your name will be dropped. If you’re an established speaker, look for opportunities to turn your existing schedule into more work. After your speech, stay to network with event attendees, and watch the invitations develop. Nothing says “I’m not interested in any more work” than a speaker who parks her RollAboard next to the stage and wheels it out the door the minute her presentation ends. Multiply a single gig into several by reaching out to your audience. Create compelling materials, but don’t mail them; instead, hand them out at events. Scrupulously follow up on every interaction. Consider every speech you do as a showcase for more work.

»It becomes critical that you’re diligent about collecting business cards, keeping track of what you offer, following up with the people you meet, and making sure you honor all of the promises you toss out at networking events.

Booking Bureau Business Speaking more also works if you want to get booked by bureaus. The common anecdote is that bureaus won’t book you until you don’t need them. That is, they won’t have an interest in what you’re doing until their clients start asking for you. But there’s another way to get to bureaus— get recommended by the speakers they already represent. Speaking more means other speakers will see you, too. Mark Sanborn, CSP, CPAE, explained at the 2011 NSA Keynote Lab that the bureaus he works with often ask him to suggest speakers. He is protective of his bureau relationships, so he’s careful about his recommendations. But when he sees a great speaker on the circuit, he feels he’s doing his bureaus a favor by passing the name along.

Make Things Happen If you’re a beginning speaker still looking for your chance to get up in front of people, you can still speak more by speaking more. Get aggressive about finding chances to speak wherever you can, and lower your fee when necessary so you don’t miss your chance to get on the lectern. You can: »» Offer to speak for charity fundraisers, especially if they cater to the industry in which you are an expert.

»» Partner with successful local speakers to do an opening act for them. »» Speak at local colleges, community groups, churches and synagogues. Besides generating exposure, speaking more also gives you more stage time. As Malcolm Gladwell wrote in Outliers, true mastery only comes after 10,000 hours of concerted effort. How much time have you spent giving your talk? Speaking more by speaking more doesn’t work if you squander opportunities. Because your audience is enamored with you (thanks to your great speech), they will be that much more appreciative when you follow up. They’ll also be that much more disappointed if you don’t do what you promise. Therefore, it becomes critical that you’re diligent about collecting business cards, keeping track of what you offer, following up with the people you meet, and making sure you honor all of the promises you toss out at networking events. If you tell someone you’re going to send a copy of your audio book, do it. If you promise to e-mail the opinion paper you wrote on their industry, do that, too. Even if you only shake hands and stick their business card in your pocket, they deserve a personal thank-you letter. Once you’ve been considered for a gig, you can speak more by scheduling

a conference call with your potential clients before they book you. Let the executive director and conference manager know they’ll be in good hands if they hire you. This strategy has proven so successful that we ask our speakers bureaus to arrange conferences whenever they’re considering us for a particular gig. When we talk to potential clients, we’re more likely to hear what they need, and we can tailor our presentation to match those needs. We’re able to provide details on any relevant business or experience we’ve had that could convince the client and close the sale. Comedian and actor Steve Martin says that becoming a millionaire is simple. All you have to do is start with a million dollars. Becoming a successful speaker is simple, too. All you have to do is speak. Bruce Turkel has worked with Nike, Discovery Channel, Baptist Health, HBO, MetCare, and Miami. He has spoken at MIT, Harvard, and hundreds of conferences, has been on NPR, FOX and CNN and featured in Fast Company, The New York Times and Communications Arts. He has published three books on advertising, including his latest, Building Brand Value. Visit

April 2011 | SPEAKER | 29

relevant resources Time-saving tools and technologies

Good Health No-Brainers These days, it seems that everything is bad for your health. While there are a number of foods, exercises, technologies and supplements that remain open for debate, a few things are certain: Diet, exercise, sleep and mental stimulation are important to maintaining a healthy, happy brain and body.


foods that are good for the brain. Each day, the brain absorbs 20 grams of your daily calories and demands a constant supply of glucose, which is primarily obtained from carbohydrates. But don’t reach for a candy bar—high glucose levels can damage cells. The brain works best with about 25 grams of glucose – the amount found in a banana. Brain “superfoods” include blueberries, wild salmon, avocados, whole grains, nuts, beans, pomegranate juice, freshly brewed tea and dark chocolate. Try: Eating more frequent but smaller meals to maintain healthy glucose levels. Buy: Neuro Drinks® Neuro Drinks® provide natural ingredients and essential vitamins, minerals and botanicals in each colorful bottle. Choose from eight varieties, including NeuroSonic®, which is said to increase mental functioning, and NeuroBliss®, which helps alleviate stress and promote happiness. $36.99 for a 12-pack of 14.5 oz. bottles.

2STIMULATE your mind with brain teasers and other activities that provide variety, diversity and complexity. The human brain begins to slow down as early as age 25, but it can be improved at any age. Just as exercise increases muscle growth, working the brain causes its circuits to expand. Try: Learning to play a musical instrument, studying a new language or playing chess. Buy: Kakuzu If you enjoy Sudoku, you’ll love Kakuzu, a strategic multi-player board game that begins with all numbers covered by stones. Players draw numbers from a pouch and try to find them on the board. If the number is found, the player keeps the stone and takes another turn. If not, the next player gets to keep the stone. The object is to have the most stones at the end of the game. $29.99. 30 | SPEAKER | April 2011

3ENHANCE your memory and mental functioning by predicting the information you will need to recall and making a conscious effort to remember it. Use a memory trick to form the connection in your brain so the information can be stored and recalled quickly and accurately. Try: Associating information with images, repetition and mnemonic devices. Buy: Emotiv EPOC The Emotiv EPOC (shown at right) is a personal interface designed for human computer interaction. Using neuro-technology, the lightweight, wireless headset tunes into the brain's electric signals to detect thoughts, feelings and expressions. This breakthrough technology is being used in artistic expression, games, market research, and to create life-changing applications for disabled patients. $299.


improves circulation throughout the body, including the brain. Exercise releases stress, reduces depression and minimizes cardiovascular risk factors. Walking is especially good for the brain, because it is not overly strenuous and it clears your head by increasing blood flow and the amount of oxygen and glucose that reach your brain. Try: Exercising daily. Schedule walking breaks and take the stairs. Buy: Omron HJ-720ITC Track your steps, calories and distance with one of the most advanced pedometers on the market. The New Walking Style HJ-720ITC by Omron Healthcare is equipped with a unique, dual-axis acceleration sensor that counts step when placed horizontally or vertically, yielding an error rate of less than 1 percent. Omron Health Management Software, holder and replaceable lithium ion battery included. $59.99.


seven to nine hours per night. During sleep, and particularly during rapid eye movement (REM), the brain repairs itself and boosts the immune system while processing and consolidating information it accumulated over the day. Getting a good night’s rest has been tied to heart health, memory improvement and weight loss. Napping is another great way to restore energy. Try: Avoiding technology (cell phones and computers) and bright lights before bedtime. Buy: Zeo A revolutionary sleep device developed to help you catch some z's, Zeo is composed of a lightweight wireless headband, a bedside display, a set of online analytical tools and an e-mail-based personalized coaching program. Track your sleeping patterns and figure out your “ZQ” so you can minimize sleep deprivation and wake up feeling fresh and rested. After all, brains need their beauty sleep, too. $199299.

brain facts 10-23 Watts of power generated by the brain while awake

18 Age the human brain stops growing

2% Amount of body weight the brain accounts for

20% Amount of oxygen and blood the brain uses

4-6 Minutes the brain can survive without oxygen

70,000 Average number of thoughts humans experience each day

60% Amount of the brain made up of fat

75% Amount of the brain made up of water

Lauren Aiken is conference marketing director at the Five Star Institute, an independent service provider headquartered in Dallas, Texas, that creates innovative opportunities for education and collaboration within the mortgage industry. She loves brain teasers and needs to work on putting her beloved tech gadgets to bed early. Visit April 2011 | SPEAKER | 31

Beyond Borders Exploring cultures, countries and comfort zones

High-Risk Travel Precautions


s the business world becomes increasingly global, more speakers are booking international engagements. While travel has its perks—experiencing exciting destinations and different cultures—it also can be rife with dangers. Recently, American travelers were instructed to leave when the Egyptian Revolution broke out, with protests and violent clashes in Cairo and Alexandria. Many other countries in the Middle East and in Africa are in economic turmoil, and threats of kidnapping for ransom, terrorism and disease are growing worldwide. Before leaving the tarmac, speakers should follow these basic risk-reduction procedures when traveling to high-risk regions. • Register with the local U.S. embassy or consulate upon your arrival, and give a copy of your itinerary to an American official. • Register your travel plans with the Department of State’s free online service, so consular officers can locate you. • Contact the consulate regularly for safety updates. • Share your schedule with your home office staff so your whereabouts can be tracked easily. • Book your hotel accommodations at an establishment used by U.S. travelers. • Obtain a personal accident and medical insurance policy—some policies even cover kidnapping and ransom. Regular travel insurance policies are generally invalid in

32 | SPEAKER | April 2011

areas that the Department of State has designated as high risk. • Be aware of areas of the country that are not safe for travel. • If it’s not absolutely necessary to attend your speaking engagement in person, consider alternative methods, such as Webinars and Skype. • Research security issues. Some countries may be prone to roadside bombings; others pickpockets. It is important to learn what to look out for when you arrive. Check out the Department of State’s fact sheets, which include information on crime, security conditions, and areas of instability for every country. For breaking news that can affect your trip, check the department’s travel warnings.

Know the Customs Stay safe on foreign soil by familiarizing yourself with local customs. For example, when in Dubai, don’t make appointments with local businessmen on Fridays, the Muslim day of prayer and rest. If you’re invited to someone’s home in Shanghai, make sure to bring a gift, and remove your shoes upon entering. Visit websites, such as Economist. com’s Cities Guide and Lonely Planet, for tips on local etiquette. And be sure to read Kiss, Bow, or Shake Hands: The Bestselling Guide to Doing Business in More than 60 Countries, by Terri Morrison and Wayne A.Conway. Visit Speaker editor-in-chief Barbara Parus is going to

Steer Clear

play it safe and vacation in Southern California.

Many Americans crossed Mexico off their vacation lists last year. You also should avoid nonessential travel to: Afghanistan Guatemala Haiti Honduras Iran Iraq Mali Nigeria North Korea Pakistan The Phillipines Somalia South Africa Sudan Thailand Vietnam Yemen

Contact her at barbara@ or (480) 968-2552.

The NSA Foundation Can Assist Your Favorite Charity The Art Berg Grant - $2,000 NSA members make the world a better place through charitable involvement. If you’re an active volunteer, your charitable organization could benefit from a grant to support a technology- or communications-related project. The late Art Berg, CSP, CPAE, was passionate about technology’s ability to facilitate communication. The Art Berg Fund was established to support the innovative use of technology to benefit 501(c)(3) not-for-profit groups. Application deadline: April 1, 2011


Students for NSA Scholarships

Scholarship Grant - $5,000 Do you know a student who has a burning desire to become a professional speaker? He or she may be eligible for an NSA Foundation scholarship. The Foundation awards four scholarships annually to full-time college junior, senior and graduate students at an accredited university. Application deadline: June 1, 2011

For more information on NSA Foundation grants and scholarships visit or call Mandy Schulze at (480) 264-4297.

what would you do? Casting a reality check on real-world conundrums

Guilt by Association


To suspect one is guilty is not proof enough of wrongdoing. If one suspects and it goes against one’s moral code, then the speaker has an obligation to ask the probing questions to either prove or disprove the suspicion. Only then can one make the decision. —Frank Bucaro, CSP, CPAE Bartlett, Ill.

An organization that you suspect is guilty of questionable (albeit not illegal) business practices wants to book you for a full-fee

Innocent until proven guilty is my gut instinct. I would agree to hold the date and begin my pre-program assessment to make sure I am a good fit for this engagement. If I discovered any questionable business practices, I would ask for an explanation. If I felt the engagement would compromise my integrity, I would respectfully decline. —Merit Gest Aurora, Colo.

speaking engagement. You could really use

—John Crudele, CSP Savage, Minn.

the money. Do you accept the booking? 1. Do your due diligence. Research the organization via the internet, ask NSA colleagues (a good reason to belong to NSA), and contact a sampling of their clients. Often, rumors are unfounded. 2. If you discover illegal activities, then stay away. Sometimes, suppliers and partners become associated with illegal activities by the press or the law. 3. If the organization’s activities are unethical, then you have to look in the mirror. There are many activities that some people consider unethical, but others don’t. Remember, ethics is a code of behavior which is acceptable to a culture, organization or individual. —Joseph Sherren, CSP, HoF Cape Traverse, PEI, Canada

What Would You Do? is a regular column that presents a real-life dilemma faced by professional speakers. NSA members are encouraged to submit a dilemma for possible discussion in this column. Please submit dilemmas to NSA reserves the right to edit submissions for length and style. All dilemmas will be anonymously attributed. Opinions expressed are those of the individual respondents, not NSA.

34 | SPEAKER | April 2011

Based on your personal ethics, you may not accept the booking. On the other hand, if you believe in your content and your ability to advise and influence an organization, your consultation, coaching and presentation could make a positive contribution to its decisions going forward.

I could not work for any organization that conflicts with my major beliefs. I know I will not be able to do my best and I will question whether I helped them do something that I would not agree with. And trust me, there have been many days when I really needed the money.” —Joanne Dennison, CMP, MSEd Morgantown, WV

There are a number of questions I would have to answer: What are the questionable practices? Are those practices occurring in the portion of the organization where I am presenting? Will I be asked to speak about the importance of integrity in business? Do the questionable practices conflict with my personal values? Is the organization asking me to support its practices? At the end of the day, we need to decide if a client is a good fit for our message and our values. —Randy Pennington, CSP, CPAE Addison, Texas

Turning Point A career-changing moment or experience

Leverage Relationships for International Growth


id you sell your software in Hong Kong?” my assistant asked, as she pulled the CD from the Fed Express envelope. “Not that I know of.” My tone was rather sarcastic, knowing how often authors “get published” in foreign countries without their knowledge because of copyright violations. “Well, this sure looks like your ModelOffice CD. Maybe they sold rights there and forgot to tell you. Oh, wait. There’s a note attached.” She read the Post-It note aloud: “Thought you’d like to know that I just bought this on the streets of Hong Kong for $3. Sorry about this. I was in your audience last year at SHRM.” I didn’t recognize the signature. Upon closer examination of the accompanying brochure, it soon became apparent that a knockoff of my CD that sold for $49 at Best Buy and Office Depot was indeed selling for $3 half way around the world.” And I’d found out quite by accident. This incident once again reinforced the value of relationships—particularly relationships speakers can leverage when working beyond borders. All I had to do was hand over the contact information to my producer to prosecute. Relationships have left a rewarding, if surprising, path in my career. Take these

examples: Dr. Palan was in my audience in the early l990s, and invited me to tour Malaysia and speak to key clients there. Those early trips gave me international experience, useful in my area of expertise (communication) when I’m often asked how writing and speaking principles vary from culture to culture. Then, Andre Winninga, CEO of Hospitality Solutions, visited my trade-

of the prestige of the international conference and the relationships of high-profile committee members, the conference and I, as keynoter, received press coverage all over South America—along with my book titles. AMR in the United States asked my company to develop a custom training program for its internal trainers to present to foreign airline personnel. We stayed in touch with the client. Ten years later, the husband of one of those trainers, the CEO of a large consulting company in Kuwait, asked us to send trainers to Kuwait for an eight-day assignment—and another the following year. Relationships and business have also jumped tracks. By that, I mean that I started the relationship offering a training program, which led to a keynote, which led to coaching an executive, which led to a large consulting project, which rolled back into training offered by my consultants, which spun off another few keynotes. Leveraging relationships: What would I ever do without friends and colleagues to help? Dianna Booher, MA, CSP, CPAE,

show booth in the United States and asked about licensing some of my programs for Europe. That led to trips to other countries to train instructors. Dr. Luiz Leite had been in my ASTD audiences several times in the United States. When he returned to Brazil and needed a keynoter for the International Conarh Conference, he called. Because

works with organizations to increase productivity and improve effectiveness through better communication: oral, written, interpersonal and cross-functional. She’s the author of 45 books, published in 23 countries, in 18 languages. Her latest are The Voice of Authority and Booher’s Rules of Grammar. Visit April 2011 | SPEAKER | 35

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PASS IT ON! Help us build our NSA community and increase awareness of the speaking profession! By passing on an issue of Speaker magazine, you are joining over 1,000 NSA members who are getting the word out about NSA. After you have finished reading this issue of Speaker magazine, simply pass it on to someone who might be interested in learning more about NSA. Or leave the information in a public place for someone else to discover; for example, on an airplane, at your doctor’s office or in a beauty salon. All editions of Speaker magazine are available in digital format at So, what are you waiting for? Pass It On!

Thank you for helping NSA expand its reach. Questions? Please contact our offices at (480)968-2552 or email April 2011 | SPEAKER | 37

Humor Me Finding the funny in a speaker’s life

Those Were the Days


t was 1975, NSA’s first convention at Phoenix’s Camelback Inn. Sixty-two attendees were making their way out of a cowboy steakhouse after a fabulous dinner. I can still see NSA founder Cavett Robert, CSP, CPAE, running down the hill waving the restaurant bill in the air and yelling, “It’s Dutch, it’s Dutch…it’s supposed to be Dutch!” Shortly after that, I was hired as NSA’s first executive vice president to keep tabs on everything at NSA. For our second convention, we doubled the attendance at 150. The program featured the legendary Dr. Charles Jarvis, a dentist from San Marcos, Texas. It took Bob Bale, CPAE, a full 19 minutes to introduce him. Some things never change with speakers! You can listen to Dr. Jarvis’s presentation at

“I can still see NSA founder Cavett Robert, CSP, CPAE, running down the hill waving the restaurant bill in the air and yelling, “It’s Dutch, it’s Dutch … it’s supposed to be Dutch!” In 1977, we were 300 strong at NSA’s third convention at the Arizona Biltmore Hotel. The master of ceremonies, Robert Henry, CSP, CPAE, stole the show with his entertaining southern drawl and humor. Dick Semann, CPAE, led the invocation quoting his touching signature poem, which earned him a standing ovation.

38 | SPEAKER | April 2011

By the time the featured banquet speaker was introduced, everyone was primed for more humor. Unfortunately, the speaker was not. Although he had lofty credentials, it was obvious this firsttime NSA speaker couldn’t fill the bill. He quietly checked out of the hotel at 6 a.m. the next day—never to be seen again at NSA. The 1978 convention was at the Galt House Hotel in Louisville, Ky. The first morning featured a program on the “Belle of Louisville” paddlewheel. We checked out the sound system in dry dock beforehand and it worked perfectly. But once everyone boarded the “Belle,” the sound of the engine, paddlewheel and other noises almost drowned out our

humorous speaker. But even with poor sound, Roy Hatten, CSP, CPAE, gave a rousing speech. The bloody Marys may have helped, too! The real fun began with the opening luncheon speaker, Zig Ziglar, CPAE, and the sudden realization that we’d run out of seats. Only 150 attendees registered in advance, but 240 people showed up. The hotel chef informed NSA president Ira Hayes, CPAE, about the shortage of seats, spoons and forks. In the spirit of NSA in those days, no one cared. Past-president Joe Larson, CSP, instructed audience members to take their plates and silverware to the back of the room when they finished eating. There, the kitchen staff rushed the items through the dishwasher for the next group. The people who were waiting were invited to take a walk while being assured that Zig would begin his speech at the promised time. Fortunately, the chef had plenty of food on hand. As in the days of yore, today’s speakers should be prepared for the unexpected and always be of good cheer. You never know when you’ll need to share a fork or hear someone running after you yelling, “Dutch! It’s supposed to be Dutch.” Bill Johnson, CSP, CPAE, a 1974 charter member of NSA and its first executive vice president, recorded NSA’s first eight conventions. Johnson is a life member of NSA and NSA-AZ, and has spoken in 36 states and seven foreign venues. Contact him at or visit

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