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platform mechanics

D E C E M B E R 2010

how to Say “Thank You” PA G E 34

Tune up Your Skills



Quick, Easy and Simple

What Makes You Unique? NSA Foundation Scholarship Winners

Les Brown

Motivating People to Change Their Lives

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

Create new opportunities Reason #199 to use eSpeakers

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CLIENTS KNOWING YOU’RE IN TOWN = MORE BOOKINGS Letting current and past clients know when you’ll be in town is a powerful marketing tool. SpeakerTRACK connects your travel schedule to your email list for powerful, automated marketing.

SpeakerTRACK email marketing: Sends past and potential clients a note whenever you travel to their area. Gives potential customers a chance to preview your presentation and see you interact with your audience. Saves customers on travel expenses by booking you when you’re already in the area. Keeps you fresh in your customers’ minds—and that’s great marketing! Use eSpeakers to create opportunties every time you travel! Upgrade now to eSpeakers PLUS for only $199 USD the first yea year. (normally $439 - you save 45%!) Use promo code “NOPP” during the upgrade to receive discount pricing.

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D E C E M B E R 2010


All Aboard the Les Express

Les Brown puts speakers on the fast track to motivating and transforming their audiences. By Jake Poinier



Check Under the Hood Tune up your performance by

Les Brown, motivational speaker and author

working on four platform skills. By Mark Sanborn, CSP, CPAE

Just My Health 20 It’s Working harder and longer needn’t harm your health. By Ted Rogers Dig Deep to Stand Out 24 Dig deep to differentiate your speaking business. By Michel Neray

28 2010 NSA Foundation Scholarship Winners By Lauren Aiken 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 the people who hire us

10 It’s Your Business Advice for enterprising speakers

D EPARTMEN TS 34 Relevant Resources Time-saving tools and technologies

36 Beyond Borders Exploring cultures, countries and comfort zones

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

39 Turning Point

4 News from Headquarters

A career-changing moment or experience

40 Advertising Index 41 Calendar of Events

42 Humor Me Quips, tips and parting shots 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. December 2010 | 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

2011 NSA Keynote Lab

Founder Cavett Robert, CSP, CPAE

Whether you want to do more keynotes or do them better, you’ll walk away from the 2011 NSA Keynote Lab with more focus and better delivery with greater impact, so you can get more bookings and referrals. Join us at MEET Las Vegas in Las Vegas, Nev., Jan. 12-13. Only 120 spaces are available, so register now at Save $50 by registering on or before Dec. 13!

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

2011 NSA Winter UNconference

This conference is going to be an experience unlike any meeting you’ve ever attended. Through formal and informal learning opportunities, you’ll learn strategies to grow your business, innovate, and create new business opportunities to take you into the future. Mark your calendar to attend the event at the new Loews Atlanta Hotel in Atlanta, Ga., Feb. 18-20. Register now at

Registration Grants Available

In Memoriam

NSA’s grant program assists members who cannot afford the full cost of registration to attend an NSA educational meeting. Five registration grants are available for the 2011 Winter UNconference. Visit for guidelines, grant details and to fill out an application. Application deadline: Jan. 14

Keith Harrell, CPAE, 54, of Scottsdale, Ariz., died Oct. 15 after a battle with spinal cancer. Harrell was a top sales and training instructor for IBM before launching a successful career as a motivational speaker with over 100 corporate clients. The 6-foot-7 former Seattle University basketball star and two-time captain was nicknamed “Silk” for his fluid moves on the court.

Do You Have What it Takes? Bill Bachrach, CSP, CPAE, will present a Webinar on the fundamentals required to succeed as a professional speaker. When: Dec. 6, 1-2 p.m. EDT. Where: Your desktop. Register at

CSP Application Deadline Correction In his article, “Looking for Greener Pastures” (November issue, page 21), Matthias Gelber’s email address should read:

CSP applications must be received at NSA headquarters on or before Jan. 12, 2011, not postmarked on Jan. 12. For information, visit or call (480) 968-2552.

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 Turn Ideas into Income: Lynne Waymon with Sam Horn Leading-Edge Tech Tips: Terry Brock, CSP, CPAE, with Lethia Owens Feature Interview: Bill Cates, CSP, CPAE, with Dan Sullivan 4 | SPEAKER | December 2010

How the Best Get Better: Willie Jolley, CSP, CPAE Coaches Corner: Suzi Pomerantz, MT, MCC Million-Dollar Idea: Chad Hymas 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 who are facing health crises or natural disaster emergencies • Grants to NSA members who need help with their dues or meeting registration fees • Scholarships for speech/communications 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, Scott McKain, CSP, CPAE 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 Ron Karr, CSP 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 4. 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.

Jimm RobeRts / oRlando

realit y check Putting a fine point on the speaking industry

An UNbelievable Learning Experience


o you want to ramp up your speaking business with more bookings and higher fees? Build your reputation as a thought leader on your topic? Learn how to implement the latest in Internet marketing and social media to attract new clients? Of course, you do! The 2011 NSA Winter UNconference is designed for working speakers who are hungry for fresh concepts! Not your ordinary, run-of-the-mill conference, this UNevent will relate brand new strategies in unique ways to help speakers grow their business and create opportunities for future success.

The Learning’s in Your Hands Six speakers will pitch their sessions to attendees, who will vote on two that they want to hear live at the UNconference and four via Webinars after the event. Be sure to cast your vote! You also can customize your onsite education with a full-day interactive session on thought leadership or social media, which are two essential strategies for building your business.

Social Media Social media continues to play an increasing role in attracting and retaining clients. Make sure you’re getting up to speed on this valuable marketing tool. A full day of social media will be divided into topics ranging from Twitter platforms to LinkedIn strategies. Select the learning level that’s right for you: beginner or intermediate/advanced. Then, round out your UNconference experience by selecting the in-depth mega sessions or shorter concurrent sessions that best meet your learning objectives. All sessions are geared for CSP-level learning and facilitated by thought leaders in their area of expertise. But, everyone can benefit from informal, unscripted sessions where open discussions, not presentations, are critical for learning.

Tech-Know Although technology will not be the focus of the learning sessions, it will connect onsite attendees with remote attendees via streaming video, Skype and other resources. These are the same technologies that can be incorporated immediately into your own business.

save the date! 2011 NSA Winter UNconference February18-20, 2011 Loews Atlanta Hotel, Atlanta, Ga. Special $135 room rate available through January 17, 2011. For reservations, call (866)-563-9792 and mention “National Speakers Association.”

KiA (Know-it-All) Bar: Need advice on your Facebook page or creating a Twitter hashtag? Get tips and handson training from experts on a variety of topics in a small group setting. Before the UNconference begins, connect with other attendees on Facebook, or attend any or all of five virtual sessions that will prepare you for this experience. Refer to the conference promo brochure for further details. You may have seen commercials for “The Event,” but this UNevent is one you should not miss. Register today at www. UNconference co-chairs:

Thought Leadership

So, What Else Is New?

Technology-loving Gina Schreck,

The underlying theme of the conference is thought leadership, a revolutionary idea that can supercharge your business. Learn how to become a leader by actively promoting and discussing your topic in an experienced and informed manner, thereby giving you a hedge on your competition. Note: This track requires advance sign up and is limited to 100 attendees, with preference given to CSPs.

The UNconference is filled with exciting new networking and learning opportunities. Get acquainted with these terms, which may look UNfamiliar to you: HALL-CON: Hallway conversations are an NSA tradition for exchanging information on topics relevant to speakers. But, this time, we’re going to conference in experts around the globe via Skype.

CSP, has partnered with

6 | SPEAKER | December 2010

productivity expert and thought leader Neen James, CSP, to create an UNconference atmosphere that’s big on learning, results and fun. Their powerful UNteam has dedicated 10 months to assembling a line-up of speakers that will challenge you to speak more and earn more.

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eating you alive? If you are like most small business owners, you’re just trying to stay one step ahead of the demands of your business before it entirely devours you. You love what you do, but you’re running so fast you don’t get to enjoy the other sweet things in life. Infusionsoft can help. Infusionsoft’s marketing automation software has helped thousands of overwhelmed business owners reclaim their lives while growing their profits. We can help you too. Our powerful growth suite gives you the tools to systemize and simplify your business to:

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

Happy Endings


child’s world of makebelieve can help adults deal with the harsh realties in today’s world. Fairies, for example, instill hope and inspiration, and remind people—including speakers—they have the power to make a difference. Fantasy-theme illustrator and film producer Robert Gould represents faerie artists, and produces Faerieworld events, which attract more than 30,000 attendees annually. Here, Judi Moreo, CSP, chats with Gould about selecting speakers for magical results.

Judi Moreo: How do you select speakers? Robert Gould: We book guest speakers, artists, musicians and performers whose work complements the theme of each event.  We seek out artists who are professional, cooperative, accountable, and deliver beyond expectations. They must be team players who accept they are part of a total experience and not the sole focus.

Do you book speakers and artists more than once?   There are certain iconic places, people and experiences that our guests want to revisit. Audiences are excited and comforted when they know what to expect.

What qualities should a speaker possess? Speakers must have unconditional passion and commitment to excellence. When you hear a speaker like Tony Robbins say “live with passion,” it is ubiquitous advice that continues to be true. The missing component often is 8 | SPEAKER | December 2010

physically embodying that quality and having the fortitude to stick to it.

How can speakers manifest their visions? There are three essential qualities to manifestation: to be in service, surrender, and sacrifice to your vision. Speakers should have the courage to release all expectations, be willing to give up things in their lives in order to deliver their message, and do so without any guarantee that they will be rewarded for their actions. I have never talked to a successful person whose success was based solely on strategy. Be adventurous and open to what the universe has in store for you, not what you want the universe to deliver to you.  

from doing a 15-minute act to full show: “Study your audience. Understand them. Your audience will tell you everything you need to know.  Learn from the people you serve. Give to your audience unconditionally … whether it’s four people or 40,000.”

Are live performances still relevant in today’s high-tech world?

For more than 30 years, Robert

Yes, people still want genuine contact with other people, and hunger to share experiences. The more we move through the world with devices in our hands and filter our lives through pixels, the more we will feel alone and hollow.

the development, creation and

Gould has been involved with production of art and story for all media. In 1999, Gould created Imaginosis, a transmedia arts company that represents visual artists and writers, and Imaginosis Publishing. He also founded Faerieworlds, and is a producer of the

How do you generate excitement with social media? If you have a compelling, inspirational and insightful story, social media can introduce people to that experience. Look at Twitter. People find value and make a choice to follow other people based on 140 characters. It’s a good place for speakers to test a story’s appeal.

Faerieworlds Festival, an annual musical and theatrical event. Visit Judi Moreo, CSP, is an awardwinning speaker, president of Turning Point International, and the author of nine books, including You Are More Than Enough: Every Woman’s Guide to Purpose, Passion, and Power, and its companion,

How can a speaker be successful?

Achievement Journal. She is the current

The magician Siegfried offered this great advice to Lance Burton when Lance went

president of the NSA-LV chapter. Visit

It’s your business Advice for enterprising speakers

Old Ideas Spur New Bookings


oday, clients demand instant access to information, streaming video and proof of a speaker’s value, so they can make an immediate decision about an event that is happening next week! But, even in a high-tech environment, many “old school” techniques can help speakers stay booked. Keynote presentations comprise 90 percent of my speaking business. I’m not a trainer or coach. I’m the guy who combines action-oriented content with dynamic and exciting delivery. I have a full calendar and a steady stream of client leads. I credit my success to the following:

Deliver Outstanding Presentations When you take the stage, you must own your subject and demonstrate your expertise as a performer. Most speakers can improve dramatically in this area. My presentation is my No. 1 marketing tool. People who see me, book me. I’m not cheap, but I deliver a great value and consistently exceed my clients’ expectations. Are you actively elevating your presentation and performance skills?

Create Video Content Video of your presentations will make or break your booking efforts. They convey your value and audience impact to potential clients who haven’t seen your program. This isn’t something you “get right and leave alone.” Always work on your next preview video.

Grow Organically Every presentation should lead to at least one other presentation. If it doesn’t, 10 | SPEAKER | December 2010

then you may need to work on what you are offering, and what you are delivering. What do your clients want? Ask your clients what programs and products they need, and deliver them! Actively solicit and pursue referral and repeat business. Regularly follow up with past clients to remind them you are still doing great things. Dialing the telephone is still the best approach for me. Busy clients may not think of you often—it’s your job to contact them.

Diversify Your Client Base Broaden your efforts to reach many types of clients. This strategy will help you hedge against industry-specific downturns or seasonal markets. If your niche is too narrow, your success is at the mercy of uncontrollable events and perceptions. That’s why it is critical to develop business in different markets and sectors, including: • A variety of industries • Private sector and public sector (This year, I booked a series of 32 dates in 32 states with one governmental contract.) • Bureau business and direct marketing to clients • Educational institutions and corporate business • Associations that offer huge opportunities for spin-off dates • Younger audiences, as well as adults.

and circumstances. If you are perceived as offering something “old or outdated,” opportunities will evaporate. So, you need to constantly evolve your message and improve your performance with every presentation. Keep yourself off balance and edgy by learning new things and sharing them in your programs. It is your duty to your client to deliver content and be great on stage. Expand your offerings and your client base. Stay in touch with people who already know and love you. And continue to learn and evolve what you bring to your client’s table. That’s a sure-fire blueprint for oldschool success.

Dan Thurmon, CSP, has been an NSA member since 1994. He

Keep Your Message Relevant

has authored two books and

My book, Off Balance On Purpose, was well timed for the economic downturn. But it is up to me (and those who sell me) to demonstrate the connection between my message and real-time needs

delivered thousands of presentations worldwide. His most memorable and meaningful programs, however, were for U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. Visit

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12 | SPEAKER | November 2010

ALL ABOARD By Jake Poinier

Les Brown motivates people to greatness, and puts new speakers on the fast track to transforming their own audiences.


ou don’t hear Les Brown’s laugh— you feel it through your muscles and bones like there’s a freight train passing by. “Everyone’s born the same way: dumb, naked and speechless,” he says, punctuating the sentence with his trademark rumble of laughter. “No one comes in with anything.” Brown knows this better than most, having been born into poverty and adopted at six weeks (along with his twin brother, Wesley) by Mamie Brown, a 38-year-old single woman who was a cafeteria cook and domestic worker in a low-income section of Miami. Growing up under the care of the woman he calls “Mama,” Les was inspired to overcome his circumstances. He worked his way from radio DJ and community activist during his late teens and early 20s, to a career in politics and broadcast TV, to several best-selling books and a National Speakers Association CPAE Hall of Fame honor. Brown vividly remembers his first formal speaking engagement in 1974 at East High School in Columbus, Ohio. “The goal was to motivate these kids to get a vision of themselves in the future, and to do the things they needed to do to make their future bright and exciting,” he says. “I quickly realized that if you can hold

Brown’s purpose is changing lives.

young peoples’ attention, you’ve got something going on. It’s a piece of work to do that!” Along with his presentations to school audiences and kids in juvenile detention centers, Brown also discovered an early passion for training new speakers. “I used to assist my high school drama and speech instructor, and I was so fascinated with him that I wanted to help people discover their power voice,” he says. “It was a way to change the way students thought, a way to touch their hearts and help them achieve academic excellence.” After developing a reputation as a speaker and a speech coach, Brown soon began to receive paid invites from churches and organizations. Yet his guiding principle always remained the desire to change lives. “Believe it or December 2010 | SPEAKER | 13

Brown is committed to making a deeper impact on his audiences.

not, just two months ago, I came to the realization of why so many of my colleagues have made millions more than I have,” he says. “They became involved to earn money. I started out volunteering, and I wanted to know this: Is it possible for people who don’t have a sense of who they are, who were raised in an impoverished environment, to get a vision of themselves beyond their mental conditioning and circumstances? Can they reinvent themselves and carve out a life they can be proud of?” 14 | SPEAKER | December 2010

Distract, Dispute and Inspire The challenge drove Brown to study a wide range of books, including The Power of Your Subconscious Mind by Joseph Murphy, Psycho-Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz, The Secret of the Ages by Robert Collier, and Learned Optimism by Martin Seligman, among countless others. “I became a student of learning how people think,” he says. “If you have an audience of 500, you have 500 individual stories. You have to distract them from

listening to their own stories by delivering a story that’s strategic, experiential and designed to empower them to dispute, in the course of your presentation, whatever reasons they have for being stuck— whether it’s not making enough sales or not being as productive as they’d like to be. And then you have to inspire them to become, as Mother Teresa would say, a pencil in the hand of God so they can start writing a new chapter in their lives.” Conversely, Brown says, you can’t engage them by waging a logical argument. “You don’t get in life what you want; you get what you are,” he says. “And the world doesn’t consist of ‘haves’ and ‘have nots,’ it’s the ‘wills’ and ‘will nots.’ Our goal as speakers is to distract people from their cynicism with a strategic message at a significant emotional event. If information alone could change people, everyone would be skinny, rich and happy!” A traditional content-driven presentation is doomed to be 95 percent forgotten the next day, in Brown’s view—which is why he emphasizes to his protégés that you should never let what you want to say get in the way of what the audience needs to hear. “If, in the course of a presentation, you don’t transform their thinking or touch their hearts, you can’t inspire them to engage in a different way of behaving,” he says. “As far as I’m concerned, that only amounts to cheap entertainment. And that’s why so many talented and gifted speakers never show up on the radar, not because they don’t have the ability, but because impact equals income.” Brown’s organizational methodology also includes exposing his speaking students to wider audiences, even the opportunity to speak on stage with him around the world to help build their own brands. True to form, Brown continues to hone his own expertise and influence. He has two books coming out, Up Thoughts in

Les’s Legacy Stage presence and oratory skill aren’t genetic, but Brown beams with pride that his son, John Leslie Brown, and daughter, Ona Brown, have gone through the Les Brown Enterprises training in strategic experiential storytelling and are successful speakers in their own right. “They can go toeto-toe with me,” he says. “Fortunately, my daughter is also a gifted speech coach, so she helps me with that. And my son has taken my words and converted it to positive rap, speaking the language of young people with music and motivational messages. He says, ‘If a young person can turn on the radio and learn how to be a thug, they should also be able to turn it on and become a thinker.’”

You don’t get in life what you want; you get what you are. 10,000 Voices of Hope

40 years, and retiring are gone. “If you Brown cites a statistic that corporadon’t teach people how to plug into the tions spend about $58 billion a year on economy, they’re not going to starve mindset transformation —and governto death, they’ll become entrepreneurs ments spend nothing. Taking matters without morals,” Brown says. into his own hands, the communityFinally, the Center’s third goal is to minded Brown’s newest project is the transform today’s culture of entertainment Greatness Center (thegreatnesscenter. into a culture of achievement — which net), which seeks to train and develop Brown admits is a tall order in a society “10,000 voices of hope” in the next five where more people voted for American years. “Last month, 281 people were Idol than president of the United States shot in Chicago, and 254 kids were However, he is more than up to the killed last year,” he says. “That’s how challenge. “In less than 5 years, these people live their lives, because of the 10,000 voices will be delivering a strastories they believe about themselves.” tegic, experiential storytelling message,” The Greatness Center has three spehe says. “It’s outside the Republicans and Democrats, outside cific goals, the first of which is to transthe churches. What we’re doing is empowerform the mindset of Chicagoans (and ing everyday people who later, other commuhave experiences, knowlnities around the edge, skills, wisdom and In addition to commucountry) through a passion for people and nity groups, chambers of a movement of how they can make a commerce, sororities and framentors and coaches. mark and leave a legacy, ternities, Brown is encouraging “When there’s hope transform peoples lives, his friends and colleagues transform a commuin the future, there’s in the NSA to participate power in the present. nity from the inside out. in the Greatness Center Today, people Because of our commiteffort. To register, please visit turn on each other ment and the speaking of instead of toward our words, we can speak each other. Every life into them and they time unemployment become assets rather than goes up a percent, liability. There’s an old women are battered, saying, if there’s no enemy domestic violence within, the enemy outside increases, children can do us no harm.” are abused—these 10,000 messengers will transform the collective thinking.” Contributing writer Jake The second goal is to give people Poinier hasn’t been a DJ, ways to increase their skill sets, reinventelected official or motivational ing themselves so they can navigate the speaker, but he loves to laugh. new economy—since the days of going He blogs regularly at to college, getting a job, working for

Add Your Voice to Greatness

Down Times and Shoot for the Moon —Even If You Miss It, You Will Land Among the Stars—a quote Norman Vincent Peale helped Brown make famous. “I don’t believe I’ve done my best work yet,” Brown says. “There’s still more in me as a speaker, so I’m challenging myself to grow and develop to make a deeper impact with audiences.” Even having achieved elite speaking status, he works regularly with Mike Williams of Mike Williams Solutions on his speaking mindset and skill set.

December 2010 | SPEAKER | 15

16 | SPEAKER | December 2010



Tune up your performance by working on four platform skills


ecently, I was among 3,000 people listening intently to a speaker deliver her message. I thought the speaker was just OK, but I was in a small minority. She was a hit. The

audience listened, laughed, and bought lots of her books. The experience reminded me of how much latitude there is for speaking style in our profession. We can be grateful for the diversity of speakers, messages and styles that clients will pay to hear. Yet, despite the vast differences between that speaker, you and me, we all succeed or fail on stage for the same reasons. Underneath it all? Platform mechanics. Regardless of our different backgrounds, experiences, ideas and messages, all speakers can use the same basic platform skills to achieve success. These building blocks are employed many different ways to convey many different messages, but the skills are the same. December 2010 | SPEAKER | 17

Three Ingredients, Four Skills


ow do platform mechanics fit into the bigger picture of what we do? What you say is your message, and that includes content (ideas, stories/illustrations, statistics, etc.) and structure (outline and order). What you do to communicate your message requires platform mechanics or skills. Those are the tools you use to communicate your message and your characteristics. How you use those tools is your style. Your style should be unique to you, and is what sets you apart from other speakers. Success—for the audience and ultimately your speaking career—depends on how those three ingredients work together. There are many platform skills, including movement, eye contact, voice and timing, but this article focuses on four that are central to success.

Ahead of Attention We live in an attention-deficient world. You can safely assume that most of your audience attendees have things on their minds other than your intriguing ideas. Before you can attract and keep their attention, you’ve got to break preoccupation. Everyone in the audience is constantly barraged by demands for their attention, including non-stop messaging, changing images and auditory stimulation. Research suggests that attention spans continue to decrease as a result of television, the Internet and other technology. Holding an audience’s attention may be challenging, but getting it in the first place is critical. Breaking preoccupation, however, can’t be done just by being interesting; effective speakers are engaging. They involve the audience by providing compelling reasons to listen, and appealing to as many of the senses as possible. This doesn’t necessarily require a default to PowerPoint® or video. A skilled speaker can create rich imagery using words alone. 18 | SPEAKER | December 2010

The key intent is to replace whatever preoccupations exist in the minds of audience attendees with a willingness to consider what you’re saying. This can be done by asking a truly relevant (and not mindlessly simple) question, making a compelling benefit statement that appeals to hopes and fears, and being so intriguing that you trump the other less interesting things the audience is thinking about.

Speakers who want to improve shouldn’t look for best practices— they should search out better practices. Tales Well Told All of life is story driven. Your success on the platform is determined by your ability to intertwine your story with the stories of those in your audience. Stories are primary to how we learn, and they are critical to retention. In his book What Americans Really Want, Dr. Frank Luntz points out that sitcoms fail when they don’t mirror the viewing audience. People like to look in the mirror and see something of themselves in characters and situations. The best story isn’t my story or your story; the best story is our story. Storytelling done right engages people because they recognize themselves within: something that happened to them or someone they know. Stories are also the coat pegs of the mind. They are where people hang the ideas you offer. They add the emotional impact that is usually missing in facts

and figures. And that’s why Dr. Peale used stories and why great communicators are masters at storytelling.

Language of Love Language can be thought of as the software of the mind. The choice and combination of words is powerful. A message can be communicated in many different ways, but how one uses language is often the difference between a mediocre and a memorable presentation. Exceptional platform speakers don’t just love language; they love what it can do for their audiences. Language isn’t about impressing the audience with how much you know, but influencing attendees to be better at what they think and do. Good use of language is the sweet spot between how the speaker likes to use words and how the audience is most likely to benefit from those words. It’s generally pompous—and often ineffective—to use words that are over the listeners’ heads. At the same time, there is a benefit in assuming the audience is up for the challenge of a few words not always used in daily conversation.

What Goes Unsaid The judicious use of silence is a powerful platform skill. Pauses are often overlooked as we think about platform mechanics, because they are spaces—and most of us want to cram as much as we can into every moment of a presentation.

Why is a pause so effective? • It gives the listener time to think. • It allows for a previously stated idea to sink in. • It prepares the listener for what is about to be said next. • It telegraphs that the next idea is more important or profound than others. • It makes room for agreement or disagreement in the mind of the listener. Executed poorly, a pause can appear to be indecision, lack of preparation or mental paralysis. Executed well, few techniques in the toolbox of platform skills are as simultaneously subtle and powerful as a pause.

Putting It All Together There are technically competent speakers who don’t make obvious mistakes, and yet their performance falls flat. Why is that? Because they think they are doing it all right and still get it wrong. For example, auto mechanics have access to the same tools, but like speakers, some are better than others. The key is in how they use the tools. Mastery is in the hands of the mechanic, not the wrench or screwdriver. And so is it for speakers. Novice speakers can do everything right and not succeed. Old pros can do something that really worked, but in the hands of someone else, it would have killed the performance. (The corollary to this is that a speaker can do much wrong and still get it right.)

In the same vein, really good mechanics are transparent. They work together in such a way that the audience doesn’t notice the particular skill but the sum result. When an audience member spots something a speaker is doing, it is probably gimmicky or not being done well. Speakers who want to improve shouldn’t look for best practices— they should search out better practices. Today’s best practice is at risk of being next week’s second-best practice. While the fundamentals may change little and slowly, the ways those building blocks are employed are constantly changing. Don’t be content with what used to work. Finally, recognize that good technique can save the day. Renowned speech coach Ron Arden often talks about how the best Hollywood actors weren’t always passionate. Some days they were sick, hung-over or depressed, yet they managed to perform extraordinarily well. How did they do it? Technique. When all else fails, knowing how to create the perception of energy or passion is every bit as important as possessing it. Mark Sanborn, CSP, CPAE, is on the faculty of the Keynote Lab, which will be held in Las Vegas, Jan. 12-13. He is president of Sanborn & Associates, an idea studio dedicated to developing leaders in business and life. He is an international best-selling author and noted authority on leadership, team building, customer service and change. Visit


Spark Plugs

Get ideas. Become a student of all aspects of speaking, but focus on platform mechanics. As you watch others present—professional or amateur—pay attention to what worked, what didn’t work and what could have gone better. Your goal in watching other speakers isn’t to imitate their techniques, but to use their performance, good or bad, to stimulate your thinking. Get shots. Watching yourself on video can be agonizing, but it is probably the quickest and most powerful way to improve your platform skills. As you watch, ask yourself: • What should I keep doing or do more that works? • What should I improve on so that it works better? • What should I do less? • What should I stop doing completely (i.e., annoying habits and mannerisms)? • What should I start doing? Get feedback. Before you ask for feedback, make sure you’re not looking for validation. “You were wonderful” will make you feel good, but it won’t make you better on stage. The best way to get feedback is to assure the respondents of your true desire, and to accept what they say without excuse or explanation.

December 2010 | SPEAKER | 19

it’s just my

Heal h By Ted Rogers

Working harder and longer needn’t compromise your well-being.


e’ve all been there: Hit the gym, or make cold calls? Go for a run, or push to hit a looming deadline? Sit down for a healthy breakfast, or scurry out the door and grab a bite en route to a meeting? It’s not that we don’t care about our health and wellbeing; it’s just that our lives often get in the way. Nearly 35 years in the health and wellness arena has taught me that “being healthy is not hard.” It’s not necessary to spend all day in the gym, or chase after the silly diets we see on TV at 3 a.m. What it does require is applying a bit of “Q-E-S”: quick, easy and simple choices that are healthier for you. Q-E-S is about making day-in and day-out decisions that take very little contemplation. They quickly become habits that produce amazing benefits in your health, energy, sense of well-being—even your clarity of thought. (OK, we can still blame our kids for some of our foggy thinking!)

Here are some Q-E-S ways that can result in a healthier you:

Water, Water, Everywhere W

ater is so important, but for many of us it continues to take a back seat in the drive to a healthy lifestyle. Science tells us that when you increase your water consumption, you will feel better. Bodies function better. Energy levels go up. And it can even help you lose weight. Ah, but I hear you. “I don’t like water!” In that case, try mixing fresh cranberry or pineapple juice 50-50 with your water, or adding some citrus zest. Throw in some ice cubes, and then experiment with drinking through a straw. Do whatever it takes to increase your consumption—but limit the number of Scotch and waters!

Q-E-S Actions • • • •

Carry water with you wherever you go. Keep water at your desk and sip often. Have water in your car for any and all trips. When traveling by air, always ask for a glass of water.


veryone experiences positive and negative stressors. But have you ever clearly identified the negative stressors so you can do something about them? Have you developed strategies to manage, control or even eliminate them—or do you simply let them run wild? By identifying negative stressors, you can implement better solutions, scenarios and tactics to diminish or eliminate them.

Q-E-S Actions • Know your personal negative stressors. • Identify the conditions when they appear most frequently. • List options, strategies or alternatives to address and deal directly with them.

December 2010 | SPEAKER | 21

Breathe More Deeply,

More Often Y

our body craves oxygen, so it’s not surprising that amazing things happen when we breathe more deeply, more often. Energy levels jump. We feel better. Clarity of thought soars. What could be little reminders for you? When you start your computer or change applications, take a deep breath. When the phone rings, take a deep breath. A stop sign or red light can be another signal to take a deep breath.

Q-E-S Actions • Breathe deeply when you first wake up. • Take a moment to move into silence, and then breathe deeply and focus on the rhythm of your breath. As in yoga, make deep breaths key to your routine.

Don’t Supersize–Colorize W

Holiday Hot Tips Here are some tips for staying healthier during the holiday season: • Attend only the holiday parties that really matter to you. • Never show up hungry. Eat a light snack to ward off an urge to splurge. • Drink a glass of water and enjoy a handful of veggies or fresh fruit before you reach for higher calorie choices. • Don’t just stand there—grab a plate at the buffet table to avoid mindless munching. • Limit your alcohol consumption. Alcoholic beverages contain at least 200 to 300 calories. • Stay active and go to the gym regularly. • Wash your hands frequently.

22 | SPEAKER | December 2010

hat’s the color of your diet? For many of us, it’s a steady routine of beige, tan, off-white and, once in a while, a colorful veggie will sneak into the mix. Add colorful fruits and vegetables that scream tasty, healthy and over-the-top culinary enjoyment. It’s not a matter of converting to vegetarianism or veganism, but simply adding one or two vibrant colors to each of your meals. Add extra tomatoes and sliced celery to your garden salad at a business lunch. Sauté grated carrots or diced apples with garlic and onions to make a delicious marinara sauce. Keep a bowl of sugar snap peas on your desk and snack to your stomach’s content.

Q-E-S Actions • Learn to decipher the words and phrases used in restaurant menus and make simple, healthier requests that chef’s can create for your pleasure. • Be bold in taking control of your food, no matter where you’re dining. • Experiment with vibrant colors for the visual and textural excitement. • Substitute a bland, highly processed ingredient for something fresh with deep, vibrant colors. • Every Sunday, pick a new “color of the week.”

Activate the Life

Got Humor? H

You’re Living


aily routines provide countless opportunities to activate our lives. When we pay attention, it’s amazing how many chances we have to activate our lives. When the phone rings, don’t just take a deep breath — stand up, too. In doing so, you engage several of your largest muscles, and that means burning calories, baby. Take the stairs whenever possible. Schedule your next meeting in a room without chairs, or go outside for a “walking meeting.” You’ll accomplish everything needed and do it in less time. Park further away and enjoy a brisk walk. Every day, find opportunities to get active.

ow often and how deeply do you laugh? Are you enjoying the moments in your daily routine? Do you recognize the funny around you? Starting a humor journal can help. When we write funny stuff down on paper, we’re really etching it deeply onto our souls and memories. Having your own humor journal is ultimately more satisfying than watching endless reruns of “Seinfeld” or “The Office.”

Q-E-S Actions • • • • •

Don’t lie down when you can sit. Don’t sit when you can stand. Don’t stand if you can move. Don’t simply move if you can move vigorously! Return phone calls while walking around.

Prioritize Relationships


Q-E-S Actions

aying s t Jus

o the people who are most important to you really know how much they mean? It’s easy for us to get lost in our hectic 24-7 lives. Reach out to a friend with a simple note to tell them they are important. Let your kids know they are special and loved with a note in their backpack or lunch box. If your children are grown and out of the house, send a daily note to tell them they are loved, too. This simple act will cost barely a $100 a year, but will have enormous impact on your relationships.

Q-E-S Actions • Every day, nourish yourself by writing someone important. • Be quick to return a friend’s call. • Don’t wait for special occasions to connect with those who mean the most to you. • Make a difference in someone’s life today with no expectation of acknowledgment in return.


• Never leave home without your humor journal. • Develop a passion to “collect your funny.” • Build humor in your program.

Speakers are always on the go. For daily challenges that can derail good intentions in improving health and wellness, administering regular Q-E-S will likely work better than a doctor’s prescription. Ted Rogers has “walked” in the wellness and fitness worlds for more than 35 years as a professional athlete, collegiate coach, European-trained culinary professional and a fan of life and fitness. He challenges and coaches companies and individuals to strive higher and achieve more in life and business by helping them grow into top performers. For your “101 Lifestyle Tips,” visit or December October 2010 | SPEAKER | 23

Dig Deep By Michel Neray


S tand Ou t

The deeper you dig, the better (and more authentically) you differentiate your speaking business.

24 | SPEAKER | December 2010


magine you are the first archeologist to perform a dig at a small, remote site. You’ve got the place to yourself, looking for clues to a forgotten civilization. Now, imagine that you discover evidence of a dozen unknown

dinosaur fossils buried in the rock—more than you could possibly unearth in a lifetime. With the promise of new discoveries, more archeologists move into the area. Suddenly, you have competition and need to differentiate yourself from all of the other archeologists.


s each find begins to be unearthed, the process requires finer sub-specialties. Perhaps some are experts in civilizations from this particular geographic region, while others are focused on specific carnivorous or herbivorous dinosaurs. Some work in small teams, others as part of university-funded programs, and still others as individual freelancers. Replace “archeologist” with “speaker” above, and you’ll see this is also an excellent metaphor for the evolution of your market. That’s why, if you are a speaker who specializes in diversity, you’re now faced with the challenge of differentiating yourself against all of the other speakers who specialize in diversity. If you are a motivational speaker, you’re faced with the challenge of differentiating yourself against all other motivational speakers. If you’re a business speaker, you are faced with the challenge of differentiating yourself from all other business speakers.

Five Layers of Differentiation Now, extend the archeology metaphor a bit deeper. Archeologists define the different layers they uncover during an

archeological dig. Each layer holds features that help them learn about the history contained within. As a speaker participating in the following dig, you’ll discover five different layers of differentiation. The deepest levels link directly to the core of who you are as a person, and they provide you with the greatest leverage as you build a differentiated business.




“What” Differentiation “What” differentiation can be best described by a straightforward question: Do you get better results than everyone else in your market? Look for the quantitative return-oninvestment results that everyone in your field would love to promise. It’s what

your clients and customers want when all is said and done. Already, you can see how problematic this might be. Most of the work you do cannot be quantified, and even if it were quantifiable, you couldn’t necessarily compare your performance with everyone else’s. Even feedback forms have limited credibility. Can you imagine making a claim like, “I raise my audiences from 2.4 on the motivation scale to 9.8—more than any other speaker in the world”? Before you abandon this approach entirely, however, understand that it’s helpful to identify the specific variables you would use for the “What” differentiation if you could. Almost any verbal or written communication with potential clients should relate to the end results for which your clients are paying hardearned money. Compelling testimonials have to be selected or coaxed out of clients with a clear idea of the end results you promise. Specifically, what are your clients left with after you’ve left the platform? Are you scattered all over the place, or can you narrow down the end results to a few in which you can claim expertise and success? Once you can jot down three “What” variables that are directly related to the work you do, it’s time to grab your shovel. December 2010 | SPEAKER | 25



the end results you pinpointed in “What” differentiation. Can you narrow the definition of what you do, where you do it, when you do it, or who you do it for that would enable you to claim a differentiating advantage?


“Who, Where and When” Differentiation The thinking behind “Who, Where and “When” differentiation goes something like this: If you can’t legitimately and credibly claim that you are the best in your field, how can you narrow the definition of your field or highlight an aspect of your business so that you can be the best or unique in something? The most common ways you can do this are by digging up your “Who, Where and When” variables; for example: • Geography/location (the only business speaker in Pittsville) • Type of customer (the only speaker for lawyers) • Stage of life or business (the only speaker for women’s groups with participants who are experiencing empty-nest syndrome). Finding compelling points of difference depends on how relevant the narrower definition of your field is to your clients and customers, and on how obvious the connection is between your claim and

26 | SPEAKER | December 2010



“How” Differentiation




“Upper Why” Differentiation “Upper Why” differentiation answers a key question that is always at the back of a potential client’s mind: “Why should I believe you have the capability to do what you say you can do?” Investment advisers, real estate agents, consultants, coaches and the full range of other independent professionals—including speakers—often use years of experience, client list, or credentials: “Fred Smith, CPP, MBA, IRC, MS, Gold Partner, Master Certified, and his senior partners have over a hundred years of combined experience.” What do you tell your clients to give them more confidence that you can actually deliver the goods?

Do you have a unique approach in the work you do? You might have a comprehensive system or discovery process, or a single step of an established process that you do especially well. Or perhaps there’s a secret ingredient you add to a popular recipe that makes it even better. If you’re like most speakers (and, indeed, like most people), the answer is a resounding, “I don’t know.” In fact, most people are intuitive about the job— they just do it naturally. As a result, they never look into their own methodology with any depth. The “How” of what you do is as unique to you as who you are. No one is wired quite the same way you are, and no one has the same set of formative experiences or perspectives. For better or worse, you have a unique way of viewing the world around you. Things that may seem obvious to you are totally ignored by others faced with the same challenge. You may pick up certain pieces of the puzzle that other people leave on the floor.

Even if you are applying a rigid methodology, the way you implement or apply it is influenced by who you are as an individual. Your “How” must be different from everyone else’s in at least one significant way. Exploring your unique approach also helps you discover which specific aspect of the general service you excel. You may find that you are so good in one particular area that you can create an entirely new niche within your general category. Can you define your uniqueness to the point where you can turn your “How” into your “What”?




“Deeper Why” Differentiation Why do you do what you do? Now, before you spout off a platitude about wanting to help people, think carefully about the question. I am not asking why you decided to become a speaker; I am asking why you are so drawn to the specific challenge you unearthed in the “How” differentiation layer. If you’re like many speakers, consultants, coaches and other independent

What makes you truly different is the basis of your selfconfidence, your competitive advantage in your market and, ultimately, your success in life and business. professionals, your “Deeper Why” can be traced back to a deep pain, challenge or shame you experienced in your personal life history. It’s where you are most vulnerable. Perhaps the challenge you are driven to solve today is a challenge you faced or a lesson you learned the hard way. It could be that the lesson you teach is the same lesson you continue to learn over and over again. Maybe you are driven by the shame and hurt that was passed down to you by your parents. The “Deeper Why” layer of differentiation exposes the most vulnerable part of you. That’s what makes it authentic. It’s in this layer where you’ll find your most powerful signature stories. Keep in mind, you cannot arrive at that discovery without digging through the higher levels first and sifting through the dirt and debris. Again, what is the “Deeper Why” of what you do?

Look Up…Way Up! Now that you’ve dug your way to the bottom layer, look up through the layers above you. Can you redefine all of the elements that sit directly above your “How” and “Deeper Why”? Throw away anything that doesn’t link directly to your core. You no longer need to do it all. You can focus on the piece that you do better than anyone else in the world, and you will have the archeological site all to yourself. What makes you truly different is the basis of your self-confidence, your competitive advantage in your market and, ultimately, your success in life and business. You are now standing on the foundation of your authentic differentiation. You are standing in the place where you have the most passion, the most power and the greatest opportunity to make the change you are driven to make. Isn’t this what you want to be known for?

In the past 25 years, Michel Neray has been an awardwinning copywriter, an Internet pioneer, a tradeshow pitchman and a senior sales and marketing executive. Neray created The Essential Message to help companies and individuals discover their true differentiation and communicate it in the most compelling way. For more information, visit

December 2010 | SPEAKER | 27

Meet the


NSA Foundation By Lauren Aiken


very year the NSA Foundation awards four $5,000 scholarships to outstanding students who are enrolled in four-year accredited colleges or universities, and are majoring in speech or a directly related field. This year’s scholarship committee, chaired by Jane Jenkins Herlong, CSP, and composed of Linda Swindling, CSP, JD, Patrick Henry and Anne Walker, CCE, MED, proudly presents the 2010 recipients. 28 | SPEAKER | December 2010

The following individuals were selected from 65 applicants based on a variety of criteria, including their academic excellence, financial need and burning desire to make professional speaking part of their careers. Their stories are unique, but they share the common ambition to serve their communities and devote their lives to the betterment of others.

Shanna Decker

Cavett Robert Scholarship School: Winona State University, Minnesota. Double Major: Business Administration & Management of Information Systems

What inspired you to start Hearts of Hope? I founded Hearts of Hope, a project where I visit patients and deliver care packages, when I was in high school. It’s more than just giving a child a gift —it’s about letting them know that I’m real and I understand what they are going through.

What surprises people most about your story? When I was seven years old, I was diagnosed with Osteogenic Sarcoma, a type of bone cancer. People are shocked when I take off my prosthetic and explain my Rotationplasty, a unique procedure where part of the leg, usually including the knee, is amputated and the healthy part is rotated so that the foot is facing backwards but all nerves and arteries remain intact. Basically, my ankle now acts as my knee.

What thoughts were going through your head before the surgery? I wasn’t thrilled, of course, but at the same time I knew the surgery had to be done and I accepted it. I wondered how I would be able to do everything and felt alone at times, which is part of the reason I was inspired to provide support to other cancer patients.

How do you prepare for speaking engagements? I speak to such a wide array of audiences, so sometimes I will sit on the plane, gather my thoughts and determine how to best present my story to that genre. Most of my material comes from living my life day to day and speaking genuinely, so I usually don’t need much preparation.

What is your most memorable experience working with the Mayo Clinic? The Mayo Clinic has been my family for the past 13 years. I have such a plethora of memories, but my most memorable would have to be the keynote speech I presented at their largest fundraiser campaign this past May. I was selected to share my story and express thanks for their service and care. They give life to people like me who return to support other patients.

time again throughout my life and I honestly believe that if you have love in your life, nothing else matters.

What are your plans after college? I have big dreams to run my own foundation and create a center where families touched by children with cancer can go to be together and know that they are not alone. Decker stands beside her prosthetic leg.

If you could only give one piece of advice to cancer patients, what would it be?

Live one day at a time and remember that love is greater than anything we will ever endure. How did you choose the name for your website, In 1 Corinthians 13 it says, “Love is patient, love is kind…” and “love never fails.” I’ve seen this message time and December 2010 | SPEAKER | 29

Saint Ranson

Nido Qubein Scholarship School: Jackson State University, Mississippi Major: Speech Communications Minor: Political Science

Ranson, 22, has been playing the keyboard since age 13.

Who is your mentor? Mark G. Henderson, PhD, chair of the Speech Communication and Theatre Department and artistic director of MADDRAMA performance troupe. He constantly reminds me that my life is God’s gift to me, but what I do with it is my gift to him.


How did your desire to become a motivational speaker develop? I grew up in the rural area of the Mississippi Delta in unimaginable conditions. I never had the typical “American” home, the American parents and the family support most kids have. I often went weeks without food and electricity, and lived in fear of drive-by shootings. My only safe havens were school and church, where I started speaking and playing the keyboard. When I came to Jackson State, I prayed for direction and changed my major to Speech Communications and Theatre after discovering my true calling.

What do you find challenging about speaking to youth? It’s hard to accept that I can’t be with them to face every situation. As a member of Project LYTE (Leading Youth Toward Empowerment), I interacted with young 30 | SPEAKER | December 2010

African-American males who struggle to overcome stereotypes and peer pressure. I offered them my story, my advice and my

What are your goals? I want to become a professional motivational speaker, actor, and a TV and radio broadcaster. email and phone number. Still, I felt that wasn’t enough.

What kind of questions do you get asked? Sometimes I get questions like, “What do I do when I’m pressured by a gang?” and “How do I tell my friends that I want out?” These individuals need to realize that their friends don’t make the decisions. At the end of the day, you have to face yourself and you can only worry about you.

MADDRAMA (Making a Difference Doing Respectable and Meaningful Art) is a performance troupe that I belong to that is full of talented, diverse individuals who give back to the community by speaking to children and performing across the nation. This organization has changed my life and given me drive to talk about the importance of education and motivation.

Tell me something most people don’t know about you. People think that I am arrogant because of the way I carry myself—no baggy pants, quiet, conservative. Once they get to know me they realize that I’m a pretty cool guy.

Any advice for emerging speakers? Start with your heart and grow your desire to speak by collecting experiences. You have to experience life and figure out what different situations mean before you can talk to other people, especially younger generations, about them.

Nicole Marie Sanseverino Earl Nightingale Scholarship School: University of Texas at Austin Major: Broadcast Journalism Minor: Business Foundations

Nicole and mom at 2009 NSA Convention. I would also love to go to the park and hang out in my new hammock.

How will this scholarship help support you and your goals? I am extremely thankful to have been selected to receive the scholarship. It will allow me to take on unpaid internships and develop my skills.

What was your impression of the 2009 NSA Convention? Attending Convention was an amazing experience and everyone was so welcoming. My mother, Michele Lucia, and I had lunch with Vernice Armour, the first African-American female combat pilot, and I shook the hand of Andes plane crash survivor Nando Parrado.

Who inspires you? Simon T. Bailey, CSP, is an exciting person and I admire the way he connects with his followers.

What do you enjoy about working with speakers?

Speakers are very personable and fun. It’s a different atmosphere than in the news room. What’s it like having Al Lucia, CSP, as your step dad? It’s a lot of fun. He lives on stage and is always looking for a new audience— sometimes my family is it. He can be cheesy and break out personality tests at the dinner table, but I love that I can always go to him for advice.

What have you learned from Al? He speaks about treating people with respect and being a team player, and he is a great example of those things. For example, when people come over to fix the air conditioner, he makes them a sandwich. He also made me realize that becoming a speaker isn’t about who you know or where you go, but about sharing what you know, wherever you go.

Do you have a favorite internship experience? My internship at ADL Associates has been one of the best so far. There I had the opportunity to write lead-ins, edit articles, conduct research for prospective clients and design promotional materials for speakers. I also assisted speakers with social media.

Is there something you wish you had more time for? There are so many things—travel, painting, getting coffee with people and working on my new blog,

About the Foundation The NSA Foundation, established in 1989, serves NSA members and the public by providing financial assistance in the form of grants, scholarships and help during health or natural disaster emergencies. The Foundation also provides oversight and funding for speakingrelated research. For more information, visit About the Scholarship Fund 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 and to apply, visit www. Donate To make a tax-deductible donation: ONLINE: Visit PHONE: Contact the NSA staff at (480) 968-2552 MAIL: Send your donation to: 1500 S. Priest Drive, Tempe, AZ 85281

December 2010 | SPEAKER | 31

Christine Kitchenmaster Bill Gove Scholarship School: California State University at Northridge Major: Recreation & Tourism Management (Communication Emphasis)

job that you don’t enjoy. I truly believe that everyone has something that they were meant to do. You may not know it until it hits a quieter place inside of you. Most of us just aren’t quiet enough to hear it.

How did you get involved with NSA?

What’s it like competing at Toastmasters? Competing is always fun. The last few years have become more challenging because I joined an advanced group. Also, with the international competitions, there is usually more stress involved because a lot of people are vying for those titles and they take it very seriously.

How did you get the opportunity to keynote on behalf of Jim Droz? Jim got double booked and asked me to present his Real Estate Success program for him, which was a oncein-a-lifetime opportunity—he’s a top producing salesperson for Century 21. I opened with “Number 1 is so overrated” instead of something boring like, “I’m sorry the real guy couldn’t be here.” I was nervous and wondered how people would receive the presentation. Although I did well, it made me realize that real estate isn’t my ideal topic.

What topics do you want to speak about? I love the idea of “do what you love” because life is too short to clock in to a 32 | SPEAKER | December 2010

Dottie Walters, CSP, suggested that I get involved, so I started attending Greater Los Angeles chapter meetings. I first attended Convention in 1997 and was overwhelmed. When I attended again in 2005, I met Gemenie Babb and Sue Leonard and became the “NSA daughter” of Rick Jakle, CSP, and his wife, Sharon.

What is A TOP Banana? A TOP Banana is an entertainment and seminar company I started. It began in 1989 with presentations for community and non-profit organizations, and developed into a motivational speaking company that specializes in encouraging people to live fuller lives of meaning, integrity and hope. Visit www. for more information.

What is your motto? Work, play, pray. I love work and I don’t believe in retirement. I think that we were meant to provide service to others in one way or another.

Do you have any suggestions for the NSA Student Membership program? I feel like the speaking business lacks a clearly defined on-ramp for getting started. I would like to learn more about topic selection, credibility and authenticity. Who do you look up to in the speaking industry? I have been most profoundly moved by Zig Ziglar. I also look up to Rick and Sharon Jakle, Al and Maureen Walker, Glenna Salsbury, Jeanne Robertson, Tim Gard, Mark Sanborn, Joe Calloway (all CSP/CPAEs), Hank and Lola Gillebaard, NSA staff and countless others who repeatedly made me feel welcome, encouraged and part of an incredible organization.

Kitchenmaster’s sister, Tayler, inspired her 2008 Toastmasters International speech.

Freelance writer Lauren Aiken has been published in 944, Arizona Foothills, bizSanDiego and Desert Living. For more information, visit

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Program Schedule for December: DEC. 6, 1 P.M. to 2 P.M. EST What it Really Takes to Make it as a Professional Speaker —Revisited Bill Bachrach, CSP, CPAE

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Ed Gerety, CSP Dean, NSA University

Laura Stack, MBA, CSP Webinar Director, NSA University

National Speakers Association

relevant resources Time-saving tools and technologies

Give Thanks Thank you: two little words that can make a big impact and difference to your clients, family and friends. Convey your appreciation with customized messages that will be cherished. Here are some crafty ideas to get you started.

1 The Gift that Keeps on Giving Purchase a card from an organization that means something to the recipient. directs you to more than 100 charities, including LiveStrong™ and the Alzheimer’s Association®. Speaking in Green Bay? Support the Make-AWish® Foundation of Wisconsin. Sending seasons greetings? Choose from a variety of holiday cards, including Holly Bird (shown) designed by Naylea Jacobo, age 9, for Duke’s Children’s Hospital & Health Center. Prices vary.

2 Voice Your Appreciation Record your personal thank-you message onto a CD. Or, if you’re feeling brave, sing it! Then, use an online resource like to create and print your own custom CD art. If the message is for a client, consider imprinting the CD with the client’s company logo, and package it in a clear-cover jewel case so the artwork is visible when the package is opened.

A World of Thanks

3 Message in a Bottle

French............................... merci

Japanese........................ arigatô

German............................. danke

Korean........kamsah hamnida

Hawaiian....................... mahalo

Mandarin........................xie xiè

Italian.............................. grazie

Spanish........................... gracias

34 | SPEAKER | December 2010

Make your message unforgettable by sending it in a bottle. Founded in June 1998, The Original Message in a Bottle Shop™ offers customizable bottles for any occasion, or you can create your own by choosing from a variety of styles and contents including sand, seashells and confetti. Prefer to DIY? Wash out an empty bottle of wine and get creative. From $19.99.

4 Best Thanks Come in Small Packages Thank-you window cards from Compendium Inc. are ideal for showing gratitude without breaking the bank. Each fold-open pillow box contains 30 cards that pop open to reveal a different quotation. Hand them out to customers, colleagues, family and friends. Cards measure 2 ¼” wide x 1 7/8” high. $4.95.

5 Something Old, Something New

Look no further than your family photo album for this fun idea, courtesy of Speakers on Healthcare member Jo Cavendar. Scan an old black-and-white photo of your family and add a heartfelt thank-you note or a witty comment that ties into the theme of the photo; for example, Jo’s mother circa 1918 (shown).

Customize Your Thanks Baseball Fan? Write your thank-you message on a bat or glove using a Sharpie pen.

6 Proof Positive

Chef or Foodie? Share your favorite recipe and include a thank-you note on the other side.

Show your appreciation by creating a card with a photo that shows you wearing a gift that someone gave you; for example, reading a book from a client, or wearing the sweater that your grandma knitted. Upload the photo and design your own greeting card in minutes at $3.99 for one- day access; $19.99 for one year; $29.99 for two years.

Gardener? Send a bottle of Miracle Grow and include a message on the container. Movie buff? Express gratitude and recommend a film on a bag of microwavable popcorn.

Mary LoVerde, CPAE, is the president of Life Balance, Inc., and the author of three best-selling books. She specializes in helping her audiences find creative ways to blend work and family life. LoVerde has appeared on ABC World News Tonight, 20/20 and the Oprah Winfrey Show. Visit

December 2010 | SPEAKER | 35

Beyond Borders Exploring cultures, countries and comfort zones

Go Global with Birthright Citizenship


SA members are taking advantage of profitable opportunities to speak internationally. But booking an event or establishing a speaking business abroad can be challenging. The first obstacle—aside from booking gigs and learning the nuances of culture and language—is entering destination countries legally. Foreign immigration laws must be obeyed. Some speakers perform their due diligence to obtain a proper work visa. This process involves red tape, cost and potential delay, even if the destination country’s immigration laws provide a work visa category for professional speaking. Other speakers enter foreign countries as “stealth visitors.” At the airport, they claim to be tourists, but their suitcases contain brochures or products for distribution or sale at their speaking events—and they may even be paid after their presentations. These practices are illegal in many foreign countries.

Are You Eligible? • Learn if the immigration law of your ancestor’s country allows for BC. Contact the country’s consulate in the United States, check its website or hire an immigration lawyer licensed in that country. • Determine if BC has any drawbacks; for example, you wouldn’t want to subject your children to a foreign military draft. Consult with an American immigration lawyer if you’re concerned about losing U.S. citizenship.

36 | SPEAKER | December 2010

Birthright Citizenship Speakers can legally simplify foreign travel with “birthright citizenship,” or BC. This largely unknown concept—citizenship by acquisition—has gained some recent exposure. (Currently, there is a proposal to amend the 14th Amendment to prevent the offspring of illegal immigrants in the United States from becoming American citizens.) Many U.S. citizens, whose ancestors originated in other countries, may qualify for BC. While each country’s laws differ, many nations, especially in Europe, recognize BC in certain situations. Italy is one example.

How did we qualify for BC? My paternal grandfather (my Nonno) emigrated to the United States in the early 1900s, and my father was born before Nonno became a naturalized U.S. citizen. If my father had been born after Nonno obtained American citizenship, my children and I could not qualify for BC under Italian law.

Case in Point

Angelo A. Paparelli is a partner in

My children and I obtained European Union (EU) passports, issued by the Italian government, while retaining our American citizenship. BC allows me to speak, live and retire in any one of the 27 EU countries without a visa or residence permit, and my children are eligible for a free or low-cost university education in Europe.

the immigration practice at

Usually, obtaining foreign BC by itself will not cause loss of American nationality without formal steps taken in front of an American consular officer to expatiate. • Determine your relatives’ “biodata” (dates of birth and arrival, birth of children, marriage, divorce, and death for each of them and their descendants in your line of kinship). • Gather the required documents to establish BC eligibility from the city, county, state or federal government

Seyfarth Shaw LLP in Southern California and New York. A Certified Immigration Law Specialist, Paparelli provides creative solutions to complex immigration law problems. Visit, or read his blog at www.

offices in the United States, and the foreign country that maintains the biodata records. • Obtain an apostille, or “notation,” for each required document to confirm its authenticity.. • Fill out a passport application and make an appointment at the foreign consulate. The consul will review your documents, interview you to confirm your eligibility, and then issue the foreign passport or advise you what else is required.

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

Starting Over First, meet the neighbors. Ask them for ideas and advice. Second, check the paper and the web for events where people meet: bookstores, pick-up basketball, quilting groups, garden clubs, hikes, volunteering to feed the needy, etc. Third, RSVP and show up! Tour the neighborhood and your new city. Where’s the best hardware store? Coffee shop? Mechanic? Museum? Talk to people as you explore, and smile to appear more approachable. —Susan RoAne Greenbrae, Calif.

“Besides church and synagogue, I recommend researching charity and civic groups that fit your passion and purpose. Rotary Clubs and similar groups meet weekly, so it is easier to get to know people. If you volunteer for a charity, make sure the volunteer opportunities are frequent and consistent. Another option is participating in group fitness classes or sports, where you will see the same group of people on a weekly basis.”

You’ve just moved to a new city where you don’t have any connections. How do you make friends and business contacts quickly?

“Form a “Meet Up” for speakers or meeting planners—or attend other meet ups with people you want to know. Volunteer for committees, particularly the “sign in” committee. Also, seek mentors and ask for help. Introduce yourself as a newcomer to people you encounter and tell them you would like to meet people.” —Robin Jay Henderson, Nev. 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 ethics@ 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.

38 | SPEAKER | December 2010

Do a search on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn before you move to see who lives in the area and reach out to them. If there’s a local Welcome Wagon, contact the person in charge. If you purchased a house through a real estate broker, ask that person to help you make new acquaintances. If you have a medical challenge, join local support groups. If you have children, go to school functions. —Heshie Segal Yardley, Pa

—Debra Fine Denver, Colo. When I moved from Australia to the United States., I gave toy koalas with handwritten notes to my neighbors to let them know an Aussie had moved in. I Googled women’s networks and attended, searched the NSA website for local speakers and had coffee with them, attended local NSA meetings, joined the Chamber of Commerce, and researched every local event I could find. I made friends quickly, built strategic relationships and gained new clients! —Neen James, CSP Doylestown, Pa.

Attend meetings of business or professional organizations you belonged to in your former city. If your college has an alumni club in the area, go to its events. After you’ve made some friends, invite them to a dinner party at your home. If you don’t cook, learn! Or cater the dinner. It’s not about the food, it’s about the conversations. —Thom Singer Austin, Texas

“1. Find the local NSA Chapter. 2. Get your butt on 3. Hang out at a local coffee shop with high business traffic. 4. Use Facebook.” —Scott Ginsberg St. Louis, Mo.

Turning Point A career-changing moment or experience

The Fine Art of Selling Your Book


hen I had been an NSA member for six years, I was presenting “The Fine Art of Small Talk” to audiences about 70 times a year. I was thrilled that my speaking income enabled me to support my two children. Yet, financial pressure and the volatility of a professional speaking career always loomed. Audience members asked me repeatedly, “How can I buy your book?” My pat answer was, “I don’t have one.” Finally, I realized that a book was critical to future earnings. I already had a built-in marketplace, so I embarked on my book publishing journey. After at least 10 rejections from literary agents, I was frustrated with the time-consuming process and no reward. Instead, I jumped with both feet into self-publishing and learned all of the mechanics from ISBN, to text and cover design, distribution and PR. By the time I was done, a book was born! I sold in the “back of the room” and managed to secure shelf space for The Fine Art of Small Talk: How to Start a Conversation, Keep it Going, Build Rapport and Leave a Positive Impression at Barnes and Noble, Borders and Books-A-Million across the country, along with lots of hits in local and national media. In the first year, I earned enough to recover costs and turn a profit— enough profit that when St. Martin’s Press phoned to ask if I would consider “traditional publishing” and offered

$25,000, I declined the offer. If I had received the offer two years earlier, I would have danced a jig and thrown a party. Later that week, St. Martin’s Press called and doubled the offer. Again, I declined. Then, St. Martin’s press asked the magical question: “What would it take for you to come on board with The Fine Art of Small Talk?” With this last offer in hand, I decided to find out just what it would take for me to take my book the traditional route. I learned that literary agents are easy to land with an offer in hand, and a new book journey began. My self-published title was pitched to all the big publishing houses and a bidding war ensued. The result? A twobook deal with Hyperion Books in the mid-six figures! My self-published book became The Fine Art of Small Talk in

2005, and The Fine Art of the Big Talk: How to Win Clients, Deliver Great Presentations and Solve Conflicts at Work was released in 2008. The lesson learned was an old one: Do not take “no” for an answer. Forge ahead, especially when you know you have an audience that believes in your work. A book project can seem overwhelming, but if a mother balancing a business and family can do it, anyone can. Debra Fine, a former engineer, is an internationally recognized speaker, conversation guru and best-selling author. Fine’s books have received excellent reviews in USA Today, The Library Journal and Entrepreneur Magazine. Her recent media appearances include The Today Show, CNN, The Early Show and NPR Morning Edition. December 2010 | SPEAKER | 39

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Humor Me Quips, tips and parting shots

Go for a Ride “All ya gotta do is …” How many times have you heard this phrase and found yourself up to your eyeballs in “uh-oh”? I felt like an oversized, high-heeled Paris Hilton without her paparazzi as I left a plush limo to lug my oversized suitcase to the bus stop. I took fellow NSA member Judy Carter’s advice to save myself a $65 limo ride from downtown L.A. to Venice Beach to meet her for lunch. According to Judy, “All ya gotta do is take the city bus for a buck-fifty! Just take a limo from your hotel to the bus stop.” That should have been my first clue. “Call me when you’re on the bus.” The zoo of humanity in line gawked as I sauntered (OK, stumbled) to the corner dragging my bright blue polkadot and bow-adorned luggage. In vain, the limo driver pleaded, “Lady, let me take you to Venice Beach.” (My second clue.) “Fifty-five dollars, lady,” he shouted. “A buckfifty,” I yelled back. “Besides, it’s an adventure!”

The zoo of humanity in line gawked as I sauntered (OK, stumbled) to the corner dragging my bright blue polka-dot and bow-adorned luggage. 42 | SPEAKER | December 2010

I alligator-wrestled my 50-lb. bag through the back doors of the bus, but could not locate the luggage bin. Clearly, I had confused public transportation with an airport shuttle. The bus shot off like a bullet—as did my luggage headed straight for the driver. Luckily, I caught it in a swan dive that I would rate a 10. Then, I leaned my runaway bag by the back door, which convulsed violently as it tried to open. A South African man sitting behind me with a heavy accent leaped to my aid. “Lay-dee, you sit here. I put dis’ bag there.” He hoisted my carry-on polkadot bag on the seat beside me and instructed, “You hold dis’ one here.” His kindness was just in time. The doors flung open to a pack of frenzied folks competing for the last seat on the bus, which was occupied by my polka-dot bag. It turns out that cussin’ and looks that could kill translate in any language! While one of the new arrivals admired my luggage, my eyes were glued to her matching earrings, necklace and belt buckle in a pistol motif.

Our eyes locked and I thought, “She is soooo going to enjoy my luggage.” Nervously, I called Judy and whispered, “I see dead people.” She replied, “Oh, you must on the city bus. Get off at Walnut Street.” “How do I do that,” I asked. “All ya gotta do is pull the cord,” she responded. Apparently, she didn’t mean right then. The next time I hear, “All ya gotta do is…” I am taking a limo! But, oh, what an adventure and material I would have missed! So, the next time you hear, “All ya gotta do is,” Take the Limo!  But, oh, what an adventure and material you may miss! June Cline, CSP, is a communications skills expert with a humorous twist. A certified coach by The Og Group, and author of Is It God or Is It Gas, Intuition vs. Indigestion, Cline helps people, teams and companies increase productive and manage workplace environments by connecting with each other through the power of laughter. Visit

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Speaker- Dec 2010  

Speaker magazine, NSA's official award-winning publication, is published 10 times annually in print and digital formats. Speaker provides me...

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